When we asked screen printers what advice they would give to people just getting started in the industry, they had a few pointers to share.
WORDS OF WISDOM FROM THE EXPERIENCED:
- Buy the best equipment you can. I often hear people struggling with cheap eBay equipment and they throw in the towel before they make headway. If you can't afford good equipment, think about contracting your printing or using plastisol transfers until you have enough momentum to afford a good press/exposure unit. – Todd T.
- There are two totally different sides of a screen printing business: the screen printing side and the business side. If you can do both, you will be wildly successful. – Stirling I.
- Practice, practice, practice. Don't be afraid to branch out beyond spot color prints. – Eric Q.
- Don't think you can enter this cheap and produce quality. Use the right products to get the best results. Learn how to price services properly: starting off being the discount printer helps no one. Learn how important the little things are like off-contact, mesh count, mesh tension, etc. – Timothy N.
- Practice makes perfect. Don't always listen to what other people are doing. Do what works for you. – Matt M.
- A clean squeegee is a happy squeegee! – Regina B.
- Patience. Keep an open mind to learn from others. Drive to create awesomeness. Persevere. You know from print one that it's for you or not. – Brent F.
- On a manual, pull stroke, keep your elbows in, and arms at a L. – Justin M.
Take a class from Ryonet. Even though I'm a vet now, I would still go!! – Ryan H.
- Relax your shoulders. – Kappas T.
- Don't buy cheap crap because that's what you can afford. Save your money and buy quality. Also, under promise and over deliver every time. – Jason R.
- Always keep your shop clean, especially after you finish printing. – Alberto P.
- Don't cut corners. Buy quality and you will find less complaints from clients as well. Use the right tools to get the job done. – Earl S.
- If you feel something wet, stop that second and wipe your hands clean. – Christoper H.
- Never stop learning new stuff. That kinda applies to life in general. – Anthony A.
- Plan on plenty of mistakes. – Scott H.
- Use misprints for rags. – Wesley S.
- Triple check spelling. – Dennis G.
- You will never learn how to print well until you learn how to make a great screen. – Bill W.
- It takes time. Build a clientele. – David M.
- Don't buy cheap equipment. Get a solid press, exposure unit, and a washout booth with a backlight. Three mistakes I made in the beginning that made me want to throw in the towel! If you can't make good screens, you can't make good prints, period. – Brad G.
- DO NOT BUY CHEAP EQUIPMENT. – Julie C.
- If it's not broke, don't fix it! – Matt M.
- Run it like a business, not a hobby. Have a complete understanding of your three margin metrics: net, volume, and returns. – Shannon K.
- Be patient. If you don't have money for good equipment or employees, then be more patient and expect to work hard and almost all day. Before you deliver a t-shirt to a customer, think if you would wear/pay for it. Never over-compare with other printers. – ERIS Clothing
- Be organized and finish the job just in time – this is the 90% of the profit. Try to attract one client each day. Avoid leaks and re-prints, time is money. – Tony P.