Screen Printing: Outsourcing vs. In-House

Screen Printing: Outsourcing vs. In-House
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  • Post published:Jun 30, 2022
  • Reading time:10 mins read

Screen printing is a popular choice because of its durability and high-quality results. Screen printing can be done in-house or by an outside contractor, and both methods have their pros and cons. If you’re considering outsourcing your screen printing work, here are some things to keep in mind:

The cost of outsourcing screen printing work is complex

The cost of outsourcing screen printing work is complex. A lot depends on the size of your print job, as well as its complexity and color count. It’s also important to note that you’ll be paying for materials and labor at both ends, so you’ll want to factor in shipping costs if the item is being printed elsewhere.

In addition, different printers have different minimums for orders—and some may charge extra for rush jobs (that can add up quickly). In general, if you’re working with a small local shop or freelancer who uses their own equipment and doesn’t have to buy supplies in bulk, they’re going to be able to do more custom designs at lower prices than big national chains or online companies doing huge volume production runs 24/7/365.

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Outsourcing screen printing work requires a contractor to do the work and a courier to ship it between you and the contractor

To get your screen printing work outsourced, you need to find a contractor who can do the work and a courier to ship it between you and the contractor. If this sounds complicated, that’s because it is! To make sure your project goes smoothly, keep these things in mind:

  • Find a reliable contractor. It’s important to find someone who has experience with screen printing so that they can meet deadlines and produce quality work.
  • Find an affordable courier service. Some couriers charge more for shipping than others; make sure you’re getting the best price possible!

Screen printing contractors usually charge by the color of the design

If you’re printing a design, the cost of screen printing is determined by how many colors are in your design. The more colors, the higher the cost. For example, if you want to print your business logo on a t-shirt and it has all of your company branding colors (red, blue, and white), then that single logo will be counted as three separate colors: red, blue, and white. This means your final price for screen printing will be much higher than if it was just one color (black).

The same goes for black-and-white designs. They will count as two different colors (black and white) because both are required to make up a fully printed design.

Screen printing contractors ofter charge setup fees and material costs

Setting up a screen printing job is a very labor-intensive process. Screen printers need to make sure that each screen is properly aligned and in register with the previous one. This can be difficult if you’re trying to create an image comprised of many different colors. Each color has its own registration mark. The printer needs to align each one meticulously. In addition, they’ll have to use special tools and wear specialized clothing (usually including an air mask) while working with the chemicals involved in creating screens.

Rates vary based on location and material used. Some contractors may charge set-up fees instead of charging by screen or by print run. These fees are generally charged per color used within a design instead of being part of a flat rate for any given project. So if you have an intricate design that uses five colors but only wants one shirt made from it (rather than 500 shirts), expect those costs to go up accordingly!

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If you want to print in-house, you will also have to purchase a screen printer, ink, and supplies

Screen printers are not easy or cheap to run or maintain. They require professional training and experience. Which means that someone else needs to know how they work so they can properly service your business when an issue arises. That person could be yourself or it could be someone else entirely! Either way, the fact remains that screen printing is dangerous if not handled correctly. If you don’t know what you’re doing with your equipment then mistakes can happen quickly. Mistakes can easily lead up to larger problems down the line (like expensive repairs). This is why many people choose to outsource their printing needs. They want nothing more than peace of mind knowing everything will go smoothly.

You'll need employees to staff your on-site printer, as well as an area where employees can access materials

The first thing to consider is where you’ll store all of your supplies. You need to make sure that there’s enough room on-site for storing ink and other printing materials, as well as the screens themselves. Assembling a print shop isn’t like putting together a few pieces of IKEA furniture. It takes time and effort, so it’s important to plan space accordingly.

The second thing to consider is how employees will access these materials in order to get their jobs done efficiently. If an employee has to go over on lunch break or after work hours in order just get started at their station, then you’re missing out on valuable production time that could be used elsewhere (like adding more staff).

You will have greater control over your aesthetic if you decide to do the printing in-house

If you decide to print in-house, you will have greater control over the aesthetic of your designs. You can choose the type of ink you use, as well as their thickness. You can also select a screen size that suits your needs and work with a printing press that best suits your workflow. Finally, if you’re creating custom artwork for your garments, using an in-house screen print setup gives you complete freedom over how many colors are used in each design.

Screen printing in-house can take up more space than you might expect

It can be a tough decision to make, but ultimately, the choice will depend on your business’s needs and resources. In-house screen printing offers the most control over the quality. If you have an existing facility for printing shirts or other garments, then running your own equipment may not be a problem. If you don’t have any space set aside for manufacturing and storage, it might prove difficult to find somewhere to put everything without disrupting other operations in your building.

After reading this, if this sounds like something that could be an issue for you, outsourcing might make more sense. Both in terms of time and money spent on production costs. If outsourcing isn’t possible due to budget constraints, then hiring an expert contractor should be considered. This could be your best move instead of purchasing all new machinery and tools on your own.

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It is important to consider the pros and cons of outsourcing screen printing work before making a final decision

Before you make a decision, it’s important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of outsourcing screen printing work. While outsourcing might seem like a quick way to save money, it can cost more than in-house labor if you are not careful. You’ll also need to factor in shipping costs as well as any additional expenses involved with purchasing extra materials or equipment that aren’t already available at your location.

When evaluating quality, remember that not all employees are equally skilled at their jobs—and those who are may be less willing to put in long hours when they’re doing something they don’t enjoy. When choosing outsourcing services based on price alone, you might end up with poor results because it is difficult for workers who have little interest in doing their job well because of low pay rates or other factors such as lack of motivation (e.g., boredom). 


It’s important to know the difference between printing your shirts in-house and outsourcing. While both methods have their pros and cons, if you find yourself with a large number of orders or just don’t have the time or space to do it yourself then outsourcing may be the best option for you. With that said, having an experienced team on hand at all times will always make things easier!

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