As a garment decorator, you have two primary methods of doing business – screen printing and heat transfers. Stahls’ performed a time study to find out how long it took to complete a job of 6 with screen printing vs heat transfer
For this test we used a 2-color design and left chest placement.
Screen printing has a far longer set up time. In order to print the design you have to:
- Create and expose the screen
- Wash and dry
- Prep the screen
Altogether, the process of printing the 6-shirt job takes 38 minutes with screen printing. Without labor, the cost of screen printing per design comes out to $6.67. Now let’s take a look at heat transfer printing.
**Heat Transfer Printing**
Here are the steps required to apply a design to a garment using a heat press:
- Cut the design from a vinyl cutter
- Weed the design
- Apply with a heat press
The same job took 21 minutes to complete using heat transfers. Without labor, the cost of heat transfers per design comes out to $0.45
**Cost with Labor**
Now let’s factor labor in. With screen printing, most of the labor happens up front with setup. After setup the cost of labor falls considerably and the amount is amortized over the number of pieces that you make. With heat transfers, the same amount of labor is involved with each piece.
**Screen printing and heat transfers go hand in hand**
When you do a side-by-side comparison of cost with labor added, you’ll see that each method is well suited for specific types of jobs. Screen printing makes sense when the quantity is high enough because the quantity will outweigh the labor in set up. Smaller quantities are well-suited for heat printing, since the labor cost remains the same throughout.
Heat applied graphics and screen printing go hand in hand, so in order to make the maximum profit for your business, you need to have access to both.
The heat press featured in this video was the Hotronix Fusion heat press, available at: www.stahls.com/fusion-heat-press.
You forgot to show emulsion/mixing setup. Having a darkroom. Printing the negatives. Ink cost and film costs to print the negative. Color matching. Ink cleanup. Emulsion reclaiming. Drying to re emulsion... Screen printing is dead.
You could have ganged four jobs like this on the two screens instead of using a whole screen for one small design. And the drying time isn't wasted because you can do other things while the screens dry. The $20 per screen isn't cost, it's the charge paid by the customer. I calculate chemicals and emulsion to make a screen at about $3-$4. Actual time spent working on it is about 10 minutes. I did the math a few years ago and decided that for a single color job I'd do vinyl for 5 or less shirts and screen printing for 6 or more.
Sure, for only 6 shirts making screens and setup is a lot of work. But your comparison is pretty poor and obviously leans in the favor of the machines you’re trying to sell. I use HTV for less than 10 shirts and screen print for 10 or greater. After 2 years of only using HTV, investing into screen printing was a no brainer.
would make sense to start with htv and test the waters whether you can attract the big buyers. if you have a store front then surely you can, but working purely online it'll really depend on your ability to sell. if it's your only business then you'd have to make it work, but if it's only a side income then i totally understand why many won't bother with screen printing.
Please visit https://www.stahls.com/heat-presses-vinyl-cutters for more information relating to the various equipment used in this video. Please visit https://www.stahls.com/heat-transfer-vinyl-twill for the different heat applied materials available for heat pressing. If you have additional questions, please call 800-478-2457 or email [email protected]
only if you run a stingy operation. obviously they keep the screens incase customer comes back. and buy them really cheap on bulk maybe $5 a screen. not worth anyone's salary to spend time reusing them even if they were $20 cos if your salary is $50-100/h and you're a very successful one man operation that'd mean you'd have to reuse the screen in like 10mins and you'd lose the potential incase the customer comes back for more. not worth the time either way.
Having done professional screenprinting for six years now my eyes were rolling ringht at the start of this video, when I realized he was doing a heat transfer/screenprint comparison with six tshirts.
If you have a machine park that would allow you to utilize either of these techniques, who in their right mind wound do a screenprint setup for six tshirts??
We have a startup cost per colour that the customer pays for screenprints, and good luck trying to sell them six tshirts that has two start costs attached to them.
Quick calculation (and dollar conversion) says that the customer buying those six tshirts would wind up paying approximately $32 per garment!
i read everywhere the same thing htv after 3 washes the htv peel off, but screen print will last for ever as is just water base paint or plastisol, the thing is if you have a small business and want to sell personalized shirt to use the screen print and make money minimun you have to do like 30 tshirts because of emulsion preparation and printing the positive to reveal the image, heat press you just use vinyl and cutter and thats it, you can print 1 - 10 tshirt and save lot of money but customer must know about the durability.
Sir could you please tell me if there is a vinyl press material out there that will hold up to the washer and dryer and normal wear like a screen printed shirt will? I've always heard that a screen printed shirt was unbeatable. Is this true? I'm willing to spend the money on a good machine and on good vinyl if it's within reason and is as durable. Many thanks, Robert....
