A Guide to Pricing Screen Printed Garments and Turning a Profit (2024)

Unless you’re only screen printing for fun, you need to know how much you should sell your shirts to make a profit. The best way to know for sure how much you should sell your shirts to make a profit is to use a profit calculator. Following a calculator is helpful, but how does it translate to the real world? Here’s a crash course in pricing shirts as well as some pricing advice from real-life shops.

A Guide to Pricing Screen Printed Garments and Turning a Profit (1)


Before you even think about processing the cost of a specific job, your first step should always be to find out how much money per month you spend on simply having a business. That includes rent, electricity, internet/phone bills, insurance, equipment cost, and the amount of money you want to pay yourself as a business owner.

Find out what the total monthly cost of these expenses is, divide that by the average number of items you print each month, and you have the amount you have to charge per item to cover overhead for that month. This will help you figure out what you need to remain sustainable.

Here’s a formula to help you out:

$ Rent per month
+ $ Equipment cost per month
+ $ Phone/internet per month
+ $ Insurance per month
+ $ Admin pay per month
+ $ Other overhead costs per month
= $ Total overhead cost per month

Now that you’ve calculated your overhead costs every month, it’s time to calculate your overhead cost per shirt. Here’s another formula:

$ Overhead total cost per month
÷ Average number of shirts per month
= $ Overhead cost per shirt per month

Alright, so you know what the overhead cost of your shop is per month and how that translates to each shirt printed. Now it’s time to calculate the total labor cost per shirt. This formula varies from shop to shop. Add up the number of hours it takes you to print a job. This includes pre-production, printing, cleanup, and anything else you do for a job.

A Guide to Pricing Screen Printed Garments and Turning a Profit (2)

T-shirts courtesy of SanMar.


You’ve calculated the overhead and amount of hours spent on a job. What about your time? It’s valuable, and you want to make sure you’re staying in the green, as well as paying any employees you may have. Here’s a formula to help you out:

Number of hours per item per job
x ($ Hourly cost of labor + $ Taxes)
= $ Labor cost per item

Once you know how much it will cost to print the items, you have to calculate the cost of the materials that go into the printing itself. Here’s how to find it:

(Number of screens x $ cost of screens)
+ ($ Item cost x number of items in the job)
+ ($ Total cost of ink for that job)
÷ Number of items in the job
= $ Cost of materials per item

There’s one more step: calculating the price per item in a job. To do this, add the overhead, labor cost per item, and the cost of materials per item used on that job. You’ll end up with the total cost per item for that job.

$ Overhead
+ $ Labor cost per item
+ $ Cost of materials per item
= $ Total cost per item for that job

back to top ^


Let’s put all of these formulas into perspective. Heather Mueller, owner of Loyal to the Press, a print shop in Vancouver, Washington, prices her shirts based on garment quality, color availability, print and placement, and whether or not a shirt needs an underbase or additive.

For a 50-piece, one-color order, their base cost is $6.64 per shirt plus the cost of the garment. Other variables include the garment, if the artwork needs to be re-worked in any way, and setup fees and ink charges.

Maher Hachem, or Munch, the printer behind Love Yourself Clothing, takes a few factors into consideration when pricing shirts. He starts by calculating the cost of overhead and labor and then does some comparison shopping. He checks out similar brands and messages friends to see how much they would be willing to pay for the shirt.

“Taking these surveys works great since you're getting a brand and consumer perspective!” Maher said.

To find the cost of the shirt, he combines the cost of t-shirts, his per-print charge — usually about $5 per print — and increases that number by a few dollars if he’s using a specialty ink. Other factors include burning the screens, adding a fixed percentage on the invoice that can cover any damaged pieces during production, and the cost of making samples for each piece.

For a 50-piece, one-color job, Maher charges the wholesale cost of the blanks, adding 15% on top of the wholesale to cover any damaged goods during production. He charges about $5 per print on each shirt depending on color and then charges $35 per screen being burned (this covers the screen, transparency, & labor of making the screen). Other variables that would affect this could be the turnaround time for the project and any specialty ink used.


A Guide to Pricing Screen Printed Garments and Turning a Profit (3)


The point of a business is to make a profit, right? Depending on the situation, most businesses want to aim for 20% to 45% profit. In some shops, the set-up simply won’t allow for a 45% margin due to high production time, material costs, or overly competitive local pricing.

