Selling T Shirts for Profit

Joeychgo

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Joeychgo submitted a new Article:

Selling T Shirts for Profit

I tried to sell T-Shirts before and got killed on them. The reason was it was nearly impossible to get enough of the right sizes and number of shirts. I may buy too many or not have the sizes people wanted. I still have a few boxes of shirts in my basement.

Over the last year, I think I have it all figured out. I have done several orders and came out way ahead. I thought I would share my method.

STEP 1.

Put out a thread with a poll asking if the members want a shirt made. Here is an example...

http://www.forbbodiesonly.com/moparforum/showthread.php?t=22600

As you can see by the poll I have interest of around 75 shirts. I need 100 shirts to put the order in, but dont worry, we'll get to the 100 shirt minimum. Let the members chew on that until you get about 75+ shirts promised.

STEP 2.

Now, I use Standard Screenprinting. I use them for the following reasons. First, the stock shirt price gets you 1 color front and 2 color back. (or the other way around) The stock price includes all art, setup, shipping, everything. The stock price is also low. $3.99 for a white shirt if you order only 100. ($5.50 a shirt if you want colored shirts) The prices go down if you order more shirts.

Use whoever you want to print the shirts, and if you find someone better please let me know. But they have been the best / cheapest I have found. My contact there is Christopher James (chris@screenprinting4less.com) I make nothing if you use him, but I would appreciate it if you told him Joey from forabodiesonly.com sent you.

Ok, next... Have the shirt company draw you up a proof of your design.

STEP 3.

Now, you go to paypal. and there is a way to setup a buy it now button with the appropriate size options.

Next you create a page. for vBulletin 4 see this: http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/showthread.php?t=228112

On that page you put the proof image and the paypal button. Here is what my last one looks like (see attachement)

STEP 4.

PRICING: I add $10 to the price of the shirt (I round the price to the nearest dollar) + $4 for shipping per shirt. Larger size shirts get a sugcharge as the shirt company charges more for 2x, 3x, 4x and 5x shirts. Shipping in the will cost you between $2 and $4 per shirt depending where your shipping to. You can offer free shipping if they buy 3...

Read more about this article here...
 
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Hayek

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Nice guide and thanks for the specific contacts. For shipping, some might find it easier to use USPS flatrate envelopes (~$5 to ship any where in the US- international is more expensive at around $15 depending on which envelope you use).

Another thing you can always do, especially if you don't want to buy in bulk at once is use drop-shipping. Can be hard to find a good vendor in some niches, but I am sure there are some good, reliable ones for shirts (although I have not personally looked).
 
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Joeychgo

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You can barely fit 1 shirt into a USPS flatrate envelope. Let alone 2 or 3. They are 15x9 cardboard envelopes. The polybags are the way to go. Plus, 1 shirt shipped flat rate will cost you $4.95 to ship in the US and over $11 to ship to Canada.

Conversely, 1 shirt will cost you under $3.00 to ship to US and Canada using my method. Even 2 or 3 shirts go priority mail and cost about $5.

Drop shipping for T-Shirts tends to be much more expensive per shirt.

Notice the title of the article is Selling T SHirts for Profit -- I dont give my profit away to dropshippers or unecessary postage fees.
 

Hayek

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You can barely fit 1 shirt into a USPS flatrate envelope. Let alone 2 or 3. They are 15x9 cardboard envelopes. The polybags are the way to go. Plus, 1 shirt shipped flat rate will cost you $4.95 to ship in the US and over $11 to ship to Canada.
For one shirt it could work though- I wasn't talking about for 2-3 (but I assume most people just get one). I do a bit of ebaying myself, so I am aware of the sizes and have used them for various things before.

Conversely, 1 shirt will cost you under $3.00 to ship to US and Canada using my method. Even 2 or 3 shirts go priority mail and cost about $5.
I understand that, but time is money and your way takes more time (and more startup capital if you want to buy a label printer, etc.)

Drop shipping for T-Shirts tends to be much more expensive per shirt.

Notice the title of the article is Selling T SHirts for Profit -- I dont give my profit away to dropshippers or unecessary postage fees.
Again time is money :p - it could be a better alternative for some and it doesn't require the bulk upfront purchases. Even a dollar margin on each sale might be worth it for some people.
 
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Joeychgo

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For one shirt it could work though- I wasn't talking about for 2-3 (but I assume most people just get one). I do a bit of ebaying myself, so I am aware of the sizes and have used them for various things before.

But why spend the extra money on shipping?

I understand that, but time is money and your way takes more time (and more startup capital if you want to buy a label printer, etc.)

Uh, you still have to label your flat rate envelopes. You save zero time. You still have to put an address and postage on the envelopes. So you still have to have a label. You'll save enough doing it my way to buy the lable printer on the first order.

