The DTG ink used can be the most expensive part of a DTG print, which is why so many people are interested in buying in bulk. However, it is critical to understand how using sealed cartridges or bulk ink can affect your profitability.
Bulk ink is an excellent way to reduce ink costs when printing DTG. Before deciding on a direct-to-garment printer for your company, find out whether it uses sealed cartridges or a bulk ink system.
What You Should Understand About Bulk Ink?
The best part about buying in bulk is how much money you can save. Because you are purchasing in bulk, your overall ink cost is reduced. However, if your new printer starts with bulk ink and your production isn’t up to par, you could lose money.
Bulk ink is ideal for printing multiple hours per day. When this type of DTG ink system is used and not printed consistently, it can lead to unnecessary maintenance, which can cost more than you were saving.
We will examine DTG ink costs in terms of:
- How much does printing the design cost?
2. How profitable it is to print a specific number of shirts with that design.
3. How do screen printing and various DTG printers stack up against each other?
Then, based on your business model, we’ll talk about which type of printing is best for you and how quickly you can achieve ROI with both screen printing and DTG.
What we discovered is summarized as follows:
For all designs, screen printing costs decrease dramatically as quantity increases, whereas DTG ink costs increase linearly with quantity.
The Epson F2100 with genuine ink costs the most, followed by the Brother GTX and Epson F2100 with compatible ink.
Brother GTX prints faster than Epson F2100.
You can finance your second DTG printer within a year if you save money on ink by using Epson-compatible inks.
Depending on your business model, both DTG and screen printing may be appropriate for you.
White and Black T-shirt Ink Cost
Variable Costs for DTG Printing
The distinction is made when printing on a dark garment, which requires a white ink under base to make the colors pop, versus a light garment, which does not.
When we consider print times and ink costs (and, potentially costs of the garment itself).
Print a white shirt doesn’t need white ink. The cost is about 0.28$, while print a black shirt needs white ink and the cost is 1.62$.
Remember, the difference in ink cost is in the white ink layer!
Tactics of Adjusting Operation Form
Production of White Custom T-Shirts
It took 57 seconds to print.
30 seconds for unloading/reloading
Total cycle time per shirt: 1:27
However, setting your pretreatment will take 45 seconds, as will curing your print + heat press load/unload times.
The pretreatment can be done while another shirt is on the press, so it doesn’t take long, but the load/unload of the heat press and two 45-second press times do.
So, 45 x 2 = 90, and 15 seconds for loading/unloading the heat press = 1:45 adjusted cycle time.
This works out to 42-45 minutes of labor to make 24 shirts. We’ll assume $20 per hour for labor, taxes, and so on.
In this scenario, your costs will be divided into labor and ink costs for 24 white shirts.
Ink costs $6.72 when multiplied by 28.
42-45 minutes labor at $200 per hour = $14-15
$21-22 total, or slightly less than $1 per shirt
Production of Black Custom T-Shirts
Because of the increased print time on the black shirts, we no longer have to worry about our heat press becoming the limiting factor, so no additional time is required for pretreatment setting with the press.
In this scenario, your costs will be divided into labor and ink costs for 24 black shirts.
Ink costs $1.68 x 24 = $38.88.
Labor time: 1:12-1:15 $20/hr = $24-25
Total cost is approximately $63-64 – or about $2.65 per shirt.
The net cost of using black shirts instead of white shirts is about $1.75 per shirt, plus the opportunity cost of having the equipment tied up for an extra half hour.
You would make $72 less if you quoted your customer a fixed price for black shirts but offered a $3 discount for light or white shirts.
However, your labor and ink costs would be reduced by $42.
So you lost money, but you also saved your printer 30 minutes by printing the white/light colored shirts.
It is now up to you to decide whether having that extra time on the machine is worth the $30 loss in profit.
It’s time to sharpen your pencil and start thinking about where you need to be to make enough money while remaining competitive