screen printing business

How To Start A Screen Printing Business?

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  • Starting a screen printing business will cost you around $10,000 for the printer, accompanying materials, and ads.
  • There are many funding options at your disposal to help you get started. For example, you could take out a loan or borrow funds from friends and family.
  • The screen printing business is super versatile and allows you to expand your item niches whenever you feel confident.
  • One of the main downfalls of the screen printing business is the large competition.

The screen printing business is one of the best business ideas for two reasons: it’s versatile and profitable. Truth be told, if there’s anything that sells today, that would be personalized items. From t-shirts and hoodies to cups and badges, the screen printing business opens endless possibilities to grow your business.

However, due to the many benefits that come with the screen printing business, the market gets crowded with many brands. Although you may find it difficult to get your foot in the door, you shouldn’t feel discouraged by the facts. Take it as a challenge to think outside the box, and outdo your expectations.

Interested in learning how to run a screen printing business yourself? Proceed below for info about the challenges, advantages and disadvantages.

What Is Screen Printing Business?

The screen printing business focuses on printing images or custom text on clothes. It can be t-shirts only or include other items.

The setup process is simple, and you will not need a lot of space to print. All you need for a start is a printer and a line of clothing so you can promote your business.

Once the business kicks off, you can include other niches such as ceramics and glass, electronic devices, alpha stencils – the list goes on. That’s the beauty of this business – it’s super versatile and applies in many industries.

Mind that to grow your business, you need to be fully capable of dealing with the expansion because it can be overwhelming and certainly demanding.

Is the Screen Printing Business Profitable?

According to recent research, the worth of the screen or custom printing business in 2023 is $9.3 billion. Unlike many other types of businesses that have become unprofitable lately, screen printing hasn’t seen a significant drop in demand.

Compared to the digital printing business that’s expected to grow to $34.3 billion by 2026, we can denote that the screen printing industry has more room for expansion. Yet, the competitors are still gigantic.

Rick Roth from Mirror Image explains that starting a screen printing business itself isn’t difficult, but maintaining it is a challenge. Namely, the biggest challenge is that the business has fixed expenses and fluctuating income.

The key to figuring this out is establishing a solid screen printing business plan. Also, you will have to invest in promotion of your business until you attract the audience. Then, you let the word do the marketing for you.

Apart from the statistics, below we prepared you with a full guide on everything you need to know to start your screen printing business.

Step-By-Step Guide to Start Screen Printing Business

Starting screen printing business requires a specific approach before you start your business. So, if you want to know how to start your own screen printing business from scratch, you will have to do the following:

Market Researching

Conducting Market Research

If you’ve already identified what products to focus on, it’s time to advance to market research. Exploring the current state of the market can give you a lot of insight about the competitors, target group, customer’s interest and behavior, etc.

Once you fully explore the options, you can start crafting your screen printing business plan. You can do the business plan on your own if you feel confident. However, it’s your first time. It’s better to ask for professional advice because you may overlook important steps or have difficulties predicting the future outcome.

Registering Business and Obtaining Necessary Licenses

Right after the business plan comes the legal paperwork. The first thing you need to do is register your business. When registering your business, consider the location.

Location is key because it affects your tax obligations, and there are many states in the US that offer tax advantages for business start-ups. Then, you will have to choose your business structure. That can be:

  • Sole Proprietorship: This is the usual structure where the owner is responsible for the taxes, debts, and other business liabilities. It’s also called an unincorporated business.
  • Partnership: This is a structure where two or more people share the responsibilities, and the income is divided per individual or partner and employees.
  • Corporation: With this business structure, the screen printing business is a legal entity consisting of owners that act as shareholders.
  • Limited Liability Company: Also known as LLC, this business structure is a combination of corporation and sole proprietorship/partnership. In this case, the owners and shareholders are free of liability regarding business debts or losses.
  • S-Corp: Unlike corporation, the S-corp is not a legal entity, and the income gets passed through to the shareholders.

Finally, the last step of the legal work is the license or the business permit. For the screen printing business, you need a business license, and a permit to work under the local government. You may need a license from your fire department or other agencies – depends on the location.

man counting money

Securing Funding for the Business

You cannot start a business without the necessary funds. Averagely speaking, for the screen printing business, you need about $5,000-$10,000 for the screen printer, about $500 for the advertising, and $1,000 for clothing. That being said, you need to start thinking about the ways you can secure funds.

