We can read your mind. If you’re researching your options for t-shirt screen printing, we already know you’re thinking of ways you can save money on your order.

We love saving money too. (Who doesn’t?) But we also know that not all bargains are good. You don’t want to sacrifice quality just to save a few bucks.

So how do you find a happy medium? Whether you’re ordering shirts for your clothing brand or your team members, there are ways to impress your people without breaking the bank.

Today, we’re excited to share 12 ways you can save money on screen printing without ending up in a custom apparel fiasco.

1. Choose a trustworthy manufacturer and communicate openly with them.

You might be thinking, “DUH!”

But you shouldn’t overlook this tip. The custom apparel partner you work with will determine the quality of your finished products and the fees you pay to produce the apparel.

That’s why it’s important to choose a screen printing partner you can rely on. A trustworthy manufacturer will be transparent about their prices and any potential hidden costs.

Three words: vibes don’t lie.

In an initial meeting with a potential custom apparel partner, take note of their levels of professionalism and customer service. A manufacturer that communicates well and cares about your brand will likely become a valuable partner in the long run.

If they’re not responsive to your questions or seem more interested in making a quick sale than providing quality service, they might not be the right partner for you.

Remember, if you feel like they’re trying to take advantage of you, run the other way… FAST!

Take time to read your manufacturer’s policies and disclaimers.

It’s crucial to understand what you’re agreeing to when you sign a contract with your manufacturer.

Be sure to ask about minimum order requirements, turnaround times, and any additional fees that may apply to your order.

Share all the details of your project with your manufacturer so they can give you an accurate quote.

The more information you can give them, the better. Make sure you understand each step in the production process and the costs associated with each.

Be sure to ask about any other fees that may apply to your order, such as artwork setup fees or shipping charges.

FYI: We offer free shipping to the USA for all our orders.

Get a price quote upfront and avoid hidden costs.

When you’re trying to save money on screen printing, the last thing you want is to be surprised by hidden fees.

Be sure to ask your potential custom apparel partner for a price quote upfront. This way, you’ll know exactly how much your order will cost and you can avoid any unwanted surprises.

At Scrappy Apparel, we believe in 100% transparency. We never charge hidden fees. When it comes to estimates, what you see is what you get!

And did we mention our quotes are free? Grab your free quote.

Order samples to test a manufacturer’s product quality before placing your custom apparel order.

Samples will give you a good idea of the quality of a manufacturer’s products.

If you’re not happy with the quality of the samples, it’s probably not worth placing an order with that company.

But if you fall in love with your samples, you can be confident that you’re ordering from a reputable manufacturer that will make your custom apparel dreams come true.

Order samples of our screen printed products.

Get quotes from multiple manufacturers.

When you’re trying to save money, it’s important to compare prices.

Get quotes from multiple screen printing manufacturers and review them.

Be sure to compare apples to apples, though. Confirm that each quote is for the same type of shirt, number of colors, print size, etc.

And remember… cheaper is not always better!

2. Make choices that will save you time and energy.

After all, time is money.

You might be wondering what this has to do with custom apparel.

Well, when you’re trying to save money on screen printing, it’s important to make choices that will protect your time and energy.

Have you ever waited on hold with a customer service rep. for hours only to be told that your products are on backorder?

Yeah, we’ve been there too.

That’s why we’ve made it our mission to be different.

At Scrappy Apparel, we pride ourselves on our customer service and quick turnaround times.

We know that your time is valuable, so we make it our priority to get your order right the first time and deliver it to you fast.

Additionally, if you choose a custom apparel partner that has its processes down pat, you’ll be able to place your orders quickly and easily.

At Scrappy Apparel, our Brand Building Process (BBP) makes ordering screen printed shirts a piece of cake. All you have to do is submit your project details, approve your pre-production layouts, and chill. We’ll deliver your order to your doorstep with speed and accuracy like you’ve never seen before.

Our seamless processes and stellar customer service will save you time that you can use to grow your brand, and that will do more than just save you money—it will actually make you money!

3. Do not make decisions based on price alone.

We know this sounds counterintuitive. After all, you are reading this article to learn how to save money on your screen printing order, right?

Here’s the thing. If you go for the cheapest option in every decision you make for your custom apparel order, chances are you’ll end up with a product that isn’t exactly what you want.

If you don’t get what you want, you may end up spending more money later on re-orders.

While price is important, it shouldn’t be the only deciding factor when making choices for your screen printing project. Your mindset should be to get the greatest value from your order, not necessarily the lowest price.

4. Invest in top-quality products.

This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to remember that when you’re trying to save money, you shouldn’t skimp on quality.

Investing in high-quality products may cost you a bit more upfront, but in the long run, it will save you money because you won’t have to replace your products as often.

