How to Start a DTG Printing Business (6 Important Factors)

how to start a dtg printing business

Direct-to-garment printing is all the rave currently among the automatic digital printing techniques for clothing. With all the latest innovations in the garment printing industry, it is the best time to enter a custom t-shirt business. DTG printing is presently one of the most profitable apparel businesses; it is also quite fun to design and print your unique designs on clothes and accessories. Many artistic individuals who are into customization contemplate initiating it but are clueless about how to start a DTG printing business.

Launching a startup is not easy; the competition in the customization business is high. Since the initial investment for starting a direct-to-garment printing business is substantial, it is imperative to conduct thorough research and consider all the necessary, impactful factors. The article will explain how you can run a successful DTG printing business, acquire the essential skills and purchase the appropriate equipment. It will also specify a few critical things to be mindful of when starting a customization business. So let’s get started!

Factors to Consider Before Starting a DTG Printing Business

Before setting up a customization business and putting money into buying expensive equipment, you must consider a few factors. Here are the most significant ones.

Understand what Direct to Garment Printing is

Direct-to-garment printing is a modern textile printing process through which you can create designs on several fabric-based materials. If you look forward to entering a DTG printing business, learn the process in detail and acquire the skills to operate a DTG printer. Using a DTG printer is smooth and straightforward. Plenty of resource material is available online; you will get the hang of it after watching a few tutorials and running some test prints. It prints high-quality, long-lasting designs on fabrics quickly and efficiently utilizing aqueous inkjet technology and textile inks.

Finding an Appropriate Fabric Blank

Your business will flourish and attract more buyers if you create a quality product. Choose the design blank carefully and make sure to purchase high-quality fabric material. Making custom designs on t-shirts is one of the most profitable and versatile businesses. If you get a low-quality t-shirt, your print will not be as vibrant, and you won’t be able to please your customers. You can acquire good quality t-shirts at reasonable prices from different websites.

100% cotton t-shirts are the perfect fabric blank for DTG printing, but polyester t-shirts with 50% cotton content also work fine. Also, white and lighter colors are usually favorable for printing designs as the colors pop beautifully on them. There are numerous other objects that you can customize, such as mouse pads, pillowcases, sweatshirts, hoodies, socks, etc.

Pro tip: Get in touch with a manufacturer and ask if you can get a discount for bulk ordering. The answer is usually yes!

Pre-Print Treat Your Fabric Blank

You may not need to pre-print treat your shirts if they are white, but pre-print treatment is inevitable for darker colors, specifically black. It acts like a primer that makes the ink blend well with the fabric. Without pre-print treatment, the designs may look dull and lackluster. To pretreat your shirts, you will need a chemical solution and a heat press machine.

Select Your Niche

Think about what type of designs you want to print on the fabric blank. Figure out your target market and identify what appeals to them. There are several different niches to choose from; you can make custom t-shirts for men with their favorite cartoon characters, animal lovers, gamers, climate activists, tattoo lovers, music lovers, and many others. Offering a particular product will make your business stand out from others, and by knowing your target audience, you can apply effective marketing strategies to promote it. You can easily find an appropriate niche for your customization business with tools like Google trends, Reddit, Pinterest, etc.

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how to start a dtg printing business

Conduct Thorough Research

Doing your homework is critical before venturing into a new business. Identify the challenges you will have to deal with, when starting a DTG printing business. Look for the solutions. You can talk to some experienced customization business owners and ask them for their insights. Remember to ensure you have everything you need before printing designs and selling them. It involves licenses, permits, identifying and analyzing competitors, startup and operational costs, and consumer behavior. Knowing customer behavior and preferences helps create products that will please them and attract potential clients.

Identify Initial and Running Costs

Starting a DTG printing business can be costly. You need a substantial amount to buy the equipment, and then there is the cost of fabric, inks, pretreatment solution, etc. When you are determined to enter the customization business, calculate the costs and determine how much money you will need. Generally, DTG printers cost somewhere between ten to thirty thousand dollars. But if you opt for a high-end machine, the price can go as high as two hundred thousand dollars. The choice of printer depends on your budget and how much you are willing to spend. Heat press and pretreatment machines are also hefty investments. Both of these together can cost you around $5000.

