A Turnkey Guide To Starting and Running A T Shirt Business Written By Actual T-Shirt Business Owners

Covering The Following Types of T-Shirt Business Areas
Screen Printing, Heat Press, Embroidery, Dye Sublimination, Direct to Garment, Custom T-Shirt and Air Brush Business Models


Starting A T Shirt Business.com is run by a group of t-shirt business owners who have come together to offer up their industry insight, business plans, resources and contacts to those looking to start their own t-shirt business without the confusion or unnecessary expenses.

The T-Shirt business is essentially recession proof, and those who have run them will tell you that whether the economy is good or bad, the business will thrive.

There will always be a want and a need for custom t-shirts, whether it's for school, work, play, organizations or just people looking to customize their own t-shirt, which is what makes this business one of the most desirable and profitable niche textile industries around the world.

Whether you have considered starting your own t-shirt business or not, we can honestly state that we along with any other t-shirt business owner you may have communicated with that it is truly is a profitable venture for small business entrepreneurs, not only because it's a proven low-risk business model, but the fact that startup costs are minimal yet profit margins high since you will be able to purchase shirts, ink, equipment and accessories direct from the manufacturer through our extensive list of t-shirt industry dealer direct manufacturer contacts and then sell your printed t-shirts retail either in bulk or individually to the consumer.

The key to running any type of business in any industry is that you minimize expenses and maximize profits through rapid client and customer acquisition which is accomplished through a mix of free, low cost and co-operative advertising campaigns.

The truth is any one can start their own t-shirt business, but without the proper marketing strategies and campaigns, very few will know that your business exists.

As such, the goal of our site and featured guide is to provide those looking to start their own t-shirt business with the most up-to-date industry knowledge, resources, contacts & tools to start their own commercially situated or home t-shirt business, while assisting them to expose their business to the masses not only locally, but regionally, internationally or globally "if desired" through free and proven aggressive creative marketing tactics.

Launching and maintaining a low cost or free advertising campaign is the biggest part of your operation, which is really the easiest once you get a campaign set up and begin receiving calls and emails.

There are a plethora of effective marketing tools that t-shirt business owners can use, such as setting up a web site and promoting it for free, placing local classified ads on and offline in your area, phone book listings, flyers, and of course when you begin taking on new clients, you will soon learn that Word of Mouth advertising "referrals" will become a large part of your new client acquisitions and a vital part of your marketing plan.

Of course, the largest part of your initial advertising campaign is the investment of your time in the development of your advertising materials, such as business cards, flyers, web site created and online classified ad copy.  Sites such as Craigs List offer a great place to advertise your services, along with other sites listed in our guide.

For over two decades, we employed different business plans and marketing tactics through trial and error methods, and over the years developed a turnkey guide to starting a t-shirt business without the uncertainty that naturally comes along when launching a business.

Regardless of whether you are a newbie or not to this business, we know that you will find our easy to follow guide to starting and running your own t-shirt business all that you need to jump into this business using real world street savvy business strategies and tactics that will get your phone ringing and email inquiries in your inbox.


When it comes to operating a t-shirt business, you must decide what type of t-shirts you plan on making and selling.  There are different ways to make t-shirts including screen printing, heat transfer, digital cut-out printing, direct to garment printing, tie die, airbrush and embroidered shirts.

The business model you choose will help you to determine what type of t-shirts you will be looking to sell whether it be individually or in bulk and where.

For starters, we would recommend the quick Screen Printing method for new business startup owners.  It's the mainstream method that's used when making t-shirts.  With Automatic Presses, you will be able to quickly and easily mass produce crisp high quality t-shirts as long as you have the design to work with.  You can generate them through various computer graphics programs.

But you may not be looking to target organizations or intend to mass produce t-shirts, rather, you may be looking to create custom t-shirts for people out of your home or at a small commercial location.

Depending how artistic you are, you may choose to sell custom airbrushed t-shirts, tie dies or t-shirts with the designs that are from a template or your own using a heat transfer or direct to garment printing where just a printer or small machine is required.

Automated Mass Product Screen Printing Machines can be costly as they are the fastest and most efficient when fulfilling a bulk order of shirts, but you can still mass produce them on smaller or semi-automatic machines and achieve the same result, but it may take double the time.

In our guide, you will find a list of web sites and direct contact information to t-shirt industry liquidators that sell used t-shirt making machines of all types at up to 85% off market price so you can always a way to get a great deal and many of them offer in-house financing should you need it.

Through our industry contacts, we have been able to get Automated Presses for less than $500!


Choosing a t-shirt making process for your business is one of the most important decisions you'll make, although, you can always change up the way you make them as you go and take on more clients.

Many times the decision comes naturally as you begin advertising and understanding the types of orders you receive.

However, based off of our experience, it is the bulk t-shirt orders that organizations and businesses place that will be your bread and butter.  We regularly receive orders for hundreds of t-shirts and each one earns us up to a $15 profit. 

The key to running a successful t-shirt business is mass produce high quality t-shirts that meet that customers requirements.  Above all, you want to make the entire process as easy for you as possible.  With the tried and proven screen printing method, the best thing to do is get a manual or automatic machine to do the work for you.

The only thing that you will need to is input the text or design in your computer and create a test t-shirt.  If satisfactory, then you may mass produce the rest with ease.

The great thing is the computer does all of the work.  If the client requires a design, you will simply get a cheap template and work from that instead of designing your own from scratch.

But do understand, you can have fun with your business and you do not need to limit yourself or your business to one type of t-shirt. 