Check with local shops in your area to see what they’re doing. If you simply can’t keep up with your competition's pricing, consider specializing in something they don’t offer. Here’s a formula to calculate the profit you’ll make:

$ Total cost per item per job
x % of desired profit as a decimal
= $ Profit made per item for that job

Next, you need to add that amount to the base cost of each item for that job and multiply it by the number of items in the job. That looks like this:

$ Profit made per item for that job
+ $ Total cost per item for the job
= $ Price to charge customer per item

Now, multiply the profit per item by the number of items in a job:

$ Price to charge per customer
x Number of items in a job
= $ Total price to charge for the job

This is the price that you need to charge the customer for that particular job and achieve the profit percent that you designated.

back to top ^


When running any small business, pricing can be a worry. What if customers don’t agree with the prices? What if the price is too low, and you don’t make any money? While staying competitive is important, it’s also important to know that you are offering a service that takes time, energy, and money to provide. You deserve to be paid fairly for it.

Loyal to the Press advises printers not to worry too much about whether their pricing has hit the sweet spot. Instead, focus on gaining quality clients who appreciate the work you do.

“We find that if a client is ready to move forward with their print then the pricing won't be an issue. With each quote, we do let our potential clients know that we are a custom hand screen printing shop, meaning each piece we print is hand created with care, which takes time,” Heather said. “They're either ready to pull the trigger or they aren't.”

A Guide to Pricing Screen Printed Garments and Turning a Profit (4)


Offering discounts can be a great way to get recurring customers or to get large accounts to pull the trigger if you do it right. Don’t go overboard with these, though. The goal is still to be in the green at the end of the job.

Use holidays to offer a discount if it makes sense for your brand and customer base. If most of your customers are based in the U.S., it makes sense to offer a Memorial Day or Independence Day discount. Heather of Loyal to the Press offers a military discount to all veterans as well as a discount to re-occurring clients.

Munch of Love Yourself Clothing offers discounts at the end of a newsletter or for prolonged jobs. He also hosts occasional giveaways.


Flash sales encourage customers to buy products they might not normally purchase. These sales usually are quick and don’t have a lot of build-up surrounding them. They’re generally geared to people who are paying attention to the shop or brand and hop on it immediately.

Think about Amazon’s Prime Day. How likely are you to at least peruse the flash deals they offer? While it isn’t guaranteed they’ll have what you want on sale, you might buy something you normally wouldn’t just because it’s on sale. Offering these sorts of quick deals to customers who are tuned in to your shop may have the reward you’re looking for.



If you run a clothing brand, pricing can look a little different. Because everything in the brand is your creation, it has intrinsic value. You created the logo, the designs, and the feel of the brand from scratch. Because of this, you can charge a little more for your work.

Here’s an example: Converse shoes. There are a ton of knockoffs on the market that mimic the real thing pretty well, but nothing is quite like the real deal. Because of this, Converse shoes are more expensive. You’re paying for the brand and everything it stands for, not just a shoe with a rubber toe.

Love Yourself Clothing is a company focused on promoting mental health awareness through apparel. Munch, the creator of the brand, breaks down pricing completely differently than with client work.

“For Love Yourself, we do everything made to order so we don't sit on any inventory. Once a week I place a wholesale order and begin production once the blank shipment arrives. For clients, we take their shirt quantity, design, and turnaround and give them an invoice based on that. Naturally, this causes a difference in payout since our model is based on drop shipping and the clients are based on having inventory.”


So you’re printing your own apparel brand. How much should you charge? Shop around to see how much other clothing brands are charging for custom-printed shirts. This can help you gauge what other brands are doing, and how to price your own shirts to be competitive.

Heather of Loyal to the Press used to print for an apparel brand. The prices of the brand shirts ranged based on the difficulty of the print, just like client work does.

“For example, a one-color shirt would be $20 plus shipping whereas a four-color shirt would be $35 plus shipping,” Heather explained.

No matter what you decide to charge, make sure it makes sense for your customer base and your shop. Make it something you’re passionate about and don’t be afraid to charge what it’s worth.

back to top ^

A Guide to Pricing Screen Printed Garments and Turning a Profit (5)

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to pricing. It’s not just about getting the best bang for your buck. Stay competitive, but stay true to the profit margins you want to receive and the value that you place on your craft.

Got pricing questions? Reach out at success@ryonet.com or call us at 1-360-576-7188


A Guide to Pricing Screen Printed Garments and Turning a Profit (2024)


A Guide to Pricing Screen Printed Garments and Turning a Profit? ›

Materials Markup

A useful screen printing industry standard is to markup items by at least 50% of your cost. If your garment costs $1.00, you would simply divide by 0.50 to calculate your margin goal of 50%. This means the component price of the shirt alone would be $2.00.