Again time is money :p - it could be a better alternative for some and it doesn't require the bulk upfront purchases. Even a dollar margin on each sale might be worth it for some people.

Uh, it wont be a dollar difference, it will be several dollars. Additionally the quality of the shirt will usually drop. Dropshippers use digital printing which, IMO, sucks as far as quality.

I've researched this intensively and done alot of trial and error. After sending out several thousand shirts I have a pretty good handle on how to do it the best way.

I know your trying to help Hayek - but if someone doesnt want to make money and save time they can go to cafepress and basically make nothing on shirts, but also have no work to do. This article is about making money, not saving time and effort.
 

Hayek

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With your way you have to weigh them, etc. and on the envelopes you just write down the address instead of labeling, etc.

As for making money- my point is that time is a measure of value as is money- for some it might make more sense to reduce the time even if it means less money because the net value they gain would be greater by doing so.

And by margin I mean net fiscal profit from each sale (not relative to using your method).
 
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Joeychgo

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With my way, paypal info is fed into the stamps.com program and the labels print. Your way means someone has to hand write each label. Try doing that a few hundred times. I can print several lables before you can hand write the first one.

It takes seconds to weight the package and the scale is free from stamps.com. Your way costs and extra $2 per US shipment and and and extra $8 for a Canada shipment.

This article is about how to MAKE MONEY - not save time. As I said before, if you want to provide t shirts with no time or effort, just go to cafepress and make a buck or two a shirt. You'll have absolutely zero work or time spent.

You keep arguing a point that is counter the whole intent of this article.
 

Adam H

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Drop shipping is the way forward, Find a merchandise provider on a drop ship basis, IMO a forum should not be handling its own stock.

I use a small business in a village near me, i send them the orders , they get the T-shirt / hoddy / shorts or what ever, print our custom design on to it and then they ship it directly to the customer.

I then pay them with the money that the custom paid for the product , Around a 40% markup most products including shipping etc which means i earn a tidy amount with no hassle of shipping , handling or anything other than taking the orders and forwarding them to this company.

If i had to spend time handling and shipping the products it would be absolutely pointless and not cost effective because there isnt enough orders from a forum to warrant a proper business and large amounts of orders, Drop shipping allows you to have a nice little life style business with very little effort.

( although my store is currently down for a revamp )
 
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Joeychgo

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Im amazed. I make $10-$11 per shirt I sell clear profit, and you guys want to tell me im doing too much work. It takes me about an afternoon / evening per shirt order to do all the packaging, labeling, etc. That, to you, is too much work?

OK, so my last order was 300 shirts. By your numbers, you would have made a 40% markup. My cost on that order was about $2000, including shipping and shirts and everything. So you would have made $800. I made around $3,000. My wife and I spent one evening packing shirts and labeling them. I think it's worth the offort for the extra $2200.

Wow. Okay. Whatever. I guess I should have titled the thread differently. Maybe "How to make a little money while being lazy" or something like that.

You guys amaze me.
 
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Adam H

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Im amazed. I make $10-$11 per shirt I sell clear profit, and you guys want to tell me im doing too much work. It takes me about an evening per shirt order to do all the packaging, labeling, etc. That to you is too much work?

Wow.


Dam right, Time is money and time is something that is a luxury for me, if i could squeeze another 24 hours into a day then that would be good lol, Lets say you get 20 orders per week, you just said that you spend an evening to deal with one order ? or was that a typo ? if it was a typo and for arguments sake you spend 20 mins on an order which i think would be fare thats around 7 hours "roughly" that you have spent ( thats an entire working day ) just to earn $80. ( which is 48 GBP ) . Why would i want to waste 7 hours for £48 when that time is spent earn a considerable amount more.

Obviously that is just an example and you may not be getting that many orders per week but it "might" happen and therefore the idea of dropshipping would be more cost effective not only for the time saved but also the profit earnt .
 

Joeychgo

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One order = 300+ shirts...

Try reading the article more closely.
 

Adam H

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Didnt see you edited your post until after i had posted, The 40% mark up i stated earns me more than $10 per product, ( 6 GBP ).

Obviously i cant compare on the price differences between different countries but i can say that me doing the way you are would not be cost effective for me in the slightest.
 

Adam H

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One order = 300+ shirts...

Try reading the article more closely.

Dont get smart because someone is challenging the way you work, i replied before you EDITED your post to add the remainder :hopeless:
 

Joeychgo

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Didnt see you edited your post until after i had posted, The 40% mark up i stated earns me more than $10 per product, ( 6 GBP ).

Obviously i cant compare on the price differences between different countries but i can say that me doing the way you are would not be cost effective for me in the slightest.

So your shirts cost you how much? $14? What do you sell them for? About $24?
 

Adam H

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So your shirts cost you how much? $14? What do you sell them for? About $24?