You can market your service locally through classifieds sites on and offline, set up a web site and market your business through various channels that we can describe in our guide.

You can fulfill orders online for people looking for custom t-shirts, whether tie dye or computer generated.

Screen Print or Silkscreen "Most Common" Method:  This method involves using light sensitive and film positive images to print on paper, wood, plastic fabric and other materials.  Once you place your image "generated by computer or by hand" on a screen, ink is then pushed through the screen using a squeegee.  The end is result is a sharp vibrant looking print, and you can use multiple colors and depending on the equipment you use, print multiple copies of your t-shirt using automated, semi-automated or manual machines.

Direct to Garment "2nd Most Common" Method:  This is becoming a more popular t-shirt making method due to it's ease of use and the improved t-shirt making printers being manufactured..  This works just like a regular printer connected to your computer.  When making a t-shirt through this method, you simply print out the image or design on your screen onto a t-shirt fed through a specialized printer, similar to that of an ink-jet printer.  Using a high speed printer, this is truly an efficient method of mass and custom t-shirt production.

Heat Transfer "3rd Most Common" Method: The heat transfer t-shirt making process is the third most common method.  It is gaining in popularity to due to advances in technology and is becoming a mainstream t-shirt making method.  This process involves the use of heat to transfer the design or image from the surface of the carrier "source" paper to the surface of t-shirt using only a heat press.

Regardless of which t-shirt printing process you choose, all can be used in the mass production of t-shirts for business, charities, organizations and custom t-shirt making.

Please note that you do not need to spend thousands of dollars in equipment.  Start out small using a couple of manual or semi-automated machines that can be picked up for a pennies on the dollar through t-shirt industry auctions, eBay, used merchandise dealers and the classifieds.  We provide a comprehensive list to them within our eBook, so you all you have to do is contact them.

Also, when starting small, you will minimize risk and maximize profits, and slowly gain new clients which will bring repeat business. 

But most importantly, you will soon learn that word of mouth referrals will make up a large percentage of your business as you grow so it's important to provide great customer service and produce high quality t-shirts at a competitive price.

Using our turnkey guide to starting and running a t-shirt business, you will find everything you need to successfully start and run your business efficiently.  From deciding whether you want to work out of a rented space or your home, to registration, to equipment purchasing to advertising, we provide our real world industry knowledge and insight, enabling you to get into this business with the tools and industry specific education you need to succeed.


There are many marketing strategies that T-Shirt business owners employ to attract new clientele.  As any t-shirt business owner will tell you, the key to success is image and exposure, not how big of an operation you run or how many machines or computers you have.

Using our guide, you will learn how to quickly snap up new clientele using an array of free and low cost, turnkey marketing methods that we have used for decades.  Below, you will find just a few of the marketing strategies that really do work.  There are over 100 + listed in our guide.
1.) Co-Operative business to business advertising agreements -  where you exchange ads and ad space with another business.  It does not matter if they are in the same industry as you or not because the key is to gain public attention.  This is a very beneficial form of advertising because no advertising dollars are exchanged so it's a win-win situation.

2.)  Yellow Page Listing - Listing your business, not matter how small or large is one of the best ways to begin acquiring new clients.  The majority of people still use the local yellow pages to find what they're looking for.

3.)  On and Offline Classified Advertising - Placing free online ads will help you gain immediate exposure and get the phone ringing.  Local newspaper, along with large classified ad sites such as eBay classifieds and Craigs List are both good.  Simply place a text ad with images or simply a custom image based ad and you're in business.

4.)  Pay-Per Inquiry or Pay Per Lead - PPI or PPL is one of our favorite advertising methods.  What you can do is contact local radio and T.V. stations to inquiry about unallocated "unsold" t.v. advertising time slots.  What they will do is set up a 1-800 number for their listeners or viewers to call to inquire.  You'll then pay for only qualified leads which are typical less than $5 per call.  It's almost like Pay-Per-Click services that Search Engines offer.  You only pay for the visitors or inquiries you receive.

5.) Web Site Development and Advertising - We can't leave this one out.  In  technology based society, it really is recommended that you build a web site so that not only people searching online can find a t-shirt business, but also a place where your current clientele can contact you.  At your web site, you may offer live chat, form based email, and list all of your pertinent contact information.  You'll then be able to list your web site on all of your advertising material.  To drive traffic to your web site, consider placing advertisements on local classified ad sites for FREE and provide your web site address so they can click on to visit your web page.  Our experience has been that most people would rather email than call when they initially do business.

Please note that we have compiled a list of over 100 + FREE / LOW COST advertising methods for new t-shirt business owners which will prove to be essential when looking to gain exposure while getting the phone to ring and new email sales inquiries.


If you're going to be producing custom t-shirts in bulk, then you will need an machine that can make the process easier.   Depending on the volume of t-shirts you're looking to produce, a manual, semi-automatic or fully automated t-shirt press will be needed.

However, there are numerous sources online and through direct contacts at manufacturing facilities domestically and abroad that provide semi and fully automatic heat presses and screen printing equipment for less than $300.

Again, depending on the type of business model you choose and type of t-shirts you're looking to produce, some equipment will be necessary, however we provide all of the industry contacts, wholesale directories and contact information to purchase them below market price.

We also list dozens of forums and web sites where you can instantly buy or bid on t-shirt presses for a fraction of their value from businesses that are liquidating equipment and semi-new machines that individuals are looking to sell or trade for anything of value.

So, regardless of whether you have money to purchase the initial equipment need for your business, whether it be computer equipment, t-shirt presses or printers, we list hundreds of sources that you can buy or barter for machines at a fraction of their value.



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