In the last few years, it seems like everything has gotten more expensive—groceries, cars, homes, insurance, taxes, fast food—you name it. Custom T-shirt prices, too, have gone up. Here’s what affects the price and what you can do to keep your custom T-shirt costs in check.
What makes custom T-shirts costs go up?
Most custom T-shirt price increases are out of the control of the T-shirt printing company.
• Wholesale garment prices have gone up considerably because of increasing raw material costs, including the cost of cotton (which rose by 50 percent last year), polyester, bamboo, and rayon.
• T-shirt manufacturing prices have also gone up nationally and abroad due to drastic increases in wholesale shipping costs. Oil and gas prices are higher. Shipping container costs have tripled since the beginning on the pandemic. Trucking load prices have increased by 12 percent so far this year and are expected to continue going up throughout the year.
• Port congestion and supply chain halts have also negatively impacted the manufacturing of inks in accordance with customer demand as well as limited the ink manufacturers’ ability to ship ink to screen printers in a timely manner.
• Inflation is ticking upward. As of March 2022, the inflation has climbed to 7.5 percent, the greatest spike in 40 years.
• Clothing brand manufacturers have increased their prices ranging from 5 percent higher on the lower end to 15 percent on the higher end. While clothing brand prices have gone up, availability and color choices have gone down.
How can you keep your custom T-shirt costs down?
Here are 8 simple strategies.
- Choose the right product. Not all T-shirts are created or priced equally. In fact, some of our favorite T-shirts have a lower price point than some premium priced brands. Check the garment price using our instant quote calculator and take advantage of our good, better, best comparisons. If you are selling T-shirts to promote your business or brand, choose a high-quality garment. If you are making T-shirts that will only be worn once as a gag, go cheap.
- Increase your quantity. Broken Arrow automatically calculates discounts at regular quantity intervals, typically, 6, 12, 24, and so on.
- Reduce the number of print colors. Where possible, use half-tones instead of different colors. Half tone colors let you approximate various shades of the same color, such as pale gray, medium gray, and charcoal gray. Half tones of the same colors mean only one screen is required, keeping the printing cost down.
- Reduce the number of print locations. T-shirt screen printing pricing is based on the number of colors per print location. For example, if you have a 4-color design going on front, back, and sleeve, that’s a total of 12 imprints (or screens). Your order will be 3 times the cost of a single-location print job.
- Order the exact sizes you need the first time. Guessing sizes can mean placing a second or third order. Ordering the sizes and number of T-shirts you need all at once gives you the greatest quantity price break and saves repeating printing costs. Compare it to making one lasagna to feed the whole family, or making one small lasagna, cleaning everything up, then making another small lasagna and cleaning everything, then making a third one—you get the picture. One and done is the most time saving and cost-effective way to go.
- Choose the right decorating method. If you have a complicated design with lots of fine details and colors, instead of screen-printing you might opt for computerized direct-to-garment printing which requires only one printing pass. Similarly, it might make sense to embroider a small pocket logo on a few shirts rather than screen-printing it.
- Eliminate personalization. We offer price breaks for specific size jersey numbers and names, but if you don’t really need it, it’s an easy way to skip an extra cost.
- Place your order early to take advantage of free shipping. Fed-Ex, USPS, and UPS rush shipping costs are significantly higher.