And if you have your own custom apparel brand, product quality should be your top priority. Your customers will be wearing your shirts, so it’s your responsibility to ensure the products are made with care and attention to detail. You want your customers to recommend your brand to their friends, right?

Sacrificing quality will hurt your bottom line, not help it.

5. Focus on one or two unique designs at a time.

If you have a custom apparel brand, stocking an extensive inventory of designs can cost a lot of money upfront. Want to save some $$$? Focus on creating one or two apparel designs that you can sell repeatedly.

Sell limited edition items to make more sales with fewer designs.

Consider selling new designs as limited editions to create a sense of urgency and encourage people to buy your products before they’re gone forever!

Plus, selling limited edition items is a great way to boost sales without having to invest in new designs all the time.

Keep your corporate apparel simple.

If you are ordering custom t-shirts for your employees, give everyone the same exact shirt instead of creating unique designs for each department.

Not only will this save you money on the screen printing process, but it will also make ordering shirts simpler and less time-consuming.

order in bulk

6. Order in bulk, and check to see if your custom apparel partner offers price breaks for larger orders.

Usually, the more you order, the lower the price per shirt. (At least that’s how it works here at Scrappy Apparel.)

Be sure to ask about minimum order quantities (MOQs) before you commit to an order. Our MOQ for Retail Ready Screen Printing is only 50 shirts.

It’s better to order more shirts than you think you need the first time to avoid re-orders and additional fees.

7. Use fewer colors in your custom apparel.

The more colors you add to a design, the higher the price.

Don’t get us wrong—we love bright, vibrant designs. But if you want to add a pop of color while keeping costs low, choose a colorful shirt instead of adding multiple hues to the design itself.

If you want to keep your design simple, choose a one-color print.

A one-color print is a design that uses only one color of ink.

One-color prints are less expensive to produce than multi-color designs because they require fewer screens and less ink. This can actually make quite a statement, and it’s much more affordable than using all the colors in the rainbow.

Avoid designs with tiny, intricate details.

This tip goes hand-in-hand with the previous one.

The more details you have in your design, the more expensive it will be to produce.

To save money on screen printing, avoid designs that are too complex.

The minimalistic vibe is in right now, anyway.

Use negative space strategically as part of your design.

This is a great way to add interest to a design without adding unnecessary elements (and inflated screen printing costs).

Negative space is the empty space around and between the subjects of an image.

In the world of t-shirt design, using negative space can create some seriously cool effects—and it’s usually less expensive than adding more colors or details to a design.

Opt for a light-colored shirt.

Did you know that light-colored shirts are generally less expensive to produce than dark ones?

That’s because darker colors require more ink, which can end up costing you more money.

So if you’re looking to save money on your next order of custom t-shirts, consider choosing a light-colored shirt instead of a dark one.

8. Reduce the number of print locations.

If you want to add your custom design to the front AND back of a shirt, we can totally do that.

However, it will cost you more than printing your design in one location. The same goes for sleeve printing.

If you’re looking to reduce the cost of your screen printing order, consider limiting your design to one or two locations on the shirt instead of printing it all over.

9. Ask about the screen printing process and what type of inks will be used on your shirts.

Some inks are more expensive than others, so this is a good way to get an idea of what will affect the cost of your order.

At Scrappy Apparel, we use vibrant inks that produce long-lasting results, so you can be sure your custom t-shirts will look great wash after wash.

Our water-based inks are a great option if you’re looking for an eco-friendly printing method. They are less expensive than plastisol inks and produce a soft, comfortable print.

Alternatively, our plastisol inks are perfect for designs that require vibrant colors or need to withstand harsh conditions, like extreme heat or cold. Like we said, they do cost more than water-based inks, but they produce a durable print that will last for years.

If you’re not sure which type of ink is right for your custom t-shirt design, just ask! We would be more than happy to help you choose the best option for your needs.

10. Give your manufacturer plenty of time to turn around your order so you can avoid rush fees.

To avoid paying extra for your custom t-shirts, be sure to give your manufacturer plenty of time to produce your order.

They will likely charge a rush fee if you need your order fulfilled faster than their normal delivery times.

Our turnaround time for Retail Ready Screen Printing is 15 to 20 business days.

11. Ask if your manufacturer offers any special discounts.

At Scrappy Apparel, we offer discounts for active-duty military personnel, veterans, and nonprofits. Make sure to tell us if you qualify for one of those deals!

12. Sell your custom apparel.

This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning. If you sell your custom t-shirts, you can offset the cost of your order and maybe even make a profit.

You don’t even need to have a clothing brand to sell custom apparel. If you order screen printed t-shirts for your employees, you can buy extras and sell them at events or in your store.

If people love your brand, they’ll want to show their support by wearing your shirts!

Ready to get your screen printing estimate?

We’ll help you choose the best products and inks for your design and budget. Grab Your Free Quote