How Much Should I Charge for Sublimation Shirts

How Much Should I Charge for Sublimation Shirts?

Starting a t-shirt side business using sublimation printing?

Awesome! Sublimation lets you make super colorful designs that last. But before you get started, there’s one big question you need to figure out, how much should you charge?

Pricing your sublimation shirts right is so important. The price is too high, and no one will buy them. The price is too low, and you won’t make any money. Finding that sweet spot in the middle isn’t always easy.

In this article, we’ll walk you through ‘how much should I charge for sublimation shirts’. We’ll look at sample pricing tiers based on design complexity.

By the end, you’ll have a much better sense of smart pricing strategies for your new sublimation t-shirt side hustle.

Let’s get started!

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How Much Should I Charge for Sublimation Shirts?

Selling sublimation shirts can make good money if you price them right. Sublimation uses heat to print colorful designs into shirt fibers. The prints last a long time without cracking or fading.

How Much Should I Charge for Sublimation Shirts

You need to charge enough to cover your costs and make a profit. But don’t price too high or people won’t buy many shirts.

Read the below points to set the best pricing for your sublimation shirts:

1. Affordable Tier: $15-$20

For simple, single-color, or small designs, $15-$20 per shirt is an affordable and attractive price point. At this entry-level cost, you can keep your expenses low while still netting about $5 profit per shirt after all materials and operating expenses.

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This pricing tier works well when you’re just starting and want to sell small batches of shirts at local fairs, festivals, or even online to more price-conscious customers.

Offering sublimation shirts at $15-$20 allows you to gauge demand and fine-tune processes while slowly building scale and efficiency.

With an affordable tier, you’ll likely be using basic 100% polyester t-shirts that cost you $3-$5 per shirt. Pair them with simple one-color prints or small logos.

2. Medium Tier: $20-$30

Once you’ve established processes and built some customer loyalty, consider moving into the $20-$30 medium-tier pricing range.

Here you can start experimenting with more complex and artistic prints, mixing colors, adding effects, and more. The higher margins also allow you to upgrade to softer, lightweight tri-blend shirts or brand-name poly-cotton blends.

In the $20-$30 range, you can keep cricket customers happy while appealing to boutiques, gift shops, and style-focused individual customers willing to pay a bit more for quality and expressive designs.

Expand your offerings with more sizes, colors, and print locations like sleeves or back graphics. Just be sure to showcase quality craftsmanship and creativity so customers feel they get their money’s worth.

  • Tip: Make sure your branding reflects this medium tier as well with a focus on artistry, self-expression, and responding to customer requests.

3. Premium Tier: $30+

On the higher end for truly custom, artistic, photographic, or full-bleed prints, prices of $30 per shirt or beyond are viable.

Get creative by incorporating foil effects, 3D puff elements, glitter HTV, reflective prints, or simulated stitching into striking designs across the entire garment surface.

You can also justify premium pricing by sourcing high-end performance fabrics like moisture-wicking polyester or antibacterial bamboo blends.

sublimation on shirts

These advanced shirts feel amazing, hold color beautifully, and lend a luxury feel that fashion-forward customers go crazy for. At $30+, you’ll want to sell these exclusive shirts primarily from your specialized online shop.

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Premium pricing requires exceptional attention to detail, customer service, and showcasing why your shirts are worth the higher cost. But profit potential is very lucrative, especially for special occasions or corporate custom orders.

Factors to Keep in Mind While Pricing Sublimation Shirts

Being aware of these elements allows you to calculate accurate pricing that sustains a viable home-based business.

1. Blank Shirt Costs

The type and quality of the blank shirts you choose are a primary cost driver when pricing sublimation apparel.

Basic, inexpensive polyester shirts from wholesale suppliers can run as low as $2-$3 per shirt when ordering in bulk. However, cheaper blanks may be thinner, more transparent, and lack softness.


Premium performance shirts from brand names like Under Armour, Bella + Canvas, and Next Level range from $5-$8+ per shirt.

While more expensive, the fabric quality, durability, and comfort may justify a higher perceived value to customers. Consider testing different shirt tiers to find the ideal balance of cost versus quality and profitability.

2. Sublimation Supplies

The amount of sublimation ink and transfer paper used per print is another factor impacting overall costs. On average, expect to invest around $0.10 – $0.30 in supplies per print depending on size and ink coverage.

Buying sublimation ink and transfer paper in bulk yields the most savings, as does using reputable third-party ink brands instead of printer-branded inks.

Carefully profiling and calibrating your printer’s color management settings minimizes wasted ink from oversaturation or bleeding.

3. Operating Expenses

Beyond material costs, operating expenses for rent, utilities, equipment maintenance, taxes, and other administrative costs need to be built into your pricing strategy.

For example, factor around $0.05 per shirt for electricity usage running the heat press and printer for each order.

Also accounts for the depreciation of expensive equipment like heat presses, printers, and computers over the lifespan of each item.

4. Labor

Your time investment is another critical pricing factor often underestimated by new business owners. Carefully calculate the hands-on labor required for steps like:

Know your minimum acceptable hourly rate, tally your hours, and factor labor costs into each order to avoid undervaluing your time. Price high enough to pay yourself fairly as you scale up production.

5. Profit Goals

Of course, a primary pricing objective is building in ample profit on each order and per shirt printed. Look to markup base blank shirt costs by at least 100%, aiming for 200-300% margins whenever possible.

Building in at least $5+ profit per tee ensures excellent income potential. The more shirts you print of one design, the lower your costs become thanks to economies of scale.

Offer incentives like slight discounts or free shipping for large-volume orders to maximize per-shirt profits.

  • Pro Tip: Use a reputable online t-shirt pricing calculator to experiment with material costs, labor estimates, volumes, and profit goals to quickly generate accurate real-world pricing breakdowns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few frequently asked questions to deepen your understanding:

What is the typical markup percentage for sublimation shirts?

200-300% markup is common in the sublimation shirt business. For example, if a shirt costs you $5 to make, selling it for $15-$20 allows for a healthy 200-300% profit margin.

Can you make good money selling sublimation shirts?

Yes, sublimation can be quite lucrative, especially with creative designs, striking prints, and effective marketing.
Profit per shirt typically ranges from $5-$15. Selling just 10 shirts per day at $10 profit equals $500/month extra income. Scale up for bigger profits.

How much does sublimation printing cost per square inch?

On average, sublimation costs $0.15 to $0.30 per square inch depending on print complexity. A multi-color 8”x10” print costs $12-$24. Price decreases slightly with larger volume orders.

Wrapping Up

How you price your sublimation shirts involves finding the right balance between perceived value, profit goals, and keeping customers happy.

While blank shirts, inks, and equipment do cost money, efficient processes allow for strong profits even at lower price points.

Aim to build loyalty through exceptional quality, outstanding service, and reasonable prices rather than extracting maximum profits from each sale.

Done right, the volume will come, scaling profits over time. Be sure to reevaluate pricing tiers periodically to adapt to the market.

With some savvy calculations and testing to find the optimal formula, sublimation t-shirts can provide excellent income potential for creative entrepreneurs. Just focus on efficiency and smart value-driven pricing strategies.

Bella Williams

I'm Bella, a mom of 3 cuties. With 7 years of sublimation experience, my blog focuses on all things sublimation and printing. Join me for tips, tutorials, and inspiration to enhance your sublimation journey. Let's create and thrive together!
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