How to price t-shirts (get more sales & profit)

Wondering how much money you can make selling t-shirts?

That depends on two factors:

  • Expenses
  • Pricing strategies

These two factors will affect your earnings. Ideally, you want to make enough money to ensure a sustainable income and beat the competition.

t-shirt printing market
As revealed by Statista’s survey, the popularity of custom t-shirt selling will only keep growing.

So, if you’re a creator wanting to make your own merch, but confused about how to price your product, stay tuned.

There aren’t enough related posts on the internet that cover this topic.

So, in this article, I’m going to share a simple guide for pricing your t-shirts for retail:

  1. Assess your expenses
  2. Add a profit margin

No more confusion around how to price your t-shirts!

Step #1: Assess your expenses

How much should I charge for a t-shirt?

This question has probably crossed your mind while thinking about selling merch. The truth is that before you can add a t-shirt business profit margin and start selling, you need to assess expenses first. So, let’s go over them.

Production expenses

Expenses may vary depending on how you create and sell your t-shirts.

If you’re using Sellfy’s print-on-demand (POD) service, it’s very straightforward:

  • The production cost (also known as self-cost or base price) is covered in the price you pay for each product.
  • The shipping is handled by Sellfy and paid by the customer (including tax if applied; Sellfy has advanced VAT & Tax settings).

You also don’t need to make preorders, keep inventory, or pay upfront for the custom t-shirts you’re selling. You can find Sellfy’s t-shirt prices when adding products to your store (under Variants > COST). Note that the production cost will vary depending on the production facility location.

sellfy t-shirt prices

T-shirt design costs

If you’re an artist, your only expenses might be the tools or software you use. In that case, you can add your design expenses to the t-shirt price so that you’re covering the expenses or paying yourself for the time spent working.

However, if you’re not an artist, you will have to outsource design services.

If you’re a creator wanting to sell merch and you have a design idea in mind, head over to our article on how to design custom t-shirts.

t-shirt printing market demand
According to Grand View Research, there’s a rising demand for custom t-shirts with printed graphics (e.g. logo) or artwork.

Here are two different formulas for determining your t-shirt design costs:

Design cost / number of designs = design cost per shirt

Design cost / your profit margin = number of minimum t-shirts to sell

Marketplace or platform fees

Marketplace or eCommerce platform fees are another expense to consider. For instance, Etsy will charge a hefty percentage of your sales, while major platforms like Shopify will charge a fixed price (the cheapest one is $29). Many of these platforms will also have hidden fees.

With Sellfy, you’ll have none of these issues as it’s very beginner-friendly—you can get your store up and running within 5 minutes without a hassle. You can also embed it on your own website.

sell t-shirts with sellfy

So, what is Sellfy? 

Sellfy is an easy-to-use eCommerce solution for creators wanting to sell any type of products online: print-on-demand merch and digital or physical goods. Some of its best features include a white-label store, instant payouts, and unlimited products.

sellfy merchandise

To open a Sellfy store and start selling quality t-shirts, follow the steps below:

  1. Choose a subscription plan or start a 14-day free trial (you can upgrade at any time to access more features).
  2. Once your email address has been verified, log in and go to the Products section to pick your custom products and upload designs.
  3. Customize your store to match your brand, add your logo, and you’re ready to start selling!

Step #2: Add a profit margin

Now that you’ve added up all the expenses, it’s time to finally answer the following question:

How much should a t-shirt cost?

To price your t-shirts for retail, use the following formula:

Production cost + profit margin (e.g. 20%) + expenses = retail price

Keep in mind that you can adjust your margin, but it shouldn’t be much higher than the price of your competitors (as it’ll be more challenging to make a sale). If you’re still not sure how to come up with a profit margin, keep on reading for more tips and strategies.

T-shirt pricing tips & strategies

The best way to decide on your retail price is to make sure that it falls more or less within the average t-shirt price. However, don’t be afraid to price your t-shirts for what they’re worth.

Consider the following pricing tips:

  • Most creators go for a 20% profit margin while retailers go for 50%.
  • Check the prices in your niche to find the average t-shirt price.
  • The recommended retail price ranges from $24.99 to $30.99 per shirt (some successful sellers set their prices at $3-5 above the typical range).
  • Evaluate your target audience (the younger the audience, the lower your prices should be).
  • Stick to a one-sided print with 1-3 colors in your brand design to keep a reasonable retail price.
  • Overcharging your prices can backfire and minimize sales.
  • The more samples you order in bulk, the cheaper it’ll be.
  • People love purchasing products with free shipping.

Pro tip: End your t-shirt prices with .99 instead of .00 (e.g. $30.99 instead of $31). This is a well-known psychological trick used by retailers since time immemorial. .99 makes the price seem cheaper, even though it’s a difference of only one cent.

With those tips in mind, let’s move on to actionable strategies.

Market-oriented pricing

With this type of pricing, your custom t-shirt will be neither cheaper nor costlier than the average t-shirt price. It’s a relatively safe choice for targeting a large audience that buys at the average market value, but also tough because it’ll set you up against other sellers.

sellfy seller cram
Sellfy seller example: CRAM.

Above or below the market average pricing

  • Increase your t-shirt value (but keep the average price) to set it above the average. For example, you can add a bonus gift, free stuff, or any other cool offer. This will make your t-shirt seem much more enticing.
  • Decrease your t-shirt price (but keep the quality) to set it below the average. The average t-shirt price is usually around $24.99. So, if you decrease it to $23.99 per shirt, you might just gain more customers.
sellfy seller dj carlo atendido
Sellfy seller example: DJ Carlo Atendido.

Discount pricing

With this strategy, you set a higher price for your t-shirt than the average price, and then do occasional sales or special deals. You could use this method during the holiday season when people are more likely to shop on the internet.

Pro tip: Those who have made it big in the merch business all say the same thing—make it expensive. You see, expensive is a relative term. If someone really wants your t-shirt, they’re willing to purchase it regardless of the price. When something costs more, it is perceived to be of much higher value. The image below illustrates this point.

discount pricing
Higher priced t-shirts translate into higher-value customers. These customers may become endorsers, advocates, and advertisers of your merch.

Higher priced t-shirts translate into higher-value customers and therefore more money. These customers may become endorsers, advocates, and advertisers of your brand.

Penetration pricing

This is a common strategy with creators that grow big over time. You start out with below-average pricing and then gradually raise your prices as you gain more customers. So, if you’re not willing to charge higher prices yet, you could give this a try.

sellfy seller meghan hein
Sellfy seller example: Megan Hein Photography.

Bundle pricing

This is another strategy that is highly attractive to the customer. It’s essentially a bundle product that consists of several t-shirts or apparel products sold for a slightly cheaper price than a single product. The more, the merrier, right? This is why selling product bundles often increase revenue.

Over to you

To evaluate which strategy you should get started with, I suggest doing research: google apparel businesses in your niche and check their social media pages or websites. It’ll help you figure out how to price your t-shirts. Once you’ve settled on a strategy, it’s time to start selling online! If you’re using Sellfy, remember that you can use our in-built marketing tools to create campaigns, promote your t-shirts and grow your merch business.

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