Quick ROI Breakdown on Direct to Garment Printers


A lot of people ask for a quick breakdown on the return on investment (ROI) when buying a garment printer. Whether it's adding to an already established shop or starting a T-shirt company from scratch there is a need to see quickly how this investment can work for you.

There are so many factors, however here is a quick, nitty gritty overview of what you need and what it takes to break even and make a profit. Nothing is this simple, but it's a guideline.

Shirt costs:
White Tee shirt: $1.00 to $1.95 wholesale
Black Tee shirt: $2.00 to $2.95 wholesale
Ink cost per shirt printed (approx. 10"x12" graphic)
White shirt: $0.20 to $0.60 per
Black shirt: $0.75 to $2.00 per
Typical selling price of printed Tee shirts (Retail)
White shirt: $10 to $25
Black shirts: $15 to $35
Printing time per shirt (approx. 10"x12" graphic)
White shirt: 0:50 to 1:15 min color inks
Black shirt: 1:30 to 3:00 min for white and color inks
Production Rates for White shirts
Hourly production rate: 25 to 50 shirts (including prep time)
Daily production rate: 200 to 400 shirts (8 hours)
Monthly production rate: 4,000 to 8,000 shirts (20 day month)
(For black tee shirt operations, there are many factors that affect the operational efficiency. Generally black shirts require double the time to produce compared to a white or light colors garment.)
Other Consideration
Average hourly rate of labor for DTG printer operation: $12.00 to $18.00
DTG Printer Price: $21,995 + s/h & additional accessories
Print Head Replacement cost: $1200 (avg. life 1 year)
Expected Life of Printer: 6 to 8 years
Bottom Line
At an average selling price of $15 per shirt and direct material cost of $2.00 per shirt, the gross margin is in the range of $13.00 per shirt. Adjusting for other costs such as labor and equipment financing, let's adjust the profit to $10.00 per shirt. The printer will pay for itself when you sell about 2,200 shirts. The printer is capable of printing more than 4,000 shirts per month. The key to financial success is operator's ability to sell the shirts and printing services.

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