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How to Start a Screen Printing Business

How to Start a Screen Printing Business PhotoScreen printed products can be seen everywhere. From shirts of varying designs to bags, banners, flags, mugs, pens and an endless stream of products where ink can stick on.

Screen printing is one of the most popular small- to mid-scale businesses in the market, projected to have 10-15% growth rate per year. In the 2012 publication of Commercial Screen Printing Industry, it had revenue of $7.9 billion USD and gross profit of 27.42% in its 2011 performance.

It’s a growing industry because of its versatility and market size.

If you’re planning to start in this industry, might as well take up some points to ponder.

The capital

Screen printing doesn’t need as much capital as other businesses. Prepare money for mainly the equipment, supplies and location of your establishment.

The market

Consider what type of printing you would like to specialize in. Do you want to venture in shirts and sportswear? How about posters and glass?

T-shirts has the biggest market and competition. Other markets like ceramic and banners are also good.

Permits and licenses

Research the requirements necessary for operating the business. Be sure that you acquire all needed documents and licenses. You’ll need local business permits, occupancy permits and safety inspections before you can start printing.

Printing industry is under the jurisdiction of environmental agencies so have your place inspected by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for compliance.

Location and space

You don’t really need to have a large space to start in this business. But if you have funds for a large space, it would help in making inks dry easier.

You can use your home, or rent some inexpensive place. The place should have strong water supply and a sink or bath area where you can wash ink from your equipment.

Equipment and supplies

Depending on your preferred market, you’ll need different screen-printing machines. There are machines for flat printing and for odd-shaped items like mugs and pens.

Starter kits and packages are available in the market. Just make sure you buy them from a trustworthy company. Some also offer after-sales services like technical support and training.

Obtain supplies of inks, emulsions, solvents and spot cleaners. Equipment like pressurized hose, scrubs, aluminum frame and drying rack are the essentials of your business.

You’ll also need a computer with a graphic design program suitable for creating screen-printed designs.

If you don’t have that much money, there are used screen-printing machines available in the market. There are also companies that lease printing machines for affordable prices.

Services and prices

Provide sample prints of services you offer. Display your artistic talent by creating attractive designs for shirts, ceramics, banners or whatever your business caters.

Compute all the incurred costs in establishing your business and include operating expenses in deciding how much you’ll price your services. Investigate on the industry rate and prices of competing shops.

Ensure that you provide quality products and services. Shirt prints for example, should be properly cured and dried. Otherwise, the print could crack after just a few months.

Experiment on the best type of ink compatible for specific kinds of garment or other print materials.

People love to wear unique and custom-made designs in their shirts and bags. Combine your artistic talent, quality service and affordable prices and you’ll have a thriving business.

  • Miss Sabie

    Great ideas you’ve compiled here, Ron. But, I would like to stress more on the general idea of being prepared for business. That is because some people think that it is already enough to be good at designs and print. If you only think of it that way, then investing in a print business is not really for you yet.

    It’s not as easy as everyone may think. But, if you have the mindset of an entrepreneur and a prepared businessman, you are sure going to succeed.