Depending on the product but for an example a hoddy would cost me £15 (24 USD ) for the product , printing on the product and the shipping of the product , I would then sell that for £28 - £30. (49 USD ) ( which is average for a good quality hoddy in the UK )

So that would be nearly a 50% markup of clear profit , no shipping costs , no time spent other than forwarding an email.

Obviously the gulf between the value of the currency here is a big factor and a reason why its probably hard for you to see my point of view.

If you are pushing out 300 shirts per order then it is more of a business rather than a small time T-shirt shop for forums ( which is my bad i "assumed" you were talking about since we are on a forum related board ) In which case if it is a full scale business i would still be looking into at least what the costs/savings would be if you were to dropship.
 

Joeychgo

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I've done orders as small as 150 and as large as 500.

See, I go for volume. I try to sell several different shirts per year. I do a limited run of a design, sell a few hundred, then come up with a different design. I also sell my shirts for less it seems. Consequently, people order many more shirts and I make alot more money.

The % markup is irrelevant. You dont depost a % into a bank, just cash. Part of my marketing is to offer a design for a short period of time so there is a sense of urgency. I have members that buy 2-3 shirts every time I do a design, because I keep them interested.

Believe me, what you think is a big waste of time in packaging and shipping, really isnt. It takes an evening to pack up a few hundred orders. 2 evenings at the most. Im talking 4-5 hours total.

And the product orders are but one small part of my forums' cash flow. I dont consider it a seperate business. Im willing to put in a little labor to be successful.
 

Adam H

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I've done orders as small as 150 and as large as 500.

See, I go for volume. I try to sell several different shirts per year. I do a limited run of a design, sell a few hundred, then come up with a different design. I also sell my shirts for less it seems. Consequently, people order many more shirts and I make alot more money.

The % markup is irrelevant. You dont depost a % into a bank, just cash. Part of my marketing is to offer a design for a short period of time so there is a sense of urgency. I have members that buy 2-3 shirts every time I do a design, because I keep them interested.

Believe me, what you think is a big waste of time in packaging and shipping, really isnt. It takes an evening to pack up a few hundred orders. 2 evenings at the most. Im talking 4-5 hours total.

And the product orders are but one small part of my forums' cash flow. I dont consider it a seperate business. Im willing to put in a little labor to be successful.

Thats fare enough, I merely stated that your way of doing it wasnt suitable for my personal life style and commented that there is other ways to do what you are achieving with out even touching the products for the same or more profit margins. There was never any criticism stating that you have to follow what i said, i was giving people a different side on your guide that there are other ways of doing it , especially if the time can be spent doing more productive , profitable things. Nothing against your guide one bit.
 

BHH

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Well for most forums/websites, the way Adam suggested would be ideal. There's really no point in spending the time to package and ship small orders. Though if I had 2k+ orders of shirts, then yea, I would probably do the shipping myself and make a little extra. For smaller sites, I think shirt s/h should be outsourced.
 

Hayek

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Joey, while you article is about making money, you neglect the full costs of the methods. The money to buy the shirt and ship it is part of the cost, but so is the TIME. For some people, the time might very well be worth more than the couple bucks more per shirt. There is a value to time just as there is for money.

To give a give example with random figures, let's say your method takes 15 min more and the person can do some other job for $60/hour. That means by spending 15 minutes more on your method and making a few more dollars than an easier method (like dropshipping or flatrate shipping), he loses $15 he could have made at his other job. His net profit between the two jobs is then lower than had he gone with dropshipping.
 

MuttMedia

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If I can chime in here, I might have something to add to your original post.

First off, if you are selling that much through Paypal, then you must already be paying taxes on the income you receive from selling the shirts. I suggest you get a resale permit from your state. This will allow you to approach screen-printers (or digital printers) and request "Contract Pricing". Even though instate customers will have to pay tax and you will have to forward that to the state, you will save quite a bit of money by doing this.

I'm not sure what experience you've had with digital printing (DTG, not Digital Transfers), but it is very good quality when done properly and will remove any type of minimums you have.

Also, if you have a number of items you want to sell, sites such as BigCartel will allow you to set-up a free store with a limited number of items.

Lastly, I suggest you add an inexpensive, but value-added item to the shirt, to give the order more value (decal, button, etc).

When it comes to shipping, you can currently print labels directly from Paypal using a standard printer. So I opt for the flat-rate shipping option, as stated above. You can fit two standard 6.1 oz, heavy-weight shirts in sizes Medium to Extra Large in a USPS Flat-rate envelope. Any size above that would only be one per envelope. This saves a ton of time, the cost of an envelope and allows your package to get to the buyer much quicker, at almost the same cost. This is assuming the buyer is paying shipping.

I won't speak to the drop-shipping option.

Eric :cool:
 
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