How to Start a Screen Printing & Embroidery Business

Written by shanika chapman
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How to Start a Screen Printing & Embroidery Business
Preparing to apply ink to an image on the screen (Dirty black chuck:

Screen printing is the transferring of an image in ink from a print screen onto an object. Screen printing can be used to transfer business logos and original artwork, for example, on everything from T-shirts to golf balls. It's relatively easy to operate a screen printing and embroidery business (which would focus largely on working with fabrics) from home.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Liability insurance
  • Screen printing equipment
  • Supplies
  • Website
  • Business cards
  • Home or garage space
  • Shelves
  • Sales tax permit

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  1. 1

    Formulate a business plan. A home-based business doesn't need a lengthy plan; however, include everything involved in a screen-printing operation, such as the cost of the press, dryer, ink, screens, advertising, and sales tax permit. Know how to register your business and set up a website. In your plan, discuss your competition and how you will distinguish your business. Perhaps you can offer better prices, faster or friendlier service, better colours, or higher-quality designs. Creating original designs for clients is an excellent way to increase your value and attract more customers.

  2. 2

    Create a name for your business that is relevant and memorable. Consider incorporating or creating a limited liability company (LLC). Unlike a sole proprietorship, this type of arrangement can separate your business and personal assets, offering liability protection for your personal property. Register your business at your county clerk's office and contact the IRS to obtain your federal tax ID.

  3. 3

    Obtain your sales tax permit from your county clerk's office. You are required to collect sales tax on all sales made instate. Purchase at least £65,000 in liability insurance for your business.

  4. 4

    Create a workspace in your garage or house. You will need enough space for your equipment (about 300 square feet), plenty of outlets for all of your equipment, a ventilation system for the fumes produced by the ink and curing, a table or workstation for your press and good overhead lighting. Include shelves for supplies and a filing cabinet for receipts and tax documents.

  5. 5

    Purchase your equipment. For screen printing, buy a press with enough stations to accommodate multiple colours, a conveyor dryer, a flash unit and exposure unit as well as screens, ink, squeegees and screen-cleaning supplies. Presses start at about £130; however, a complete system that includes a dryer begins at about £650. SilkScreenBiz offers complete packages starting at £604. These manual systems are great for small businesses (producing about 24 shirts per hour). Visit Printa Systems to see a high-capacity set-up. Systems start at about £3,900. If you are going into embroidery as well, you will need an embroidery machine, backing, thread, bobbins and needles. Buy T-shirts, hats, bags and other items for printing samples of your work. Speak with a knowledgeable sales representative about the best products for your required production rate.

  6. 6

    Set up a website to show off and promote your work. Take quality photos of your best designs and display them prominently. Include an About page with a brief history of your business, your vision and goals, a Terms of Use page (if you intend to sell any of your work online) and a Returns page. Include a pricing list, discounts for buying in bulk and fundraiser rates (if you plan to participate in fundraisers). Once your website is complete, contact local companies, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, fire and police departments, athletic leagues and schools to discuss serving their custom printing needs. Visit your Chamber of Commerce to begin networking with other local businesses and market your screen printing services to them.

Tips and warnings

  • Review online tutorials about how to screen print and to learn new tricks or techniques.
  • Don't buy more equipment than necessary. You can always upgrade once your business expands.
  • Create original designs using vibrant, high-quality colours. Consider consigning your original work.

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