Please note that all of the information on this page regarding laser transfer printing costs, are estimates only. We cannot provide specific costings or profit figures, as everything depends on the images in question, the size of the images, how much you’re paying for garments and how much you’re charging.
There are three main elements to costing your garment and giftware decorating services – the cost of the laser transfer printing media, the cost of the toner, and the cost of the garment or giftware item.
There are a number of other factors including labour, electricity, the depreciation of your equipment, and of course things like rent and rates if you’re working from rented premises. If you want to work all of these things into the equation, you can do, although the common approach is to know your approximate costs of sale, add a factor for wastage and incidentals, and then simply to ensure that you’re adding a comfortable margin.
(SunAngel laser transfer printers are compatible with other laser transfer media, so if you’re using a different brand of laser transfer paper, please refer to your cost price per sheet of your media.)
So when calculating the media cost when you’re about to decorate a garment with one or more transfers, you need to simply allow for how much transfer media of either media, you will be using.
You should not only take into account the size of the transfer(s) however, but the entire area of media that will be used.
For example, if you’re using two thirds of an A4 sheet to create transfers for a single garment for a client, but you’re not printing anything else onto that final third of the sheet, then your actual cost in terms of transfer media, is a full A4 sheet.
For this reason, we highly recommend that you do your best to fill up the page with transfers, and this point is covered by one of the tips below.
So if you work out that you can fit, for example, 8 transfers to a sheet, and you’re pressing one onto the front and one onto the back of each garment, and you’re using UltraTex, then your cost per transfer for the media is 15p, so 30p per garment.
Or if you’re using UltraBrite, and you can fit only two transfers per sheet, and you’re pressing only one transfer onto each garment, then this would work out at 95p per garment, for the laser transfer paper.
So that’s the laser transfer paper costs, the next thing to work out is the toner cost.
Below is the printing costs data from SunAngel, which estimates the toner cost per print with each of the three SunAngel OKI laser transfer printers, from a full set of toners.
What you will see is that an even coverage of 5% per colour, 20% total coverage, the 33TW works out at just over 30p per A4 page, and the 63TW at just over 7p per page, and with the A3 83TW it’s roughly 16p for an A3 sheet, so about 8p per A4.
|Printing Costs SunAngel 33TW, 63TW and 83TW|
|Cost||Yield||Coverage||Per A4 Page|
|Cost||Yield||Coverage||Per A4 Page|
|Cost||Yield||Coverage||Per A3 Page|
What your actual coverage will be is very difficult to know, as it differs from one image to another, and it’s very unlikely that your prints will have even coverage across the cyan, magenta, yellow and white toners.
In order to ensure you’re running a profitable garment and giftware decoration business, we would recommend working out your costings based on trebling these figures, to work on a 60% average coverage. This doesn’t mean that this is what it will actually cost you, but being cautious when calculating your costs is a very good idea when it comes to ensuring your business is profitable.
So looking at the examples we did above, the smaller transfers on UltraTex, two to a garment, would cost just under 3p per transfer to print with the 63TW, 2 per garment, 6p for printing + 30p for the media, 36p per garment.
The A5 transfer, one to a garment, using UltraBrite, would cost 11p for the print, 95p for the laser transfer paper, so £1.06 in total per transfer.
At this point, it’s a good idea to add a % for wastage. At least in the beginning you’re likely to waste some transfers while you’re on the learning curve, so if you want to start off on the cautious side by adding 50%, or whatever you’re comfortable with. As you get to grips with laser transfer printing, you can reduce this figure to a more realistic 20% for example.
Then add in the cost of the Tshirt or hoodie, or whatever it is you’re decorating, and you have your total cost of sale.
Whether you add a figure per print for your fixed costs such as rate, rent and depreciation, or whether you just decide to ensure that your profit margin is high enough to cover these, is completely up to you.
The biggest consideration when it comes to your cost, for laser transfer printing, is the media.
So, the smaller each design, the more you can fit onto a transfer sheet, and your costs are reduced.
If you are creating your own designs, consider yield per sheet when working out your transfer sizes. For example, if knocking the size down just slightly means you can fit an extra row of transfers onto the sheet, then this would make a lot of sense – rather than printing each sheet with wasted space.
If you’re producing prints for clients, if your customer doesn’t request a particular size for their logo, work out the size based on maximum yield per A4 sheet – if you can get another transfer per sheet, or another row of transfers if they’re small logos, then reduce the size accordingly and ensure that your client is happy with the logo size prior to printing.
The client may request a larger sized logo, in which case you can advise them of the increased costs of doing so.
If you’re producing transfers which leave some empty space on the sheet, consider using this space for smaller images that you can keep for when required.
If you produce your own designs, then you can use this space for any of your own smaller designs. If you produce for clients, it makes sense to use this space for any smaller transfers for repeat customers – as transfers can be made and then used when required.
The reason this makes sense is that the transfer media is a lot more expensive than the toner, so it’s more costly to waste media than it is to waste toner.
With UltraBrite 4, for example, a 3.5 cm tall strip across the bottom of a sheet, roughly an 8th of an A4 sheet, is worth nearly 24p.
The price of printing this same area with a smaller transfer to be used later, working on the 22p per page calculation, is roughly 3 pence. So by printing it, you’re increasing the cost of this spare transfer media by 3p, to roughly 27p – in order to create a useable transfer.
Even if you only end up using a small percentage of these stockpiled tranfers, depending on your profit per garment, it’s very likely that this will result in less wastage (in terms of £) than if you simply threw away unused areas of transfer media.
UltraTex is analogous to the house wine, while UltraBrite 4 is the good stuff. Most people would usually opt for house, but there are certain occasions where only the good stuff will do, and it’s a similar thing when it comes to the two main SunAngel transfer papers.
UltraBrite 4 can produce some stunning prints, particularly with white graphics or images containing a lot of white. Generally speaking, transfers produced using UltraBrite 4 will be brighter (hence the name) than UltraTex and most other competing laser transfer media.
The handle of UltraBrite is also slightly different, and while this is a subjective thing, we feel that UltraBrite has a better handle than UltraTex and most other laser transfer media on the market.
Also, UltraBrite 4 is more forgiving than UltraTex (and other laser transfer paper on the market) when it comes to fine detail.
If you’re producing a transfer with a lot of small text or other fine detail, the reduced chance of wastage with UltraBrite 4 vs using UltraTex or other laser transfer paper for a fine detail design, would make it a prudent decision to reach for the UltraBrite 4.
Having said all this, not all transfer printing requires ultimate brightness, and the slight difference in handle may be noticeable in large photo prints for example, but on small graphics and logos with little background colour, it would be very difficult to notice any difference in handle – and not all designs contain small text or fine detail.
So given that UltraTex is 69p per sheet cheaper than UltraBrite 4, it makes sense to stock UltraTex too, and use it when applicable.
By the way, if you’re wondering why UltraBrite is more expensive than UltraTex, it’s the way this media has to be produced. UltraTex can be manufactured on a much more industrial scale, so it’s less expensive to produce, whereas it’s not possible to produce UltraBrite 4 in the same way, it’s a slower and more expensive process to make this kind of laser transfer media.
Keep your transfer paper stored in a safe place, away from kids, pets, cups of coffee…
Produce sample onto standard copy paper, when it comes to the client approving the design. If you can, just trim the paper proof down and place it on garment for demo purposes, before the order is confirmed.
Alternatively, produce a digital sample using one of the templates available online – Envato Elements for instance, is a great source of mockup templates for garments and other items.
If you do have to produce a printed sample, we always recommend only doing so once the order is confirmed, to obtain final approval prior to producing the rest of the garments.
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