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Blog / Beginner's handbook / 6 Tactics to Increase Your T-Shirt Business Profit Margin

Beginner's handbook

6 Tactics to Increase Your T-Shirt Business Profit Margin

6 Tactics to Increase Your T-Shirt Business Profit Margin
Sandra Ķempele

By Sandra Ķempele

9 min read

Are you looking to maximize your t-shirt business profit margin and take your online store to new heights? Look no further!

In this blog post, we’ll cover:

  • How to calculate your business profit margins

  • What’s a good profit margin for a t-shirt company

  • Six proven strategies to boost sales and profit margins 

Ready to elevate your business and make more per sale? Let’s jump right in!

How to calculate a t-shirt business profit margin

Calculating the profit margin for your t-shirt business helps you understand the financial health of your online shop and frames future strategy.

It’s a task that involves three key metrics: your revenue, production costs, and gross profit. Simply put, gross profit margin = gross profit / revenue.

Begin by calculating your total revenue, which is the money you generate from selling t-shirts. Let’s say you’ve sold 100 t-shirts for $20 each. Your revenue would be: 100 x $20 = $2,000.

Next, calculate your production costs. This includes expenses like materials, printing, shipping costs, and any extra fees you incur per sale. Let’s assume the total cost for each t-shirt is $14. Your cost estimation would look like this: 100 x $14 = $1,400. 

Finally, let’s calculate the gross profit, which is the difference between revenue and production costs: $2,000 – $1,400 = $600. Now that we have all the business metrics, it’s easy to calculate the gross profit margin: $600 / $2,000 = 0.3 or 30%. 

If you want to calculate your net profit next, deduct operation costs and taxes as well. 

To sum up, these calculations can help you take stock of your finances and adjust your pricing strategy. If you decide to raise your product price, make sure to increase the value of your products by offering customization options, high-quality materials, or unique designs. 

Bonus tip: Do market research and regularly adjust your retail price according to customer feedback and market demand.

What’s a good t-shirt profit margin?

One of the most important questions you need to answer is: how much money can you make from selling t-shirts online? In other words, what’s a good t-shirt profit margin?

The answer depends on many factors, like your production costs, pricing strategy, and sales volume. For example, let’s say you want to sell a simple unisex t-shirt with a one-sided print, and your total costs come to $12.95. If you sell the t-shirt for $19.99, your profit margin would be 35% ($7.04 / $19.99). 

Is this a good profit margin? Well, it depends on your goals and expectations. According to some industry experts, a 30% to 40% profit margin is considered very good for online t-shirt businesses. 

Regularly tracking your profit margins helps you make informed decisions about pricing, cost management, and sales strategies.

Tips for increasing your t-shirt business profit margin

If you’re running a t-shirt business, you know the importance of maximizing your profit margin. Higher profit margins mean a better return on investment and making more money per sale. 

But how can you do that without compromising on quality or customer satisfaction? From increasing your product value to adjusting pricing strategies, read on for some useful tips.

Never underestimate the power of high-quality products. Customers are willing to pay more for a shirt that fits well and feels soft than a cheap, scratchy one. T-shirts made from high-quality materials have a better fit and last longer, which can make a big difference in how your customers perceive your brand. 

If you go for a print-on-demand service like Printful, you can choose from brands like Bella + Canvas, Econscious, Next Level, and others known for their high production standards. 

Since shoppers are ready to spend on premium quality products that’ll last longer and fit better, you can charge higher prices. Plus, you can expect fewer returns, as premium quality t-shirts are less likely to cause issues or complaints. Ultimately, this helps you boost t-shirt sales and craft a positive brand image that brings in repeat customers. 

Picture this: you’re browsing through an online store, searching for that perfect t-shirt. Suddenly, you stumble upon a design that’s not confined to the front or back of the tee. It stretches across multiple print areas, grabbing your attention. Intrigued, you’re willing to pay more for a unique and eye-catching design. 

But how does this work in practice? You can easily print more than one design on the same t-shirt. For example, you can print an image on the front, a quote on the back, and your logo on a sleeve.

Another idea is to combine a large print on the back of your t-shirt with a smaller one on the front. This can create contrast and a surprise element for shoppers to discover when browsing your store.

Learn more:

Remember, customers are willing to spend more on a one-of-a-kind product that can’t be found elsewhere. So, by combining multiple printing areas, you can sell your t-shirt for a higher price point, resulting in better profit margins.

combining t-shirt printing areas

Source: MoonliightTeeDesign

Unlike traditional t-shirt printing methods, embroidery adds depth and texture that’s visually appealing. This unique quality sets it apart, making it highly sought after by anyone who appreciates fine craftsmanship.

Most importantly, by offering embroidered designs on your t-shirts, you elevate their perceived value. Shoppers are willing to pay a premium for a more sophisticated look that shows attention to detail. This interest in high-quality, premium products allows you to charge more, ultimately boosting your profit margins.