Also, consider the cost of ink cartridges and fabric blanks. You will also need a handsome amount to set up your store and advertise your product. Choose cost-effective promotion and marketing options that do not cost an arm and a leg. Some other notable expenses are design software, curing equipment, packaging and shipping costs, equipment maintenance, etc. Remember that you are setting up a new business, so profit margins will be low, but do not compromise on quality and settle for cheap equipment and supplies to save money.

What do I Need to Start a DTG Printing Business?

You will require the following equipment and materials to start a DTG printing business.

A DTG Printer

how to start a dtg printing business

DTG printers are available in different price ranges. It is important to purchase one according to your budget and the size and scale of the business you intend to start. You can hire a third-party service that could print your designs for you,  but getting your own printer brings more flexibility, convenience, and control in the creation process. DTG printers are best for printing custom designs on t-shirts; the prints will be exceptional and will not fade over time. If you plan to sell on a small scale, aim to get a high-quality machine at an affordable price.

Many reputable brands offer feasible financing options that allow you to pay for the equipment in monthly installments. If you have the money and space, go for a high-end printer like Ricoh Ri 1000. The hrm Automatic A3 printing machine is an excellent choice for a small-scale startup with space and budget constraints.

A Heat Press

how to start a dtg printing business

After printing your design with the DTG printer, you will require a heat press to transfer it permanently onto the fabric. Make sure you get a robust, high-quality heat press. Heat presses are also available in different price ranges. From large commercial-grade heat press machines to small, home-use EasyPress by Cricut, there is a solution for everyone. It is advisable for people who have not used heat presses before to buy an easy-to-use, beginner-friendly heat press like Cricut EasyPress2. Look for features like non-stick surfaces, digital monitors for temperature, time and pressure, compact size, etc.

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Computer and Design Software

Understandably, when entering a customization business, you must be adept at creating eye-catching, unique designs. You will need a computer or laptop and design software like Photoshop, Canva, etc., to create, edit and optimize your shirt designs. Adobe Photoshop is the most prominent photo editing software with numerous valuable features. If, you do not know how to use it, you can hire a graphic designer for your business.

But we recommend our users not to spend on third-party services and acquire the knowledge and skillset themselves. A few weeks of learning and practice would make you proficient at using design softwares. Also, you would not have to spend a fortune as cheaper versions of these softwares are available. These offer the same value and customization features, so you will be good to go!


There are several reasons why starting a DTG printing business is a good idea. If, you are an artistic individual with innovative ideas and a gift for image designing, you will surely succeed. It is now possible to print anything on fabric, photos taken on a phone, downloaded from the internet, or the ones you design yourself. The possibilities are endless. The information given in this article will help you formulate and execute your DTG business plan.

Make sure to create something the people love and look forward to buying, and never compromise on the quality. Lastly, it is a creative process, so have fun, be passionate and innovative, and grow your business by offering something unique and authentic!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is a DTG printing business profitable?

A: Yes, it can be one of the most profitable businesses if you make unique, eye-catching designs, promote your product effectively, maintain product quality, and deliver prints timely.

Q: Can I start a DTG printing business from home?

A: Yes, you can set up your DTG printing business from home. Start small and try to acquire quality products at affordable prices. Many novice-friendly top-notch machines are available that offer advanced features and have a low learning curve. You can print shirts at home and sell them online through eBay.

Q: What skills do I need to learn to start a DTG printing business?

A: You must be proficient at using photo editing software like CorelDraw, Canva, Photoshop, etc., to create high-quality, vibrant images, logos, text, or patterns. You should also be able to use printing equipment like a DTG printer, heat press, and pretreatment machine.

Q: How do I decide pricing for my products?

A: You can charge a decent amount for your product when printing designs on fabric through DTG printing. A DTG printer produces vibrant images with sharp details and accurate colors, and the designs last!

You can keep the pricing different for different patterns; charge more for the large and complex ones and less for small and easy ones. If you keep your pricing right, you can make money through a DTG printing business.

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