Direct-to-garment printers (DTG) have certainly made a name for themselves in the garment industry. Prior to the introduction of this technology, decorating garments was only achievable through manual processes like screen printing and heat applied vinyl transfers. But these methods can be creatively limiting due to high initial setup costs and the extra required resources, like screens or films. Now, with DTG, printers are able to use the latest technology to create highly customized graphics in various colors on a range of materials – without an excessive amount of manual labor.
Outsourcing to a fulfilment center may be in your best interest if you’re distributing large quantities of garments, but for small jobs, highly customized items and unique materials, you might run into trouble finding a supplier that will willingly take your order without jacking up the prices.
If you’re outsourcing your DTG printing needs, it might be time to explore other options, like printing in-house. With a DTG printer in your possession, you’re able to maintain full control of every order, especially when it comes to:
Smaller run print jobs are becoming more and more popular, especially with the on-demand ease of ordering items online. Small jobs, like printing 25 T-shirts, typically don’t get the attention they deserve. Suppliers want the big orders that will have a high ROI, and short-run requests usually interfere with finishing the large orders. It’s also cheaper to print 25 T-shirts in-house, since many suppliers have minimum order quantity requirements, setup costs and need to upcharge to make a profit.
And if you’re interested in testing out new styles or trends, like a four-color process and photo realistic prints, it’s unlikely that a third-party printer will be open to using their resources to experiment. With your own in-house DTG printer, you can easily create and test prototypes without wasting an entire batch of garments.
Having your DTG printer in-house means it’s always there when you need it – whether you use it twice a week for a few hours or every single day. And some models don’t require you to run the printer consistently to maintain the printer’s normal operating condition.
Plus, since you’re not waiting on another party to finish your order, you will be able to get your customers their products quickly. This can create a new business opportunity, allowing you to perform rush jobs for an additional fee and bringing in more profits for you.
DTG printers don’t require a lot of space to run, and they are relatively quiet machines. This makes them suitable for an office environment, since they won’t get in the way or distract employees. And since the inks are eco-friendly and water-based, there are no smells or harmful chemicals emitted when the printer is in use. This means your DTG printer can always be kept close to your operations. Moreover, the process is neat and clean, unlike messy screen printing.
The cost to finance the average DTG printer is usually well under $500 a month for a five-year loan or lease. And most contracts are lease-to-own, which means after those five years you will fully own the equipment — making those monthly payments a worthy investment. Ink prices will be variable, but there’s only a minimal amount required to maintain the printer. And since you’re running the show, you can always factor ink prices into what you charge your customers. The printers also won’t be a huge contributor to your utility costs, so surprises on your monthly bills won’t be an issue.
Having access to your own DTG printer can help your profits surge and give you full control over production. And there’s no need to worry about operating the equipment, as long as you partner with the right company. They should thoroughly train you on the machinery, including how to create files and add artwork, so that you’re completely comfortable using the printer.
If you can operate a desktop inkjet printer, a DTG machine should be no problem! It’s not a full-time job to run the machine, and you can easily multitask while your garments are printing. Since the monthly costs are often on the affordable side, many operators see an ROI after only a few orders.