The best option is self-funding, but if you don’t have anything aside, there’s no need to worry. You have a myriad of options to raise funds as you can see below:

  • Bank loan: This is the most common option where you can get a bank loan on your name and return it as you go. Mind that you need a solid credit history and working business plan for a bank to grant you the loan.
  • Loan/Investment from friends or family: Consider asking your loved ones to invest in your idea. It may be a good option for both parties.
  • Crowdfunding: This is a funding type where a party of investors each provides a small amount of funding for the business launch. It’s typically done online.
  • Government grants: There are many government grants that support small businesses. All you have to do is research the market.
  • Small Business Administration-guaranteed loans: The SBA can be a guarantor if you want a bank loan. With their support, you raise the chances of getting a bank loan.
  • Venture capital: This is recommended for businesses with high potential. Venture capitalists invest money in the name of a risk capital company.
  • Angel investors: Angel investment refers to investors willing to fund a business from the beginning in exchange for a share.

The options are abundant, and it depends on you how you wish to grow your business.

Setting up the Workspace 

As mentioned, you will need about $10,500 to get your printer, starter clothing, and some promo. Mind that some screen printing machines for small business owners may cost $10,000, but you can find them for $5,000 if you know where to look.

As for the workspace, it depends. Screen printing for small businesses doesn’t take too much space. A garage or free room in your house can be enough for you to begin. Later, if you want to expand the business, you can open a screen print shop.

Developing a Product Line and Marketing the Business

In entrepreneurship, there is one thing you need to keep in mind – always be original and two steps ahead of your competition. That will drive your business forward.

So, you need to develop a product line that’s unique and point out what makes your product worth buying. Nowadays, you have tons of options to promote your business online. From affiliate marketing and blogging to sponsored ads – the choice is yours.

Additionally, you need to research more about your target audience and always consider their feedback on social media.

Checklist of Equipment & Supplies Needed to Start Screen Print Business

What do you need to start a screenprinting business? Check out the list below for the essentials required when starting a screen printing shop:

  • Screen printing press: There are different types of printing press – manual, automatic, silk screening, etc. You can consult with an expert and make your choice right away.

silk screen

  • Screens and mesh: To get started, you‘ll need a small supply of screens, but mind that there are many types. Before buying, make sure that you research the types and get only the necessary ones.
  • Squeegees: The squeegee is what pushes the ink through the mesh screen. You can get a standard one or an eco-friendly one.
  • Ink and emulsion: There are different types of inks in printers – you should make your pick depending on your product line. An emulsion is a liquid that creates an ink-resistant frame around the design to protect it from getting ruined.
  • Dryers and flash cure units: These items are essential for protecting the printed-design items and keeping the print flawless after washes.
  • Cleaning supplies and chemicals: The cleaning supplies and the required chemicals are the final supplies you will need to complete your starter pack.

Pros And Cons Of Screen Printing Business

The screen printing business comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Below we mention some of the pros and cons to help you decide whether to bring the idea to life:


  • Low start-up costs – aside from a printer, some tools, and clothing, you don’t need anything else to get started
  • Versatile business – you can include more items in your product lines and grow your business
  • Does not require specific knowledge or skills
  • High demand and interested audience


  • Dense competition
  • Expensive equipment replacement and maintenance.

Small business screen printing is one of the smartest and most profitable ways to start an independent business in 2023. However, just like any other business, if you don’t create a plan for every case scenario or do not try to set yourself apart from the competition, it won’t be sustainable.

Latest Trends In Screen Printing Business

Screen printing businesses introduce new trends constantly. One of the current trends in the sector is water-based ink, an eco-friendly solution that’ll make sure your screen printing business remains sustainable.

Speaking of modernism, the screen printing business easily adopts digital technologies. You can create designs at a faster rate using a computer and then printing them onto pieces of clothing. Last but not least, personalized items are everywhere. From stencils and bags to glassware and silverware, the business simply applies everywhere.


The screen printing business is one of the most profitable ideas you can get in 2023. Personalized items are everywhere, and people are interested in personalized items – why not take advantage of it?

To start a screen printing business, you need roughly $10,000. Before that, you’ll have to gather all business-related paperwork concerned with founding your company and getting the required permits and licenses so you can run your business legally. Additionally, you need a solid business plan to ensure that you know where you’re headed with the business.

FAQs About Screen Printing Business

1) Is it good to start screen printing?

Yes. The screen printing business is super versatile. You can begin with printing one line of products and eventually include other items.

2) How much should I invest in a screen printing business?

To start a screen printing business with a single line of products (t-shirts, for example), a new printer, accompanying supplies and advertising costs, you need about $10,000.

3) What are the benefits of owning a screen printing business?

One of the main advantages of the screen printing business is the low-start up costs and versatility. You can always expand if you want to.

4) How much money can you make annually in a screen printing business?

The average annual profit from a screen printing business is $110,000.

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