contract screen printing

Printing small orders in-house can be a probable and exciting venture. But what happens when you start to take on larger jobs? When it comes to bulk orders, a contract screen printer may be required in order to pump out a large number of shirts while retaining its high quality.

And when the price is right, it can become a smart move for your company.

If you are ready to take on larger orders, you may find yourself faced with a few questions regarding the costs and benefits of contract screen printing. This guide has been written to help you decide whether going with a contract screen printer is better for your business.

What is the Cost of a Contract Screen Printer?

Contract screen printing prices vary depending on the number of colors your artwork requires, as well as what type of ink you would like the screen printer to use. Most screen printers use one screen per color, so the more colors you use, the more screens are required.

A professional screen printer will require time to prepare the screens in a way that will ensure that it accurately exposes the pre-loaded artwork onto the screen, which is then transferred onto the shirt material. After that is done, the screen needs to be cleaned before it can print on another shirt. Not only do the printers require one screen per color, but they also require that each color be separated. Typically, screens print one color at a time.

screen printing machine
What a typical screen printing machine may look like – Credit: ST

You may see a contract screen printer charge a “Setup Fee”, which is the cost of the labor described above. It takes people and materials to properly set up the equipment and colors, which most printers will typically charge a flat rate for.

Some screen printers can waive the Setup Fee, or they will omit it altogether. Watch out, though, because if a printer does not charge a Setup Fee, they may charge more per unit or up front.

Each screen printer will have different costs for their services. You should expect to see anywhere from $1.00 for a single, one-color shirt, to $10 for a single, 10-color shirt. Of course, as the quantity of your bulk order goes up, you will be charged less per piece. 600 one-color shirts may only be $0.39 per shirt, rather than $1.00. 3000 10-color shirts can cost around $0.80 per shirt. Again, the prices may vary slightly depending on which contractor you talk to.

How is Screen Printing Better for You?

If you are in the business of printing large shirt orders, a contract screen printer can make the job more convenient and stress-free. Professional screen printing services are built to support bulk jobs, and you are typically able to print up to 10 colors or more.

Speaking with a local contract screen printer can be an exciting next step for your company. Most printers are willing to speak with you and negotiate a contract that can benefit you both. They can help you provide quick turnaround for your large orders, as well as process your artwork and deliver accurate results. There’s only a 1-2% chance of a misprint, even when orders reach the thousands.

This may be a better choice for you if your in-house printing services are not able to handle the rate at which your business is growing.

Before making your next move, consider if contract screen printing is the right idea for your company’s printing needs. Evaluate your operating costs and market demand in order to determine how a negotiation with a third-party printer can save you time and money in the long run.

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