How to Start Your Heat Transfer Vinyl T-Shirt Business

Do you have an idea for a t-shirt or want to get into the t-shirt business? Starting a t-shirt business can be fun and rewarding if you know what you’re doing. But that’s the trick, knowing what you’re doing. We’ll help you on this path by telling you everything you need to know about how to start a heat transfer vinyl t-shirt business. 

Then with practice and the right tools, you’ll be up and running with your new heat transfer vinyl t-shirt business. These are the steps for starting a vinyl t-shirt business:


1. Equipment Needed for a Heat Pressed Vinyl T-Shirt Business


The most important thing you need to do is buy high-quality equipment. You won’t want to skimp on the cost of your equipment because it will ultimately affect the quality and clarity of your t-shirts. Whether you are opening a shop or designing t-shirts out of your home, really do your research to find the best equipment for your budget.

For a heat pressed vinyl t-shirt business, you will need the following equipment:


Heat Press Machine


The heat press machine is the most critical equipment for your new business. You’ll want to determine which heat press machine is suitable for you. Things you’ll need to consider:

  • What will be the size range of the shirts you’ll press?
  • How big is your production space for the heat press machine?
  • How many shirts do you plan to make every day?
  • How quickly will you need to upgrade your equipment?
  • Can you operate manually, or do you need automated machinery?
  • What other functionality is essential to you?


Heat press machines typically cost between $300 to $3000, depending on their performance, features, and style. You’ll want to heavily research and comparison shop to find a heat press machine that provides the best quality and functionality for your budget.

This machine will determine the quality of your product, so you’ll want to invest in the best machine you can afford.


Vinyl Cutter


The vinyl cutter is also essential to the quality of your t-shirts. You’ll need to invest in a durable, high-quality vinyl cutter that can handle the vigor of your anticipated demand. You’ll also want to research and price compare to find the best deal for your budget.

Vinyl cutters can cost between $200 to $4000 depending on the size, speed, and features. And some models can cost $20K. You’ll want to assess which model is right for starting your business.


Related Link: How to Use Heat Transfer Vinyl (Buyer’s Guide)


Model wearing vinyl t-shirt


2. Materials Needed to Start a Heat Pressed Vinyl T-Shirt Business

The next step to starting a heat transfer vinyl t-shirt business is to source the materials needed to create your shirts. You’ll want to calculate what quantities you’ll need and what quality you can afford for your budget. You’ll need the following materials to make vinyl t-shirts:


Heat Transfer Vinyl


Heat transfer vinyl comes in loads of colors, styles, and options. To start, you’ll want to buy your standard stock rolls first. These are the rolls you know you will use a lot. Then you can purchase other fun colors, patterns, and styles. The stock rolls you use the most are:

  • Black
  • White
  • Navy
  • Red


Avance Vinyl offers an affordable vinyl starter pack that includes red, royal blue, black, white, yellow, green, orange, and pink.




To source t-shirts, you’ll need to find a wholesale supplier that provides the best quality for the lowest price. Established distributors will generally be able to get you the best price and shipment timeframes. But these larger wholesales will also want you to place large orders. Here are some wholesale t-shirt suppliers worth checking out:

  1. Avance Vinyl
  2. Adair Group
  3. American Apparel
  4. Apparel N Bags
  5. Blank Shirts


Are you looking for t-shirts that press well with vinyl? Check out Avance Vinyl’s complete line of acid-applied apparel.


Related Link: Top 5 T-Shirts for Sublimation


3. Determine Your Pricing and Payment Strategy


Once you have sourced your materials and purchased your equipment, you need to determine the pricing for your heat-pressed t-shirts. To price your product, you need to:

  • Add your variable costs per product.
  • Add a profit margin
  • Factor in the fixed costs, like your equipment.


Then you’ll want to see if the price point is competitive with other t-shirt businesses.

You’ll also need to determine how you will accept payment. Will you process credit cards, utilize Paypal or Amazon Pay, or accept ACH processing? Once you know what payment methods you’ll take, you need to create an account with those payment processing providers.


4. Create a Marketing Strategy for Finding Customers


Next, you’ll need to create a marketing strategy to attract customers. If you have a warehouse, pop-up shop, e-commerce site, or work out of your garage, you’ll need to market to your potential customers. You can use social media, advertising, word of mouth, or search engine optimization.

You’ll want to create a short-term and long-term marketing strategy. Find a strategy that works and use it to grow your business.


man wearing vinyl t-shirt


Careful Planning and Research Will Help You Start a Heat Transfer Vinyl T-Shirt Business


Starting a vinyl t-shirt business can be very rewarding and profitable when you take the time to plan and research. Remember to invest in quality equipment and materials. Look for the best wholesalers for t-shirts and vinyl. This will help with your pricing and the quality of your products. 

Avance Vinyl is a leading provider of wholesale heat transfer vinyl, rhinestones, and sublimation materials such as t-shirts and sweatshirts in the US. Our high-quality vinyl adheres to t-shirts for a crisp and durable product.


Avance Vinyl has a wide variety of heat transfer vinyl in stock, metallic, glitter, and flock for unique and impressive t-shirt design. Shop our full line of heat transfer vinyl.


Related Link: Sublimation Printing: The Ultimate Guide

Older Post Newer Post