What is a good profit margin for screen printing? ›

Materials Markup

A useful screen printing industry standard is to markup items by at least 50% of your cost. If your garment costs $1.00, you would simply divide by 0.50 to calculate your margin goal of 50%. This means the component price of the shirt alone would be $2.00.

Can screen printing be profitable? ›

Screen printing shops can be profitable because they offer a service that is in high demand. They are also able to keep their costs low because the screen printing equipment needed to start a screen printing business is relatively inexpensive.

How does screen printing work? ›

Screenprinting is a process where ink is forced through a mesh screen onto a surface. Making certain areas of the screen impervious to printing ink creates a stencil, which blocks the printing ink from passing through the screen. The ink that passes through forms the printed image.

What percentage should my profit margin be? ›

Net profit margins vary by industry but according to the Corporate Finance Institute, 20% is considered good, 10% average or standard, and 5% is considered low or poor. Good profit margins allow companies to cover their costs and generate a return on their investment.

What should my profit margin be per product? ›

But in general, a healthy profit margin for a small business tends to range anywhere between 7% to 10%. Keep in mind, though, that certain businesses may see lower margins, such as retail or food-related companies.

What are disadvantages of screen printing? ›

Disadvantages of Custom Screen Printing
  • More colours equals higher costs. ...
  • Images can turn out blurred. ...
  • Costly method for small on-demand orders. ...
  • A lot of water is used to clean the screens and mix the inks, so screen-printing is not an eco-friendly method.
Mar 11, 2020

Is there a demand for screen printing? ›

What was the growth rate of the Custom Screen Printing industry in the US in 2022? The market size of the Custom Screen Printing industry increased 2.8% in 2022.

What has made screen printing so successful? ›

Why is screen printing used? One of the reasons that the screen printing technique is so widely used is because it produces vivid colours, even on darker fabrics. The ink or paint also lies in layers on the surface of the fabric or paper, which gives the print a pleasingly tactile quality.

What is the first step for successful screen printing? ›

The first step in the process of screen printing is to create the design. Once a design has been decided upon, it is printed onto a transparent acetate film, which will then be used to create the screen or stencil.

Which method is best for screen printing? ›

Spot Color Screen Printing is the most common t-shirt printing method. It uses the stock color of the ink by printing it through the stencil of the screen. It produces a vibrant solid spot of color and creates a thicker layer of ink depending on the ink and mesh count used.

How long does screen printing last? ›

How Long Does Screen Printing Last? Screen printing T-shirts create a durable, long-lasting design that can endure between 40 and 50 washes in the machine. The ink used for screen printing is extremely thick and penetrates the fabric deeply.

Who is the most famous screen printer? ›

Arguably the most famous proponent of the screen printing technique was Andy Warhol. He regularly used the printing technique during the 1960s. He used screen printing to print colourful recreations of images from films and the silver screen onto canvas.

How many types of screen printing are there? ›

Types of screen printing method:

According to t-shirt printing specialists, the screen printing method is classified into 6 different types. They include spot colour screen printing, halftone printing, grayscale printing, duotone printing, CMYK printing, and simulated printing process.

How much profit should I make per T shirt? ›

Average T-Shirt Profit Margins

Average custom t-shirt industry markups tend to fall between 30% to 50%. For example, if your total printing and shipping costs add up to $20 and you decide on a 30% profit margin, the retail price will be $20 + ($20 x 30%) = $26. Making your profit $6.

How much margin should I leave for printing? ›

Page Settings
Letter PaperA4 Paper
Left margin0.75in1.9cm
Right margin0.75in1.32cm
Bottom margin0.75in3.67cm
7 more rows

Is 15% a good profit margin? ›

An NYU report on U.S. margins revealed the average net profit margin is 7.71% across different industries. But that doesn't mean your ideal profit margin will align with this number. As a rule of thumb, 5% is a low margin, 10% is a healthy margin, and 20% is a high margin.

Is 90% a good profit margin? ›

But for other businesses, like financial institutions, legal firms or other service industry companies, a gross profit margin of 50% might be considered low. Law firms, banks, technology businesses and other service industry companies typically report gross profit margins in the high-90% range.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

Last Updated:

Views: 6239

Rating: 5 / 5 (60 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1997-03-23

Address: 74183 Thomas Course, Port Micheal, OK 55446-1529

Phone: +13408645881558

Job: Global Representative

Hobby: Sailing, Vehicle restoration, Rowing, Ghost hunting, Scrapbooking, Rugby, Board sports

Introduction: My name is Geoffrey Lueilwitz, I am a zealous, encouraging, sparkling, enchanting, graceful, faithful, nice person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.