7 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Screen Printing Business at Home
Avoid these common mistakes and learn to run a profitable screen printing business from home.
Starting a small screen printing business at home can be a dream come true or a total nightmare! With a small initial investment, a quality press, proper training, plenty of motivation, and a solid marketing plan, you can launch your own apparel decoration business and create a positive cash flow in your first month. To help you achieve your dream of owning a successful screen printing business at home, here are 7 mistakes to avoid:
1. Buying a screen printing press & package without understanding the learning curve.
It’s true that you can buy a screen printing package and make money screen printing t-shirts in your spare time, from home… however running a successful screen printing business requires more than finding the cheapest machine, press or equipment. The skills and knowledge required to be a successful screen printer can’t be learned in a day. Correctly preparing your screens for print is critical to the outcome. Managing artwork and the graphics process is essential. Knowing the relationship between which inks and which mesh counts to use for specific graphics on specific types of garments will have a direct effect on your printed image. The on-press alignment of your screens for a multi-colored print can be very tedious and challenging. There are hundreds of details to master in order to achieve professional results. Guessing won’t work!
2. Not having enough space for your screen printing equipment.
Operating professional screen printing equipment safely and efficiently requires space. You also need room to properly prepare, reclaim and clean screens. And don’t forget a dryer for properly curing your apparel. You will also need to sort, fold & pack the finished decorated apparel like t-shirts, hoodies, towels… etc. Commercial automatic presses will not fit in your spare bedroom, basement or even garage. Special electrical wiring, ventilation, air compressors and the safe disposal of waste are usually required when operating automatic commercial screen printing presses and dryers. Starting a home-based screen printing business will almost always mean you are a better candidate for a smaller manual press. Make sure you have a press that is easy to move. This is a big deal if you need to move your press often or take it someplace else for on demand or on-site printing?
3. Thinking you can screen print anything.
There are limitations to what you can screen print and what you can’t. Different fabrics and substrates require different formulations of ink and it can become a complex situation in a hurry. Sometimes the limitations are due to the amount of heat required to cure the ink on the fabric. In other cases there are limitations because the product can’t be directly screen printed – like a golf ball, pencils or water bottles. Some buyers will request one of something and ask “Can’t I just get one t-shirt with a picture of my cat on it?” No, is the correct answer. Even if it is technically possible – it’s NOT profitable.
4. Trying to be all things to all people.
Knowing who buys what you’re selling is a key to building a successful business. At the beginning of your business you will feel anxious and want to say yes to any job. Learn to say, “Maybe,” before you say, “Yes!” Some jobs were not meant for you or your home based business. Some jobs will be too difficult for you. It’s essential to find one or two niche markets to develop that are a good match for the size of your business. When thinking about your target audience, be as specific as possible. Examples of specific target markets that might be a good match for you include other local small business owners, sports teams, middle schools, high schools, restaurants, insurance agents, nurses… etc. The more specific you get with your niche, the easier it will be to come up with an effective marketing plan and sell your products.
5. Not proactively promoting your business (self-promotion).
One of the biggest challenges to achieving your dream of a successful home-based screen printing business will be finding and keeping customers. How will customers find you? You’ve got to market and advertise your business! What’s your story and why should a customer buy from you? Step one is a professionally designed logo. Your logo will be one of the first things people see. Your logo is one of the most important tools in your marketing tool box. You will use your logo EVERYWHERE. On business cards, letterhead, invoices, your website, any social media platforms... but don’t forget your own apparel! You need t-shirts, hoodies, bags, hats, can coolers, stickers and magnets just to name a few items that should all be branded with your logo and possibly a marketing message and graphic that helps you stand out. You need to be prepared everywhere you go with self-promotional item to give to a prospect. The power of a tangible promotional product can’t be beat.
6. Not delivering on time.
If you can’t deliver on time – this business isn’t for you. This is your customer’s biggest concern. They will need their screen printed t-shirts or promotional products for an event. This is an event driven business with important deadlines. You will not be able to keep customers if you can’t deliver on time.
7. Forgetting to focus on solving your customers marketing challenges.
Your customers will often be other local small business owners who have marketing and advertising challenges but can’t afford a big time advertising agency or professional marketing company. You will bring the most value to the table when you become a resource for your customers and help solve their marketing challenges. Help define what their challenge is and that will become your marketing objective. Find out who their target audience is, for example: internal employees, prospects, customers… etc. Once you know the objective and who the audience is, you can define a message and create a graphic to help tell the story. That graphical message, theme and logo is what you will print on a t-shirt, can cooler, bag, towel, hoodie… or a hundred other items. Solve their marketing problems and they will come back again and again!
Starting a screen printing business at home is easier and more affordable than ever before. How much less stress would you go through starting this business with experts guiding you at every step? You will avoid more than the 7 mistakes listed above and a lot of drama when you start your apparel decoration and promotional printing business with Printa Systems!
Who is Printa Systems?
Printa Systems has more than 24 years as the industry leader in complete, compact, home-based screen printing and promotional product printing presses. Whether you want to generate additional income on the side or you’d like to launch a full-time career as a screen printer, Printa Systems can help. We are the only company that still manufactures and assembles our presses in the USA and provides specialized new business start-up training. Each new business owners will attend Print School and spend up to four days in our factory and training center getting industry specific, expert guidance. They are trained on every aspect of screen printing and promotional product printing. Included in each complete business system is lifetime support, lifetime technical support and a lifetime warranty on the press. No other company can make that claim – none!
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