Whether you are looking for a side hustle to make some extra cash or you are dreaming of ditching your current job and starting your own business, opening up a screen-printing business could be a lucrative endeavor. Custom printed t-shirts, hoodies, bags, banners and other products are always in high demand and are frequently purchased by business owners, athletic teams, schools, churches and other organizations. People also purchase custom apparel for things like family reunions, mission trips, holiday photos and all sorts of other special events.
Running a screen-printing business is something that you can do full time or on the side. You can set up a physical storefront, or you can run your business entirely online. This type of business offers a lot of flexibility, so it’s possible to get it up and running in a way that fits your lifestyle. Getting started is easier than you might think, too, especially when you already understand the screen-printing process itself! Keep reading to discover how to start a screen-printing business.
Learn How to Screen Print
Before you can even think about launching a screen-printing business, it’s crucial to actually know how to screen print. The process isn’t difficult, but you should definitely receive some training on how to use the equipment and how to print designs that will last. Working in an established screen-printing shop is a great way to gain some experience before launching your own business. There are also numerous online resources that can teach you how to screen print.
Take Care of the Legal Requirements
When you’re starting a business, taking care of the legal requirements is always the first priority. You’ll need to register your business name, form your business type and file it with your secretary of state, obtain a business license and apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service. Keep in mind that you might need the EIN even if you plan on running the business on your own without hiring any employees.
Submit an application for a reseller’s permit for your state. This will allow you to buy from wholesale suppliers without paying sales tax. You will charge customers the appropriate sales tax when they purchase from you and pay it back to the state instead.
Check in with your local business licensing authorities to determine if you need to obtain any special permits for the machinery or chemical supplies that you will use in your business. It never hurts to speak with someone from the Small Business Administration when you are getting started. They can help point you in the right direction and ensure that you have all your bases covered legally before you make your first sale.
Find a Space for Your Business
If you plan on opening up a retail storefront, you’ll need to rent or lease a place to do business. A warehouse with a small office area where you can meet with customers works well if you plan on primarily doing custom screen printing. If you plan on selling your own designs at retail, consider a space with a showroom where customers can comfortably browse your creations.
If you will be running your business from home, make sure there is a room or area that can be used for storage and screen printing. Your business should have a dedicated space in your home, so be sure to plan ahead and make room.
Invest in Supplies
Purchase or lease the equipment you’ll need to run your business. At a minimum, you will need a decent computer with graphic design software, a press, a drying rack, a curing unit, a dryer, an industrial sink, screens, squeegees and scrub brushes. If you are planning on starting a full-time screen-printing business, you may need to purchase multiples of the same pieces of equipment to ensure that you can keep up with orders.
You will also need to purchase the chemical supplies used in screen printing, including solvents, emulsion, haze and yellowing remover and spot cleaner. Make sure you have a safe place to store these chemicals, too, to avoid accidents.
Start stocking up on wholesale blank apparel. T-shirts and hooded sweatshirts are must-have items. Consider investing in a wide range of colors and styles to ensure that you have something that will appeal to everyone. If your funds are limited, apply for trade credit with vendors so that you can pay them after your customers buy from you. This will allow you to buy wholesale t-shirts in bulk (along with other blank apparel) without breaking the bank.
Come Up with a Marketing Strategy
Once you have all of the supplies and equipment to run your business, you need to start marketing it to your target audience. Create an online presence for your brand and start promoting your services to businesses, schools and other organizations in your area. There are all sorts of ways to market a screen printing business. Spend some time researching the options and choose the methods that are most appropriate for you.
Starting your own screen-printing business is a great way to earn some extra cash on the side or even replace your full-time income. This service is always in demand, and if you create high-quality custom garments and accessories at reasonable prices, you should have absolutely no trouble finding customers.
When you’re getting started, make sure you take care of all of the legal requirements and have a firm understanding of how to use screen printing equipment to create vibrant, lasting prints. Stock up on plenty of supplies prior to launching your business to ensure that you’ll have what you need on hand when orders start rolling in. When you’re ready to go, kick your marketing plan into gear. Before you know it, you will be receiving orders for your services and turning a profit. It may take some time and patience to get started, but once everything is up and running, screen printing can be very lucrative!
Brenda Kimble is a writer and stay-at-home mother of two daughters and a son, plus their beagle named Duke! In her free time, she loves crafting, spending time with her family, and writing for companies such as The Adair Group. She also enjoys strolling the streets of her quaint neighborhood in Austin, Texas and finding the trendiest hot spots for fashion, food, and live music.