Heat Transfer Printing Business

Heat transfer printing is the process of printing images (in reverse) onto a sheet of transfer paper and then using heat (via a heat press) applied to the printed paper to transfer the images to the desired item. There are a few different types of technologies used with heat transfer printing but the equipment will mostly be identical. In general, the most important advantage of the heat transfer business is that you can print small quantities (even 1) in an economical manner, something that is not possible with other printing technologies which require plate or positive making and other requirements such as in screen-printing.

Flat heat press used to print T-shirts and other flat surfaces. Credit : Scrud123

Different kinds of heat transfer printing technology
Heat transfer printing can be used with various printing methods including:
Inkjet printing
Laser printing
Sublimation printing
Screen printing
Vinyl heat transfer printing

Skills required for this business
Design – You need to be able to use design software to not only design but lay out the design to be printed.
You need to know how to use a printer and you need to know how to operate a heat press.

Equipment & materials needed for heat transfer printing
The basic equipment needed to heat transfer print is a printer (and ink), transfer paper and heat press, this applies to all the technologies above, however, while there are printable heat transfer vinyl, most transfer vinyl will not be printed but will instead be cut into shapes and applied using a heat press.

Mug heat press

What can be printed using heat transfer printing
Heat transfer printing is often used to make personalised gifts and promotional items and can be used to print various items including:
T-shirts
Mugs
Plates
Caps
Balls
Mousepads
Puzzles
And many more

As you can see from above the most popular surfaces to print is textiles (cotton and polyester) and ceramics.

Cap heat press

Heat Press Business
We know that to operate this business, the equipment we need is a computer and printer. The consumable materials are ink, transfer paper and heat tape. Each page that we print will use a sheet of transfer paper, some ink and a piece of heat tape and has to be factored in your pricing.

Budgeting & Forecasting
Starting out if your goal is to make R1000 a day in revenue. Your budgeting tells you it will cost you R10 to print an image, R5 for the transfer paper and R5 for the ink. In other words, you either have to print 20 transfers a day @ R50 each or 10 transfers at R100 each.

Now you ask yourself
Will people pay R50 a transfer?
Will they pay R100 a transfer?

Your research tell you R100 is too much.

Ask yourself: Will your advertising & marketing bring 20 transfers from your Target Market to your Sales Channel?
If so, If you are working 8 hours a day, that means you have to make 2-3 transfers an hour or spend 20-30 minutes on a transfer
Do you have the skills to do this? and if so how many more can you handle?