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Pricing Jobs for Screen Printing

Posted by Dwayne Collins - Outside Sales on 3/12/2014
One of the hardest things to do for startup shops is trying to figure our how to price their jobs - you want to try to price attractively to retain the customer, but you have all that new equipment to pay for - and of course you want a profit!  There are so many variables to figuring out the price for screen printing that this is one of the hardest things to do in our industry.

Product Brand/Style
The first major item that goes into determining the cost of screen printing is the product that is being screen printed itself.  The cost of a shirt, without any printing on it may range from as little as $2.00 to as much as $35.00. Hoodies, polo shirts, and other items can have even greater ranges.  The price for the product is also influencedd by the quantity that is purchased. If you purchase 500 shirts you would pay less per shirt then if you ordered 10 shirts.  Determine your material costs and quantity for a good starting number.  

Design Locations
The more print locations you have on the shirt the greater the cost.  This is because for each location you must to setup the press with new screens and print that design as if it were a brand new project. This applies to every location you need to have printed on the same product. If you wanted a design on the left chest of a t-shirt, on the upper back, and on the lower back, that would constitute three different print locations, and would be priced appropriately. Now if the lower back and upper back design were moved closer to each other and placed in the center of the back, then the project would only be two colors, greatly reducing your printing cost.

Design Colors
This is one of the most difficult aspects for clients to understand. The basic concept is that the number of colors for each Design Location is used to determine what the screen printing charge will be. But this is not always as easy as it seems.  In many cases it can be very simplistic, in other cases not so easy.  Probably the most confusing part of this for clients is when they have the same color in two different design locations.  You as the screen printer have to know for each job how many screens are to be used and what type of inks will work best.  Depending on material, you may be able to use general purpose inks, or you may have to use polyester inks.  Other specialty inks such as neons and glitters may mean additional ink costs as well.

Graphics and Vectorization
We as screen printers require either high resolution or vector artwork. Some clients are able to provide this, but some just do not have the necessary files or graphic art skills to do so. In those casew you can assist clients with cleaning up the clients artwork or creating brand new unique artwork from scratch. The amount of time would varies with each project.  Determine an hourly rate for your time spent on this, and make the customer aware of exactly how much time you expect to spend on it and also the charges involved.

You are in business for profit (although screen printing is also fun), but starting out can sometimes be challenging especially when you may have competition in the area, but quality work and reasonable pricing will build strong word-of-mouth advertising for you and your business will grow quickly!

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