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What Do You Need To Start A T-Shirt Business? (It's Less Than You Think!)

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Hey Friends! Dave here with Transfer Express and today I want talk about everything you need to start your own t-shirt business!

Whether you’re looking to start your own business from home, or, adding apparel printing onto your existing business or if you’re just looking to bring your merch production in-house this video is for you!

There’s so many ways you can get into starting a t-shirt business, from screen printing presses, to direct to garment printers, or even sublimation. BUT, today I’m talking about the easiest to learn, retail-quality results, lowest cost, highest profit method, and if I could hit the reset button and go back in time, it would be the one I would start with over a decade ago… that’s right, screen printed heat transfers.

Not only do they look, feel and wash like a traditional screen printed shirt, but they’re super-simple to use and fit into any business model or initial investment. So let’s jump in to cover everything you need to get started printing t-shirts and profiting!

Now you’re probably thinking: “Dave is about to tell me I need thousands of dollars to invest, or need to toss my profits aside while I’m building my business”… and that couldn't be farther from the truth. In all reality, you can be up and running, producing your own t-shirts with just a few hundred dollars. I’m not talking cheap, amateur results either. You’ll be printing off-the-shelf retail quality t-shirts right out of the gate!

Alright, so what’s the catch? This sounds too easy- surely there’s some expensive equipment I need to buy right? Wrong.

The first thing you’ll need is a computer, and chances are, You’ve probably already got one! We don’t need a top-of-the-line Macbook Pro. Any moderately-newish computer will work just fine. Ideally, your computer will be your resource for running orders, editing your website or Etsy store, and be a tool you use for shipping. Buying postage early makes UPS and the post office love you if you’re shipping a lot. Sites like stamps.com or shipstation take alot of the hassle out of shipping. And while we’re on the topic of shipping, you won't need one right away, but if you’re shipping a lot, a label printer definitely comes in handy.

Alright, back to your computer’s responsibilities! In addition to keeping track of orders and shipping, It’s also smart to keep all your financial records all in one spot. Any invoices or expenses are super handy to save, and come tax time it will make everything much easier. Just save it all when you’re ordering supplies or blank apparel to one folder and keep it organized!

The last duty your computer will be tasked with will be your marketing or social media- but alot of this your phone can handle just fine!

The next piece is a heat press. Now heat presses range from a couple hundred bucks all the way up to a few thousand, and it all depends on your budget and business plan. With some decent volume of orders, you can pay off the most expensive press in a month or two. There’s even financing available which makes the higher-end equipment even more affordable, but you can get started no problem with a more affordable heat press in the $300-500 range.

And that’s essentially it. That’s really the only equipment you need up front. Using custom screen printed transfers you’ll order your prints online when you need them, along with blank apparel. It’s smart to keep some supplies on hand for the quick turnaround when you’re in a pinch, but not needed.

Then, for printing any t-shirts, you can use Easy View Online Designer at TransferExpress.com, where you don't even have to be an artist or have any graphic design experience, or a powerful computer to create professional-looking designs and t-shirts using the thousands of custom clipart, layouts and fonts that are free to use! In just a couple clicks you can order screen printed transfers of your artwork, that ship out as quick as the next business day.

Then bam! Just as easy as this- loading the shirt on your press, placing the transfer and pressing for only 4 seconds. That's it, you get a retail-quality screen printed t-shirt.