I have come to the conclusion that screen printing is a technical process first and foremost. There is a very simple reason I say that. And the reason is one of the things that many screen printing shop owners don’t realize or understand.
Screen printing is very easy. It can be a pleasure and provide great satisfaction in seeing a print job done well. There is only one catch to what I just said. You need to have every aspect of the process functioning near 100%. If you can achieve good working order of every piece of equipment and every chemical process or what we would call prepress activity, then you can work efficiently and easily. And therefore be more productive on the press. The more efficient and easily you can work the more shirts you can print per hour. The more shirts you print per hour…. well you should get the idea.
In fact, if you iron out most of the bugs and kinks in your screen printing process it is possible to teach almost anyone to print well. This can be a great benefit when running a shop because good responsible screen printers are hard to come by. Yes, you may find a really good printer but will he show up? Will he be reliable? The fact is that many shops experience a high turnaround in the printers they employ. One reason for that is that many shops demand a lot from a printer but pay little and do not offer health benefits. The other is, well… a lot of irresponsible people get into screen printing for some reason. Let’s face it, screen printing is one of those businesses that a lot of people get into but not all of them will be successful at it for various reasons. Some printers may just print too slowly. A rare few may show up early but lack the aptitude to screen print. There are people, for some reason, that just can’t do it. And that’s just the way it is too. I’m not sure why but every now and then I run into someone who just never really gets the hang of it.
I can’t stress this enough. If everything is working properly, almost anyone can print. It only takes skill when the process isn’t up to par. Your printer only needs extraordinary skills if your print shop is deficient in function. Many shops could actually double their productivity with a little investment in upgrades and improvements. Even the layout of your shop can affect the production flow negatively.
Screen printing tee shirts is all about numbers. It’s all about volume. Its’ a cut throat industry and there is always someone who is willing to do it for less than you. In my opinion, success depends on the ability to produce high quality product at a very fast rate. That way you can make money even when the profit margin is low. That’s being competitive.