5 Screen Printing Tips That Save Time and Money

Running a screen-printing business is a lot of hard work. It can be rather expensive too. Whether you operate a small-scale business out of your garage or basement, or you are running a much larger company, figuring out effective ways to save time and money is always a wise idea.

Cutting costs and saving time without cutting corners can be tricky, though. Getting things done faster and at a lower price is a good thing, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of sacrificing quality and failing to meet your customer’s expectations.

Regardless of how small or large your business may be, the following screen-printing tips will save you time and money without lowering the quality that your customers have come to expect.

Reuse Supplies When Possible

If you are throwing away ink or T-shirts that didn’t turn out quite as you had hoped, you are essentially throwing away money. Instead of disposing of your unused ink at the end of the day, try reclaiming as much as possible. Shirts that would typically go in the trash can be repurposed as rags or used for testing when you are working on a new design. Instead of recycling or throwing away the packages that your supplies are shipped in, you can reuse them to ship orders to your customers.

Reduce Your Supply Consumption

There are many ways in which you can lower your supply consumption without sacrificing the quality of your finished products. And in doing so, you can save yourself a considerable amount of money. For example, if you use aerosol spray adhesive, you are likely wasting a bit of the product every time you use it. Water-based adhesives that you brushed on directly tend to have less waste, so switching over could save you some serious cash in the long run.

When you receive chemicals from your supplier, they may not be ready for use straight out of the bottle—many products needing diluting before use. Unfortunately, a lot of printers skip that step to save time. While diluting does take a bit of extra time, doing so means that you aren’t wasting your chemicals. It also takes longer for diluted products to run out, so you’ll make up for the lost time by not having to place orders as frequently, wait for them to arrive at your shop, etc.

Buy in Bulk

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If you aren’t already buying your supplies in bulk, you are wasting a lot of time and money. Even if your operation is small, buying from wholesalers will save you a decent chunk of change and prevent you from needing to order supplies as frequently. If you have a limited amount of space, think about which supplies you use most often and stock up on them. Stocking up on ink is always a smart idea.

Stocking up on wholesale T-shirts and apparel is wise too. When purchased in quantities of 12 or more, the per piece cost of garments drops significantly. And the more you buy, the more you save. In addition to saving you a considerable amount of money, buying in larger quantities means you won’t have to waste time placing recurring orders or run out trying to find supplies at the last minute. When shopping, choose high-quality T-shirts for screen printing to avoid the expense of having to replace garments that do not meet customer expectations.

Plan Orders in Advance

When you receive an order from a customer, plan it out in advance rather than just diving in. Planning can save you time, money, and frustration. Make sure you know the customer’s exact deadline and plan to finish a bit earlier just in case you run into any problems. If the customer is placing a last-minute order, consider adding a rush fee.

Determine what supplies you will need, and make sure you have them on hand before starting, especially for large orders. Keep in mind that customers tend to underorder too. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to have a bit more supplies than you need just in case your customer decides they want more.


Set Restrictions

As a business owner, you likely want to do whatever it takes to meet your customers’ needs and make them happy. That is a great philosophy to have, but if you don’t set some reasonable restrictions, your willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure customer satisfaction could end up costing you.

Depending on the size of your business, you may want to set minimum order quantities or limit the use of customer-supplied artwork. You might also want to limit how many places can be printed on a garment or charge significantly more if customers need to have specifically hard-to-print areas.


Setting reasonable restrictions isn’t about refusing to do what your customers want. It is about ensuring that you don’t get stuck with jobs that don’t make you a decent profit. It also protects you from taking on projects that take more time than they are worth.

As the owner of a screen-printing business, there are a lot of opportunities to make money. There are also, however, a lot of ways to lose money. From undercharging on projects that take too long to wasting time sourcing materials or failing to buy in wholesale quantities, there are a lot of little mistakes that can cost you big time.

Whether you have been running a business for several years or you are starting a new screen printing business, use the tips above to start saving both time and money in your screen-printing business. Even a small step in the right direction is one that is well worth taking!

Brenda Kimble

Brenda Kimble is a remote Studyclerk writer and stay-at-home mother of two daughters and a son, plus their beagle named Duke! She loves blogging, crafting, and spending time with her family. She also enjoys strolling the streets of her quaint neighborhood in Austin, Texas and finding the trendiest hotspots for fashion, food, and live music.

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