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How To Print On Demand: Make More Money With Your T-Shirt Business

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Hey Friends! Dave here with Transfer Express and today we’re going to be talking about printing on demand with a heat press.

In the past couple years we’ve seen this huge shift in buying power over to online stores and marketplaces with more and more creative entrepreneurs jumping into the industry. YOU CAN JUMP IN TOO!

But you won’t need expensive direct to garment printers, vinyl cutters, hours of weeding or huge budgets to get your online store stocked, primed and ready to sell. On demand printing with a heat press allows you to have expanded catalogs of apparel colorways, quick, easy printing while maintaining that big profit margin. Let’s dive in!

Traditionally, to stock an online clothing store you would be buying bulk printed apparel or running a huge printing run upfront. This isn’t ideal because if your products don’t sell, you’re stuck with pre-printed stock and left with only a couple strategies to liquidate it- deep sales, or even giveaways- neither of which is looking out for profits- merely trying to recoup your investment- NOT IDEAL.

Printing on demand with those expensive direct to garment setups you’re stuck with having to stock expensive inks, pre treatment, curing and even maintenance on those machines that pop up at the worst time. Sure it reduces the risk of pre-printing apparel, but can erode your profits quickly.

Even with traditional screen printing, sure you can burn a screen and keep it ready for when an order hits, but inking up the screen, printing and then washing out for just one or two shirts at a time really isn't worth the effort.

That’s really where heat printing with screen printed transfers comes in for the win. Not only is the finished product identical to a traditional screen printed shirt when using our Goof Proof transfers, but you can order bulk transfers in one colorway (white inks are a great example) and then print those same transfers across an entire array of different colors or apparel styles.

I should mention too, Goof Proof screen printed transfers apply as fast as 4 seconds, so it’s much faster than DTG and beats the setup of screen printing. Flip the switch on the press, wait a few minutes for it to warm up and bam, you’re printing. When you’re finished printing, another flip of the switch to turn the press off and you’re done. No cleanup required!

So, essentially all you need to do is purchase transfers and apparel upfront to have on hand for quick shipping. The styles or colors then that don’t sell aren’t a liability, you can just roll into the next drop or design down the road or even return them to the supplier. In many cases, bulk orders can be returned for a nominal restocking fee- just check each supplier's policy before planning on it as an option.

Just be sure to store your transfers in a climate controlled environment- we have a full video on how to properly store your transfers so they apply good as new YEARS down the line. We even press a 10 year old screen printed transfer- spoiler alert if you haven't seen the video yet- it applies perfect.

The physical transfers then are really the only liability that you are risking take a loss on- but, good news, they’re incredibly affordable and wont carve into your general profit margins if you don’t end up using all of them. Utilizing gang sheets to put multiple pieces of artwork on each sheet reduces that risk even further, by driving the per-image cost down.

It’s never been easier or less-expensive to start your own on-demand t-shirt business with minimal risk. All you really need is a heat press- we’ve seen thriving online and Etsy t-shirt stores run out of spare bedrooms, dorm rooms, basements and garages- seriously, just go on TikTok and you’ll see tons of passionate creators living their dreams with their own heat printing setups. Just purchase the transfers and apparel when planning your apparel drop and store them until the orders start rolling in!