T-shirts – How much does it cost? And why?

by on Feb 09, 2013


A guide to pricing your T-shirts!

How much does this T-shirt cost? I’ve heard this question a lot, and many people ask me this very simple on the outside question.

I’m going to put it out there, Yes each of us shirt lovers, designers, printers love T-shirts, if money wasn’t an option, i know that I’d still be doing the same thing today…Creating T-Shirts.

We have a love for it, we all do, but love can only take you so far, and it won’t pay the rent no matter how hard you try.

So we need to make a living from our love of T-shirts. But how much can we make? We’ll that depends on many things, but what we can control is what goes into creating a T-shirt, and how to make sure these costs are not taking up our hard earned profit. I’ll also go into a few rules you could follow when just starting out to help along the way.

Now i have to assume two things while writing this, that you are about to start creating T-shirts, or you already are and your looking for tips on lower the cost of creating your brand.

First things first – We are not all billionaire’s that buy 100,000 shirts a week to sell worldwide, so getting china made shirts for a nickel each isn’t in our range.


Rule one: Go Local!

Chances are that finding local T-shirt suppliers to build your shirt range isn’t that hard of a task, Google comes to mind,simply googling your local area and “t-shirt suppliers” in the search will surely find you some good information.

But it also means that you could lower your shipping costs,picking up blank shirts and taking them to your printer(or doing them yourself) could save you hundreds in shipping costs already.

Rule two: Save money by researching your market!

This is a mistake i made when starting my own clothing brand. At the time, i was kinda……lets say “biggish” so my T-shirt sizes was also kinda biggish.So my thinking was is”Well if I’m a Extra Large….Then so is everyone else”.

Don’t fall into that, you need to look at your market. For Example: If your selling women’s fitness shirts,  Are you more likely to buy bigger and bigger sizes, or smaller sizes to suit the type of people your hoping to sell to?

Having XXXX Large T-shirts to sell to fitness women probably is a waste of money. Most blank T-shirt makers charge more for higher sizes, and if that size isn’t likely to be your best selling size, should you stick with it anyway?

As your market grows, this will have to be a rule to take another look at, and get feed back from your customer base, but for starters its a good way to save your cash.

So. Hopefully you’ve already picked up a tip of two already, so lets get into pricing of a T-shirt.

First thing you’ll need to look at:

What kinda of shirt am i looking for? Slim fit, surfy type? V-neck? button up? dyed,is it made out of candy?

It’s important to know what will suit your designs and what your market is into. Shirts can range anywhere from a few bucks each, all the way up to $10-15 & and even $20 each.

It depends on what and who your selling to. Are you selling shirts with little logos on them at a rock concert for a friends band? Would you need $20 T-shirts then?

Or are you trying to sell to high end retail stores that sell Jeans for $500 a pair?

Second thing you’ll need to look at:

Printing cost. Are you going to out source printing to the many many many companies in the USA & around the world that print clothing.

Or are you handy with these things and going to print from your home or small warehouse?

Out Sourcing is the easier and cheaper way in the short/medium term. You wont have to be paying to buy new printing stock (inks, toners, screens, digital screen, and tons more printing equipment)

And you wont have to slave over them for hours on end,which in turn will save you time (time is Money!)

Look around at different companies, What are there set up charges? how much does it cost per shirt? what are there minimums for printing? All really good questions to be asking.

Look for what your willing to pay for and go with that. Getting online free quotes are also a really great way to compare there business and how much this is all going to cost.

Last but not Least….Packaging, Shipping, Storage

Packaging is a great way for clothing brands to be different then others, as a customer simply getting T-Shirts in a boring old postage bag isn’t that great, we all know the feeling of getting a package in the mail that we have been waiting for.

So wouldn’t that feeling be even better when they opened it and found that they got some free flyers, or a sticker or two, maybe a free discount code to go along with? It’s nothing huge, but it tells them that they are special,and that you care enough about your customers that you can take the time and in most cases money just to show a little thank you.

Make sure you get your shipping costs right. You don’t want to charge $5.00 for shipping and when you go to post your T-shirts out, you get to the post office and its $6.55 each to post. Yes its only an extra $1.55, but that’s YOUR extra $1.55 and it will quickly add up as your sell more T-shirts. If you where to post 15 shirts a week with a loss of $1.55 just on postage that’s close to $24! and in a year thats over $1200!

And Storage. Are you storing your shirts at home? do you have room? or will you have to pay for storage? Try to make room in your home for shirts, keep them away from cold or wet places and keep them away from electricity ports.

This will save you money on storage costs,and possible damages from fire or water.

So Lets make a quick Cost Break Down on Pricing a Shirt with the advice above:

So You’ve find your supplier, he charges you $5 a shirt. You’ll need about 30 Shirts for your next big design. = $150

Then you’ve found a good printer to use and you print with them = $4.65 per shirt Plus $150 Setup = $289.50

With a total of $448.50. Divide your total by the number of shirts you have, in this case- 30 Shirts = $14.95 Per shirt.

So you’ll want to make sure your selling your T-shirts for ATLEAST $14.95 each in this Case above. I’d aim for a number you think is fair and what you think your product is worth, But also ask your customers about your prices and see if they feel they are getting what they pay for.


Okay! Thats the simple break down of pricing your clothing, with a few tips and advice thrown in there. I know this isn’t the shortest article you’ve read today but its worth reading up on, at the end of the day, if you want to make a living out of creating really great shirts, then you need to understand how to price your T-shirts for profit. As I said at the start…..Its a simple on the outside question.

Dale Thompson – Founded DNRClothing.

Written by

Owner of DNR Clothing, One of Australia's Best MMA/Lifestyle clothing brands. Been in the Clothing Industry for over 4 years.

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