Pricing Direct to Garment Printer T-Shirts

By | January 31, 2013

Pricing direct to garment printer products is a serious question for those new to DTG printing.

Here are a few considerations to help price T-shirts right!

One common question from new direct to garment printer owners is what to charge for a DTG printed T-shirt. With so many variables in calculating the final price, whether for wholesale or retail, there is no single solution to cover all situations.

However, there are some typical questions you should ask when calculating a pricing structure for your direct to garment printer T-shirt business.

DTG Printer - Viper Direct to Garment Printer

Labor Costs

Labor costs always should be the first thing to calculate. Even for a one-person operation, you should be paid for all your efforts. This becomes especially crucial if there are employees on your payroll.

Designing graphics or correcting customer supplied artwork takes time, not to mention time creating a single T-shirt. There is labor involved in curing the shirt with a heat press, packaging and mailing the order. There is no reason you shouldn’t be paid for your time (or the time of your employees).

When looking at all the different amounts of labor to produce a direct to garment printer T-shirt, you must specify a fair labor cost for your market. Take in account your location and the economy in the area. Prior to starting your direct to garment printer business, you did do research into other screen printers and visual artists, didn’t you?

Operating Costs

Take the core labor costs for direct to garment printers, and then factor in operating costs. Rent or lease costs have to be figured in. The purchase (either new or used) of your DTG printer has to be covered. The costs of blank shirts will have to be considered, either buying in bulk or purchasing on a per-order basis. Customer-supplied blank T-shirts could affect your overall pricing, as well. Do you get DTG ink in four or eight ounce containers, or by the liter? How about replacing DTG ink chips? The recommendation is to replace ink chips after 400 ml of use.

 Read more about basic info on having a small business at hand.

Keeping tabs on operating costs is a complicated task. Controlling them can be even more difficult. In most cases, buying DTG supplies in bulk helps reduce expenses. For a startup business, there may not be enough business to justify purchasing in bulk right away.

The good news is that as your direct to garment printer business grows, so will the ability to save by buying in bulk. Increased purchasing power is the best way to boost your bottom line, without an impact on your hourly rate.

Calculating DTG Ink Use

Another key calculation is amounts of DTG Ink (both CMYK and white) as well as the pre-treatment (necessary when using white ink on dark garments) you will use on each T-shirt you print. Understanding the actual amount of ink used for each print is a strong impact in the price of the finished product.

On average, when using recommended ink settings, a white or light shirt will spend about 0.4 to 1 gram of CMYK ink for each 9” x 10” design. Removing the negative space in the coverage area, this is about 70 percent of the total area (again, on average).

DTG Printer Ink Genuine DTG direct to garment printer inksSeveral factors can affect the output of your DTG printer, especially user-defined settings like auto maintenance settings, ink saturation levels, amount of regular maintenance, ink charges, purges and even relative humidity in the surrounding environment.

Understanding Pretreatment and White Ink

In most cases, white ink will be used in around a 3:1 relationship when using optimal white ink value settings. One quite steady value is the amount of pre-treatment necessary for the appropriate color output on dark garments. On average, a pre-treated garment will need roughly 13 grams of solution per 180 square inches of printed area.

Spraying pre-treatment by hand will result in higher usage than a pretreatment machine, which can be adjusted for perfect coverage and less waste.

Pretreatment machines can help you estimate exactly your direct to printer suppliesWhen you have all the relevant figures, you can evaluate a baseline cost on per unit or hourly basis. Use these numbers to adjust your wholesale or retail prices of digitally printed garments. No matter what results of your calculations, your final pricing will depend on the marketplace, and what prices will bear in your area.

For more information on how you can get the most of your DTG printer, visit or call 877-793-3278. If you are looking for more information about DTG Inks and Supplies you can go to and choose the Blog link.

Do you have a specific way you calculate the price for direct to garment printer product? Let us know in the comments below!


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