Due to the inherently high cost of most Direct to Garment printers, the comparison is often made to the automotive industry. For this comparison, we will be using the analogy of a delivery company needing to cover as many miles as possible, in the shortest amount of time (relative to a DTG print shop hoping to produce as many shirts per hour, as quickly as possible).
SCENARIO 1: Buy one high-end supercar for $30,000 – Maintenance costs are 5 times as high and gas is a special blend which costs twice as much. However, you never have to change your own oil or work on your own brakes – a special technician will come to you, whenever needed, to work on your car. If you try to change your own oil, your warranty may be cancelled. All replacement parts must come from the manufacturer. Top cruising speed is 200 mph.
SCENARIO 2: Buy 3 low-cost cars (at $10,000 a piece) for $30,000 – Maintenance costs are very low and gas is standard unleaded at 1/2 the cost of the special blend. However, you have to change your own oil and replace your own brakes when they wear out. Parts wear out faster, but when they do you can purchase them at a variety of auto-parts stores for 1/5 the cost of the supercar. Top cruising speed is 80 MPH.
With the first scenario, a business could easily cover 1,600 miles in a standard 8-hour shift, ensuring reliable operation at a significant cost. Assuming $2 per gallon for special-blend gas (let’s pretend standard Unleaded is a reasonable $1 per gallon and for the sake of simplicity, both vehicles get the same 20 mpg mileage) they would spend around $160 in gas (or around $0.10 per mile). Over the course of 30 working days, the fuel cost would amount to approximately $4.800 for 1,600 miles traveled.
With the second scenario, a business could easily cover 1,920 miles in a standard 8-hour shift, although more parts may need to be replaced in the process (for a fraction of the cost for similar parts of the hypothetical supercar). Assuming $1 per gallon for special-blend gas (let’s pretend standard Unleaded is a reasonable $1 per gallon and for the sake of simplicity, both vehicles get the same 20 mpg mileage) they would spend around $96 in gas (or around $0.05 per mile). Over the course of 30 working days, the fuel cost would amount to approximately $2,800 for 1,920 miles traveled.
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer – each hypothetical delivery company is going to have to weigh the factors which are most important to them, which may include (but are not limited to):
- Investment / Maintenance costs
- Cost of fuel, per mile travelled
- Amount of “hands on” work required
- Availability of parts
- Redundancy considerations
When determining which model is right for your Direct to Garment printing business, be sure to properly evaluate all relevant factors – rest assured, there are options out there for virtually any business model! Finding the RIGHT machine is far more important than finding the BEST machine…