The Ultimate Screen Printing Pricing Guide

August 5th, 2020

Ah, the humble t-shirt. Seemingly the simplest of all garments (unless you count the even more modest handkerchief). But as the owner of a screen printing business, you know nothing is ever that simple. A lot goes into making a good custom t-shirt, just like a lot goes into running your own business. Here at shopVOX, we know that all too well. That’s why we’ve customized a little something for you!

shopVOX’s business management software has been specifically designed to meet the needs of custom manufacturers of all kinds, from those who make personalized vinyl signs to those who sell prints of their original art. And, of course, we also include those who make screen printed clothing. Think of shopVOX as a comprehensive toolkit that allows you to view, organize, and modify every aspect of your business: sales leads, production, storefront management, invoicing, and more. Best of all, our software streamlines the entire process, making it easy for burgeoning entrepreneurs..

With shopVOX by your side, that humble t-shirt just got a whole lot humbler. Let us optimize your screen printing workflow so you can focus on the important stuff, such as creating a pricing plan that maximizes profits while minimizing costs, without sacrificing quality.

How exactly do you do that? Try taking the following factors into consideration:

Garment Type

The aforementioned humble t-shirt is of course just one of many types of clothing your customers might want to get screen printed. Hoodies, jackets, button-down shirts, long sleeves, socks, and even underwear can be customized, and sure enough there’s someone out there who wants to do just that.

Not all garments are created equal. More fabric often means a higher price, as does higher-quality materials. While cotton is the most economical choice, it’s not the only one. Last but not least, there’s always the question of size. Once again, the bigger the shirt, the bigger the price tag. It’s up to you to decide what options you’ll offer.


They say quality is more important than quantity, but that doesn’t mean quantity isn’t important at all. At first glance, it seems easier and cheaper to print just one shirt rather than one hundred. However, the amount of work that goes into designing and planning to screen print a single item isn’t that different from what goes into screen printing many.

That’s why it’s actually more economical to price your products lower per item for larger orders. It’s the same reason why buying food in bulk at Costco actually saves you more than buying the same products individually elsewhere. Deciding how much of a discount bulk purchasers deserve is often a matter of deciding what your time is really worth.

Color Separation

One of the screen printing steps with the greatest potential for taking up time is color separation. The more colors included in a print design, the more work it takes. A common misconception that screen printing customers sometimes have is that their design will be pressed onto the shirt whole and complete in one go. While there are certain kinds of printers capable of doing this, they’re far from industry standard and come with their own drawbacks.

In reality, most printers require each color in a design to be isolated and printed on the garment separately, one at a time. Unsurprisingly, more colors mean more work, and that means more money.


Another mistake that a lot of screen printing customers make is not considering the source of the artwork for the design they have in mind. If a customer doesn’t come to you with a completed piece of artwork, chances are you’ll have to design it yourself. In most cases, that will necessitate you acquiring fonts and clip art, either by buying packs or purchasing a subscription with a stock image service.

Even in situations where a client brings their own artwork, it may require modification to make it functional. Many customers don’t realize how different it is to print an image on fabric versus printing it on paper. If it was that easy, it would be a lot cheaper.


There’s a reason why most screen printed shirts have their design stamped dead-center in the middle of the chest or back. Simply put, that’s the easiest place to print something. Whether big or small, chest and back placements are generally considered an industry standard. But not everyone wants the industry standard.

For customers looking for something a bit more unique, a small extra fee per item is typically a good idea. Placements on unusual areas, like the sleeves or neckline, tend to require more time and work. And as you should be well aware by now, more work deserves to be compensated with more pay.

Ink Types

Just like clothing fabrics, not all inks are created equal. While mid-range options are generally considered ideal for most screen printing projects, depending on the customer, higher- or lower-grade inks can be utilized for similarly higher or lower prices.

In most cases, what sets different ink types apart is how long they last before cracking and fading from wear and washing. There are also specialty ink types that customers might want to utilize to make their items stand out more, such as glitter or shimmer inks. Once again, it’s up to you if you want to offer such things as options. If you do, though, don’t forget to factor that in when pricing the final product.

Simplify Your Screen Printing Business with shopVOX

All those variables and different numbers is enough to make your head spin. shopVOX’s business printing software is here to make it a lot more digestible. Whether you’re worried about keeping track of pricing options, order quantities, supplier communications, or customer satisfaction, shopVOX keeps it all neat and orderly so you can inspect and edit your work with minimal fuss.Contact us now and let shopVOX make your job a little easier, and a lot more profitable!