Screen printing involves pushing different color inks through ink-blocking mesh and stencils to create messages, logos, and designs on caps, t-shirts, hats, signs, water bottles, posters, gym bags, and more. T-shirt printing is by far the most popular and common activity in the screen printing shop, and for very good reason.
A good screen printing company can be very profitable right out of the gate, with worker salaries and employer annual sales at very impressive numbers.
Today we tackle the question about how much money can you expect to make working at or owning a screen printing shop.
How Much Does an Average Worker in a Screen Printing Shop Earn?
The screen printer is the individual who operates the printing machinery and tools. This job requires more than pushing ink through a mesh screen and on to different items, this job combines the ability to follow then execute needs of the customer, artistic ability, and an eye for graphic design. That being said, once the screen printer has been working in the shop for a few weeks, they tend to fall into the routine quite easily. Whether operating a manual one-color printing press or overseeing the operations of a completely automated eight-station four-color printing press, according to Payscale.com the average salary of a screen printer ranges from $12.06 - $24.73 per hour. In this industry, experience is everything, so printers who have years experience can command a higher screen printer annual salary. This job also may offer workers commissions and bonuses based on printing output that can vary depending on the amount of work in that screen printing shop. Average screen printer salaries range from $19,537 - $36,173 annually before bonuses.
How Much Does an Average Owner of a Screen Printing Shop Make a Year?
Based on the numbers in the average US-based screen printing shop, this number of course does fluctuate depending on how busy the shop is with work. While a printing shop in a busy metropolis might make more annually than a local screen printing business in a more rural location, the breakdown of the profits tends to be along the same lines. According to industry sources, the average t-shirt shop makes $100,000 annually, with more work equaling higher earnings. The average print shop can make 72-180 printed shirts per hour utilizing an automatic press that can do one, two, or six color imprints. The average price for selling a one color printed tee ranges from $5.73 - $9.09, higher as you add more colors. The average order of 72 custom t-shirts with six-colors takes an hour to prep, configure, and print, bringing in $573.00 while only costing the shop $169.00 in materials and wages. That means a busy print shop could earn $304 in profits each hour. While operating expenses must be considered, even a couple of these jobs each day and you can easily surpass $100,000 in a year.
One of the reasons that the experience of the screen printer plays a huge role in the profits of the overall shop is because time is money. The best screen printers know which tools improve work flow while promoting a safer work environment. These workers know how to periodically check the screen printing equipment to ensure registration, color, and ink viscosity is correct. The more experienced workers increase overall production and profits in the shop by being able to run, troubleshoot, and adjust their machinery to run at optimal speeds and provide high-quality work. The higher paid screen printers allow work to move through the shop more efficiently, increasing the shops bottom line and their ability to earn commissions and bonuses in their salary.
- Jay Thompson reporting for American Screen Printing Association.
ASPA Staff and others