by Joe Whiteside
There is big money to be made by selling pre-printed heat transfer design. When I say pre-printed I am referring to heat transfer paper that already has a design printed on it. This is perfect if you are an artist and have unique designs that others may be interested in.
I have made a lot of money in the past doing this. I had some very unique designs that were based off of a particular style of t-shirt that was popular at the time. I was very busy printing the shirts myself but I realized there was an easier and more profitable way to sell my designs.
Instead of printing shirts I decided to just print my designs on heat transfer paper and sell the designs to people who wanted to make money printing their own shirts. At the time I was creating my designs on 11″ x 17″ heat transfer paper for dark fabrics. I had about $1.50 worth of transfer paper and ink. I sold my design for $5 a piece if a customer just wanted one! If they purchased in quantity their cost could go as low as $3.50 per heat transfer! What a profit margin!
Listen, this is about as close as you can get to printing money and not going to Federal Prison for it! A customer orders, you print. That simple.
But how did I convince customers they were getting a deal by purchasing my $5 heat transfers? I broke it down to them like this: You take a $5 heat transfer design, heat transfer it onto a $2 t-shirt and you have a product that easily retails for $15-$20. But if they buy in quantity they can enjoy greater profit margins. It’s a win-win situation both for me and the customer. Both of us are making money.
If you are thinking about trying this idea, let me tell you how I got started and how my system was set up. Well it all starts with a good design. I had a collection of over 100 designs to start with. I had an Epson 1280 inkjet printer that was a pretty good workhorse machine for the beginning graphic artist. I set-up an eBay store to showcase my designs along with an ecommerce site. When a customer placed an order all I had to do was simply find the image they wanted in my pc and print off the quantity they wanted on my Epson.
One thing I quickly learned was I was going to need another printer! The single Epson 1280 just couldn’t print fast enough so I purchased another unit. And then another. And another! I had 4 Epson 1280’s spitting out my designs to fill customer orders. I had to step it up a notch. I took some of my profits and invested in an Epson 4000. This was a $2500 printer at the time but oh boy did it get the job done.
One thing I would worry about was someone copying my designs. Here is how I tried to combat that. By printing my designs on 11″ x 17″ heat transfer paper it made it hard for someone to just scan my image and then print their own. Another thing that kept customers from stealing my designs was the fact that they were printed on heat transfer paper. Heat transfer paper is not the best substrate to scan an image off of and here’s why. When designs are printed on heat transfer paper they don’t have vibrant colors. The colors are made vibrant with the heat transfer process. So what a person would get if they tried to scan one of my transfers was a dull looking copy not suitable for a good shirt print. This is not to say that some didn’t copy them anyway but I bet the quality looked like crap!
Ok, so you are ready to get started. Where do you begin? With a design of course. Think about niche markets, holidays, fads, etc. If your niche market was the motorcycle riders. You could create motorcycle themed heat transfers. Think about the latest fads, designs shirts around them. Holidays are always good too. The ideas and possibilities are endless.
Well there it is. This is an easy way to make money at home printing. All you need is a computer, and inkjet printer, heat transfer paper and some designs. You do not even need a heat press machine. Good luck. Go print some money!