Q&A: Source for wholesale T-shirt printing

By signcraft

Posted on Sunday, September 17th, 2023

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Readers want to know: “I want to offer t-shirt printing to my sign customers and plan to outsource that. Can anyone recommend a reliable, quality online source for shirts and sportswear printing [in the US]?”

Our recent article on the benefits of outsourcing as a way to expand your business—and profits—without adding staff and equipment sparked this question from several readers. T-shirts, jackets and caps are easy to sell to many sign customers because it’s more convenient for them than going elsewhere to get them produced. Plus, customers may not have thought about getting shirts made until you offer it to them.

Find answers from readers below—and add your own if you can help.

 

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Michael Mariant
Michael Mariant
9 months ago

Looking forward to hearing about other options aside from Vistaprint or those type of low-quality custom print services.

Ian McLellan
Ian McLellan
9 months ago

We used to work with a wholesale screen printer and found it to be too much work for too little profit. First, we would purchase the shirts from Alpha Border or Sanmar and have them delivered to the printer. That process could take serious time especially when there were shortages of items and you needed to find alternatives etc. Then of course you need to proof and approve artwork with the client and get the items from the printer to your shop to deliver to the client….. Well after all the work and a gross profit as little as $1 per shirt it seemed like it was not worth taking any job under a hundred pieces. We bill our shop time and design time at $75 or $85 per hour and you would easily spend more than an hour with the run around work, so it never really made any money.
Now, we simply recommend a local screen printer and give him the referral. Now he also looks for referrals and has sent us several clients. I think that we have done better with this model rather than taking it all on, especially since we have gained a few new customers, who have brought us many signs and fleet graphics.

Jamie Whitley
Jamie Whitley
9 months ago

Serveral years back I tried the same thing that Ian mentioned above and there just wasnt enough money in it to justify the time spent.

Recently (as in the last month) we’ve started back doing them again but using Direct To Film transfers from an online wholesaler and we apply them using a heat press here at the shop. I was a bit leary about using a heat press to do shirts but we tried them out on our shop shirts and then washed them quite a bit to test the durability and it’s been great so far!

This seems to work good for lower quantities..I wouldnt want to do several hundred shirts using this method. This also seems to help our customers out when they dont want to order a huge quantity of shirts and we can still make decent money on them.

Michael Mariant
Michael Mariant
8 months ago
Reply to  Jamie Whitley

Jaime, can you share your source you used for direct to film, since you had success with them?

Jamie Whitley
Jamie Whitley
8 months ago

Michael- I’ve need using ninjatransfers.com and they’ve worked out great! I’ve only had one issue with them and they immediately corrected it. I highly recommend them.

Thanks Tom for pointing out that I missed Michael’s response!

Audrey Peterson
Audrey Peterson
8 months ago

I use the same method that Jamie Whitley mentioned, screen printed transfers applied by heat press. Same look and longevity as screen printing directly on the apparel (which we tested ourselves as well), we can even do glow in the dark, puff, metallic, neon, full color (cmykw) and other specialty finishes.
We were using an online wholesaler prior and their prices went up so much over the past year there is no room for profit. Additionally their quality control was very poor.
Asignage.org can provide B2B rates and fast turnarounds for any order under 50 pieces, they can provide design, proofs with your business logo, handle all apparel acquisition with recommendations.
You can email requests directly to info@asignage.org
Larger orders accepted with longer lead times.
Bonus you would be supporting a small local business located in MA.

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