Many of our materials are guaranteed to outlast the life of the garment if heat applied correctly. Please visit https://www.stahls.com/heat-transfer-material for more information regarding the various materials available. As far as heat presses, we recommend Hotronix heat presses : https://www.stahls.com/heat-press-machines
When doing a short run of six pieces with simple artwork, like the video shows, another option is to use vinyl on your screens rather than photo emulsion. That way you only have to weed once and you have lower consumable costs than either of the two methods shown. The clean up is also minimal, just peel the vinyl from the screen and rinse it off. Nobody would use new screens for a six piece order, that's crazy talk.
didn't they wash their screens on the video though? like it's part of their business practise. dunno why everyone is talking about using new screens. my guess is they saved the screens incase the customer returns, cos perhaps the 6 shirt order was only a sample order to test the quality of your work. depends of how big your business is whether you'd save them for mere 6 screens. there is quite a bit of work changing the mesh. 5-10mins, so if you buy screens as bulk and if your salary is like $50/hour it starts not being worth it. then again of course you could hire someone to do just that. so it may be a legitimate cost to add for screen printing at least for their particular business.
For a start up, we recommend a vinyl cutter and a heat press. For vinyl cutter options, visit https://www.stahls.com/vinyl-cutter. For heat press options, visit https://www.stahls.com/heat-press-machines. If you prefer to speak to someone directly, please call us at 800.478.2457.
not really cos these numbers work for their line of business. may not necessarily for yours though if you do any step differently. so use as a guideline only how to make your own calculations based on your specific business model. it sounds to me like many tend to reuse their screens here, unlike the video maker, and that's the big controversy when it comes to pricing.
Eight minutes for screen registration? Are you joking? LoL I can register a four color print on a manual press in less time than that, and I've only been screen printing off and on for about a year. Gimme a break...
Yeah, I think the 8 minutes thing is for the automated press.
We used to have one of those at work, and it was a real bitch setting up.
I was in on my day off yesterday doing a four colour print on the manual carousel, and had that thing set up and every frame masked in about five-six minutes.
I use dtg / htv and screen print.. far as volume i can do 1 color design 1 location print screen printing around 100 shirts per hour with 30 minute set up including screen making.. manual press 6/6... by myself.. i have done 100 htv and 100 dtg before its an all day affair with people helping on either method.. i usally do htv on 20 shirts or less.. and just got completley out of dtg due to high consumbles cost..
i love htv as its my bread and butter.. but for volume i go to screen printing...
The pricing is not accurate in this video. You are actually using more than 45 sq inches of vinyl per design because you have to include the vinyl you throw away, not just whats used in the design. AND with screen printing, you are not going to buy two new screens. You are going to use screens you already own from a previous job. Plus, you have the option to charge the customer a setup fee that covers the cost of the screens. So in this case, the only cost you have to worry about is for the emulsion, the ink used, and any cleaning supplies used before making the screen and when done.
they run a successful business so the numbers are true or close to true. my guess is they just buy new screens and keep the old ones in case the same customer comes back and wants to order more, you'll have them ready and waiting. would make sense to keep atleast for a year or few. saves you tons of work preparing new ones every time, and customer gets his shirts faster too, meaning he'll probably be a regular. not every business model is as stingy as keeping repurposing old screens lol. even if the numbers have some errors it still makes the point that screen printing is way more expensive. not everyone reuses their screens and you'd have to add that to the labor costs were you to.
10 inches by 4 inches is 40 square inches in black. 2 inches by 2 inches is 4, so for that job, 44 square inches is used for cutting, then weeded away the unneeded vinyl. Still used the 44 square inches, just didn't press it all.
For very small runs, then HTV makes sense IF the design is not complex and the customer is ok with the feel of vinyl (Siser Easyweed stretch is very soft though). For large runs, screen printing is actually more efficient and usually faster especially if you have the proper equipment.
The side by side pricing at 4:38 is kinda silly. $40 for two screens might be the price I sell it to the customer but not to myself while the cost of the vinyl is being portrayed at $.45 per. The $.45 has to be my cost not what I charge.
Thats bullshit. 38mins? For screen printing, you just swipe and swipe for every new t-shirt. You don't make new screen for each t shirt while for heat transfer, you got to remove excess material for each print. Aside from that, look at all those plastic trash you accumulate over time with heat transfer.
no screenprinter is going to print 6 pieces cause yes the price will be higher. I know I wont screen 6 tshirts with 2 colors .now to be truthful that design I would ask the customer what feel they want and if they say no feel then I would charge them more and make a screen out of Decal vinyl and use waterbase ink. but I always sell my shirts for $23 & $25 so Its up to me how I want to print it since I do everything inhouse.
I use mostly Siser Easyweed. I've tried too many to list and they all work the same...cut, weed, heat apply...some are known to be easier to weed, some are known to be more difficult to weed. But vinyl never cracks, and unless you dry it on hot for many hours, it won't lift off if the first heat apply is done correctly. You must be able to see the texture of the garment on the vinyl, as if the vinyl becomes one with the fabric.
and don't forget the earth's gravitational pull cos working closer to ground you have to fight off more gravity which tires you faster. so we'll have to measure whether htv or screen printing equal to higher or lower working positions and other insignificant factors ;)
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