I'd love one, but can't see a way to make it pay with our business plan. If T-Shirt printing is your thing you need one, if it's not you don't.
I reckoned 50 shirts per day minimum, preferably 100, to make it pay.
For £30K I'd rather have 3 more embroidery machines
To give you a benchmark to judge off of, we started with an Epson F-2000 and with a 3rd party RIP we produced about 18 shirts an hour and average consumable cost (ink etc) is about $2-3 a shirt. You can take it from there to decide if it's profitable for your business. If you are selling direct retail it can be very profitable even with the smaller machines, if you want to do wholesale/contract its a numbers game.
I have been looking for a DTG option too, I have been considering the Epson F2000 but I have been reading that it has a mandatory maintenance procedure that it comes with a cost of about 200.00 dlls a month wether you print or not, so I'm not liking this.
Now I'm about to see a demo of a new machine from a company that started like 2 years ago, it happens that it is local to me and I happen to know the owner (Justin Walker), he has been in the DTG business for many years as a fulfillment company, he has been using many brands, and one of the brands that he liked was Neoflex but more do to the RIP software "Kothari", the very same software he is using now on his machines, according to him this software is by far the best RIP out there, if you want to learn more about it go here
if you want to go big take a look at this
We entered the DTG market 2 years ago using Epson F2000s.
Epson changed the maintenance method they call a "tube wash" in January this year - it now cost about US$40 per month using their "Eco Tube Wash". The old method required flushing about $125 worth of white ink each month. The new method does not flush the ink. All in all this printer provides very nice output but is slow on dark garments. We manage about 18 shirts per hour dark (white ink), and 25 per hour light. BUT we get a premium since we print in about 1M colours and size the designs to fit the shirts. Deco allows us to manage the workflow and make printing one-off shirts viable. Without Deco we would not be able to do it efficiently.
In my opinion a automatic pre-treat machine is a must so add about $7-$8k to the bill to get started. With any DTG printer that does white you must run the machine regularly and be very very diligent on the maintenance. These are not desktop printers that you can leave sitting for days and days. The most we let our printers sit is 4 days over Christmas. The rest of the time we run isix days a week.
Last but not least. If you choose Epson - buy the extended warranty which will run you $4K more for two extra years for a total of three years. You MUST have the printer paid for by then, and enough in the bank to buy another to replace it because once it breaks it will be a toss away. Yep.... pretty much garbage. There is no trade-in market and you can only get parts from Epson... period.
At time and material a service call to replace a print-head can run you $3K to $5K depending on the parts and your location so warranty service is golden. Be very careful not to not underestimate the maintenance cost of any DTG printer.
The following user(s) said Thank You: giftswp, adamp
I have been using the M2 Dtg for over a year now, it prints great using Kothari rip Software which is simple to use. With a general clean down at night and a nozzle check each morning it has been great. I make sure we print at least 1 white print per day to make sure the old ink from the cartridges are pushed through. You can print 4 shirts at a time approx A4 or 2 A3. You defiantly need a pre treat machine, it saves a lot of time, mess and inconsistent prints when hand spraying, which I have had customers say before when doing larger runs
Yes, it is of very good value. My advice is you is, go for a DTG printer that is very specific to your business. Go online read the reviews from starters like you. Make a point of practically seeing the machine. Have it print the type of print that you will be doing. Remember custom t-shirt business is expanding now more than ever!!!!!!
I came across a Freejet 330TX and without a doubt it the best choice for any startup. Comparing it with other DTGs in the market, this printer is half the size, half the cost, and twice as good. It saves so much time on maintenance due to the fact that its printhead does not clog, so the printing process does not stop somewhere along the way.