When creating embroidered designs with Printful, you can choose from various thread colors, design placement options, and even play around with ready-made designs. So, whether it’s a logo, simple graphics, or a personalized monogram, try out embroidered designs for a more elevated look. 

There’s a growing demand for custom shirts. According to a recent study, 71% of consumers are interested in personalized communication, products, and services. If you cater to this growing demand and position yourself as a brand that understands customization, it can help you build engagement, brand loyalty, and justify higher price tags. 

What does personalization mean for a t-shirt business? When it comes to design, let customers add a unique touch, like their name, logo, photo, or a message printed on a custom t-shirt. It’s perfect for shoppers looking for gift ideas and useful to a wide range of people—from custom sports team t-shirts to personalized kids’ clothing.

If you’re keen to offer personalization, here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Too many options can feel overwhelming, so focus on a few key custom elements (text, font styles, and color choices) to maintain a streamlined and efficient process

  • Add visual examples of what the final product might look like

  • Share customer reviews on your website and social media

Using custom branding for your business can significantly impact your brand recognition and profit margins.

When people recognize your branding elements (name, logo, and colors), they feel more confident making a purchase. Custom branding reflects professionalism and attention to detail, signaling that you are committed to delivering exceptional customer experience. This translates into increased sales and customer loyalty, contributing to higher profit margins.

For your t-shirt business, there are lots of branding options, including neck labels, custom packaging, packing inserts, and even stickers.

custom packaging

Source: Printful

Neck labels

You can add custom inside or outside neck labels to your t-shirts, depending on the shirt model. When using Printful, you only need to upload your logo, and the rest of the mandatory info will be updated automatically, depending on the shirt’s specifications. 

Custom packaging

Custom packaging options allow you to create a memorable unboxing experience. 

To start with, outsource your packaging supplier. Then, pick a fulfillment method that helps you customize the packaging with your brand’s colors, logo, and messaging. Then, if you’re using a POD company like Printful, you can send the packaging to their warehouse. Printful will then use your custom packaging for your customers’ orders.

Packing inserts

Want to show appreciation to your customers and encourage repeat purchases? Insert a thank you note with a coupon code to your package!

It’s also a good idea to mention your social media handles, especially if you’re aiming to build a brand following.


You can design unique stickers featuring your logo, slogans, or eye-catching graphics that align with your brand identity. Include the stickers with every purchase, encouraging buyers to engage beyond their initial order. 

Branded stickers are a subtle yet impactful marketing tool, as customers can affix them to their belongings, laptops, or water bottles, effectively spreading awareness of your brand. 

Here’s the thing: sometimes, customers might need a little persuasion to make a purchase. Luckily, there are a few awesome pricing tactics you can use.

One of the oldest tricks in the book is to avoid a price tag with a zero at the end (unless you’re in the luxury item market). If you’re selling a t-shirt for $30, it’s a good idea to switch it up and sell it for $29 or even $29.99 instead. Why would it make a difference? A study shows that customers perceive a .99-ending price as if it were 15–25 cents lower. As a consequence, it’s more attractive to buyers. 

Another thing you could try—t-shirt bundles. When you bundle products together, it’s more profitable to give a price break and convince a potential buyer that it’s a deal not to be missed. For example, you could sell a pack of three t-shirts for $49 if one is sold for $19. 

t-shirt bundle

Source: True Classic Tees

Finally, you can have a go at anchor pricing. This is a tactic used to create a favorable comparison between the original and the discounted price. This way, you create a so-called “anchor point,” making the discounted price more attractive to customers. 

t-shirt anchor pricing

Source: Shirtwascash

Ready to boost your business’ profit margins?

By implementing these strategies, you’re well on your way to optimizing your earnings and elevating your online business. As you embark on this journey, keep in mind that success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, experimentation, and continuous refinement. Stay informed about the latest t-shirt trends, listen to customer feedback, and adapt your approach.

At Printful, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Whether you need high-quality printing, reliable fulfillment, or expert advice, we’ve got you covered. Explore our wide range of custom t-shirts and seamless integration options to make your t-shirt business a success.

Remember, increasing your profit margins is not just about making more money—it’s about building a sustainable and thriving business. So, go ahead and implement our tips, innovate, and stay committed to delivering exceptional products. Happy selling! 

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By Sandra Ķempele on Jul. 6, 2023

Sandra Ķempele

Guest author

Sandra is a freelance writer and educator with a background in art and communication. She holds an MA in Art Museum and Gallery Studies, and in her free time enjoys reading, museum visits, and outdoor adventures.

Sandra is a freelance writer and educator with a background in art and communication. She holds an MA in Art Museum and Gallery Studies, and in her free time enjoys reading, museum visits, and outdoor adventures.