The real cost of screen printing

I’m going to get real with you.  We have accounts with shirt vendors which allows us to order shirts on the cheap.  Compared to retail prices, our wholesale prices would probably make your jaw drop.  So you may be asking yourself, “Well then why the heck do I have to pay so much for my screen printed shirt?”  Good question.  Just for fun (well, fun for me) I thought I’d try and list the time and costs that go into the price of screen printed shirts.  From beginning to end, let the “Great experiment begin!”

1.  Quoting the job

  • Email/phone call correspondence
  • Locating the perfect shirt style and fit.
  • Calculating cost per shirt based on printing variables.
  • COSTS: Labor, Internet and phone service, electricity, printer paper

 2.  Taking the order

  • Filling out the order form
  • Inputing order into invoice software
  • Sending invoice/printout order for the shop
    • COSTS: Labor, Internet and phone service, invoice software, electricity, printer paper

 3.  Ordering the goods

  • COSTS: Labor, Internet and phone service

4.  Artwork

  • COSTS: Labor, Internet service, Adobe products service

5.  Receiving the goods

  • Checking in and counting each piece received
    • COSTS: Labor

 6.  Screen Prep

  • Emulsion Screens
  • Print off transparancies 
  • Line up artwork to be burned
  • Burn screens
  • Allow for dry time
  • Prepping screen
    • COSTS: Labor, emulsion, transparencies, electricity, water, tape

  

 

7.  Presstime

  • Setting up the job
    • COSTS: Labor, pallet tape, spray adhesive, on-press cleaner, sharpies, cleaning rags, scotch tape

 

8.  Cleanup

  • Take down the screens
  • Clean out ink
  • Remove tape
  • Remove emulsion from screen
  • Dehaze screen
  • Degrease screen
  • Rinse screen
    • COSTS: Labor, press cleaner, emulsion remover, dehazer, degreaser, electricty, water.

 

Now for the other costs:

Rent, payroll costs, equipment, maintenance, advertising, security system, refuse and recycling service, paper towels, toilet paper, pencils and pens, ink, batteries…

Okay,  I know I’ve left some things out, but hopefully this paints a better picture of the work, time, and money that goes into screen printing even one shirt, let alone 5000.  We’ll always do our best to find a happy balance of low cost shirts and well-paid employees.