If your budget is small and you’re looking to build your own t-shirt empire on a shoestring budget, then this checklist will point you to the various tools, tips and resources to get you started – on a shoestring budget!
Hi, my name is Cartess Ross and I’ve made a ton of money printing t-shirts with a t-shirt heat press machine. If you haven’t seen this machine in action, go to my site at: www.TshirtRiches.com It’ll amaze you how this simple machine allows you to make screen print quality shirts in as little as 8 seconds.
Let’s begin with the very basic stuff you’ll need to get started:
- Heat Press Machine – you can purchase these new or used. If you’re tight for cash, you can find great deals on websites like Craigslist.com, Amazon.com and Ebay. In many cases, you can find machines for as little as $200-$400 on Craigslist.com. I’d recommend you start with a 16×20 if it’s within your budget. If not, a 15×15 machine will work fine for MOST people. If you wish to go larger, let your business pay for it and upgrade to a 16×20 when the money starts coming in.
- Blank T-shirts - there are a variety of places you can get blank tees and other types of apparel and accessories. TSC Apparel is one such source that sells wholesale tees, golf shirts, caps, hoodies, canvas, totes and messenger bags, aprons and more. You’ll need to have a sales tax id to purchase wholesale from the various vendors, but they’re free to get. You don’t have to start out with 5,000 tees. Start where you’re at. Some of you will have access to more funds than others, but don’t go into debt trying to purchase huge amounts of inventory. Grow into this thing — it may take you longer, but you’ll get there.
- Getting Your Designs Created – many people think they can’t get into the t-shirt business because they can’t draw… Not true. There are graphic artists who will take your design ideas and create them for you. I use a service where graphic designers from all around the world will bid to do your designs – works similar to an auction. You post a description of what you’re wanting done and the designers will compete to win your project. They’ll post the fee they’ll charge you, along with previous work they’ve done to convince you they can do the job. You’ll be surprised at the costs you can get quality work done for. The site I use is Freelancer at www.Freelancer.com
- Getting Your Designs Onto Transfer Paper – The transfer paper you purchase at the store and run through your home printer is PURE CRAP. The designs will crack, smear and fade. They will not last long at all. We use screen printed transfers – which give you a screen print quality look and feel. They’ll last many years and the quality is superb. To learn more about how this work, visit our site to watch the free modules outlining the process at www.TshirtRiches.com
Here’s a listing of a few other things you’ll need to get started…
- Business Plan – it’s hard to plan your trip if you don’t know where to go. You can find a bunch of templates online for free. I’m currently putting one together for our members.
- Domain Name – Ideally, if you plan on selling on the Internet, you’ll need a dot-com name. Best place to go for that is at www.GoDaddy.com
- Website – No one will take you serious without a website. In addition, it’s a great way to get exposure for your brand. Our t-shirt start-up course will teach you how to put your own website together without having to pay graphic designers thousands of dollars.
- Business License – Each city or town may require you to have a business license. You’ll still need one if you’re working from home. They’re fairly inexpensive and worth having. I’d encourage you to get a PO BOX and use that as your mailing address. Once you get a business license, you’ll start receiving a bunch of mail from other businesses soliciting you for their services. If you don’t want excess mail showing up in your mailbox, get a PO BOX.
- Legal Structure – There are a bunch of benefits to incorporating your business… Protecting your personal assets from liability is one of them. Opening up business checking accounts without your social security number is another (if your credit sucks and you haven’t been able to open up a checking account, you can usually open one up under your ‘corporation’ without any problem). We talk about the different types of legal structures available in our T-shirt Startup Course.
- Sales Tax ID – If you wish to purchase wholesale tees, bags, apparel, you’ll need a sales tax id number. Many vendors won’t deal with you without one. It’s free and you can generally download a form at your state’s department of revenue website.
- Choosing a Location – If you’re just getting started, working from the kitchen table is a great option. Before moving into an office/warehouse, I started and worked from both my bedroom night stand and kitchen table. Let the business pay for itself – grow into a location; don’t go into debt trying to get started.
- Getting Financing – Here’s the hard and cold truth. Banks aren’t going to loan you money unless your business is already making some money. Yea – you’ll hear people talk about the Small Business Administration putting up huge amounts of cash. But for most of you, and I’m talking about brand new start-ups, getting money from these organizations isn’t going to be a reality. You’ll just have to get funding the old fashioned way by saving money, getting a part-time job, putting it on a credit card or borrowing from friends and family (if your business plan is solid, family and friends can be a great source of funding). If your credit is good and you have a great relationship with your local credit union, it’s very likely they’ll loan you money. In fact, if you don’t have an account at a local credit union, go get one NOW. You’ll have far better chances getting money from them than you would from the big ‘corporate’ banks.
- Marketing & Advertising – If no one knows you exist, you won’t sell any tees. You must market and advertise if you expect to be successful. There’s too much to talk about here, but take a look at our online t-shirt start-up course for more information about marketing and advertising your new t-shirt business.
I have plenty of more, but I’m going to stop here… Feel free to add to the list by posting your comments below…
Take a look at our online course if you’re interested in jumpstarting the growth of your new or existing t-shirt business — click here!