Have you ever started working in your t-shirt business at 9 a.m. and literally not stopped till 10 p.m.? Owning your decorated-apparel business can be a great full-time or side hustle, but it’s way too easy to get sucked into a black hole of working way too much. Instead of printing yourself to the bone, it’s time to think about how you can work smarter, not harder, to achieve success in your t-shirt business. We’ve got 10 tips that will help you spend less time working in your business – and still make more money.
How to Work Smarter in Your Decorated T-Shirt Business
Check out our best tips for making your t-shirt business run even smoother. See if you can choose one or more to start improving your work habits in the next few months in your business.
1. Get Paid Upfront
The bottom line: Collect 100% of the money for your work upfront. Think about how Amazon and other sites work. Buyers are 100% used to (and OK with) paying for their product before it ships. If you’re selling t-shirts via your website or another platform, you’re probably already operating under this model, and that’s great. However, if you’re taking orders from an individual for bridal shower t-shirts or from a business that needs 15 shirts for a special staffed event, you should always require 100% upfront payment. Here’s why: You’re not a bank. Your customers should pay you first for their blanks, supplies and the labor hours it’ll take you to make their shirts. This way, they’re way less likely to cancel the order and leave you holding the bill.
2. Set the Right Profit Margins for Profit
It’s so important to consider everything that goes into creating your decorated apparel when you set your prices and profit margins. List out your material costs, creative design time, and supplies, along with your monthly business overhead, labor hours, and other miscellaneous expenses. Your pricing should comfortably cover your expenses, and provide you with a healthy profit.
Our best advice here? First, don’t try to compete with other vendors by racing to offer the lowest price. Buyers who want the lowest price often don’t stay loyal to any brand. If you’re unsure what profit percentage you should aim for, it’s well worth talking to an accountant or CPA to figure out the right profit margin for your unique business. Then, you can confidently adjust your pricing accordingly.
3. Cross-Train Any Employees or Helpers
A big business lesson learned from the COVID-19 pandemic? Missing employees could immediately hurt a company’s productivity or profitability. That’s one reason why it’s important to cross-train any employees or contract helpers. If an employee – or one of their kids or other family members – gets sick, they don’t have to feel guilty about calling out. And you can keep your production schedule intact.
If you’re just starting out or you’re a solopreneur, most likely you work alone. However, at some point, you may decide to hire part-time or contract help. That’s why it’s important to know that worker morale goes up when they know another person can pick up their tasks, if there’s an issue. Plus, when more than one person in your business can do the same work, you can take on more jobs and you can also take more time off to enjoy life.