You’re always looking for ways to grow your custom t shirt printing business. If there are other businesses in your area that do the same type of custom apparel you do, your first instinct may be that you need to compete with them on a price level. But that’s simply not true, and in the end can actually hurt your business. One of the best ways to grow your business is focus on what makes you unique, what is going to set you apart from the competition.

Sometimes it’s easier than you think, in that you just need to ensure you have a better customer experience process. Responding to customers quickly with all the information they ask for and supplying quotes in a timely manner, may be all it takes for a customer to choose your custom t shirt business instead of someone else. Never underestimate the value of a prompt reply.

Do you want the customers who are always looking for the lowest price? Probably not, because more often than not, they’re not loyal customers. They don’t have a high lifetime value. Many customers will equate a cheap price with a cheap product. So when you’re looking to sell to larger businesses or sports teams who rely on a quality product, they’re less likely to choose you if they think their jackets or jerseys aren’t even going to last them the season.

Unique Selling Proposition

Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is what is going to set you apart from everyone else. Something only you can offer, and it can be a product or a service.

Customer Experience

We already mentioned the customer experience process, and how that can be your USP. Is it easy for your customers to make an order with you? Are you following up in timely fashion? Are you setting reasonable expectations, and then meeting them?

An expectation you can set as an example, is if you’re a part-time t shirt printing business you may only be in your shop in the evenings and weekends. So you can set an auto-reply in your email and a voicemail message providing potential clients with your hours, and an expectation of when they will hear back from you. Perhaps you will respond to their email within 24 hours, or you’ll follow up with a call at 4pm the next day. You’d be surprised at how many businesses don’t do this, and as a result customers don’t always know if their inquiry was received or whether or not they’ll get a call back from the business.

Make sure every touch point with your customers is as friendly and courteous as possible, so that they look forward to interacting with you.


How you quote your customers is also going to be really important. Having a premade form will help you look professional and also provide clients with a clear understanding of what they’re paying for. If you’re not sure what your quote should look like, you can always check out some of the accounting software available, or even look at some templates from Microsoft Word. When a customer understands what they’re paying for, they feel more comfortable with the purchase. So lay out the number of t-shirts, each embroidery section, any digitization fee for logos, taxes, etc.

Your quote will prevent misunderstandings, as well as help you refer back to it for future quotes. Your customer may ask you for a verbal quote, and it’s okay to give them a range if you feel comfortable. If you don’t, let them know that you want to be able to provide them with an accurate quote, and you’ll get back to them within X hours. A quote isn’t a final agreement, the client still has time to make changes.

Be an Expert

Perhaps the quality of product you select is higher than average. Let your customers know this when you provide them with the quote. Justify that decision: we’ve tested these t shirts and found the color stays vibrant even after 20 washes.

Know your product as well. Order a few different shirts and test out the embroidery or the heat press. Does the t shirt hold up well? What are its limitations?

Another part of being an expert is working with the customer to provide custom t shirt ideas. They might come in with an exact idea with what they want, or they might be open to some suggestions: what if we did the lettering in this font, or made it a little bigger, or contrasted the t shirts with this thread color.


Having a niche market can distinguish you from the competition. Knowing everything thing there is to know about the market makes you an expert, and that can attract customers to you over someone who is a general business. You can make recommendation on blanks that will provide customers with the best possible product. You can show them examples of work you’ve done to build trust.

Take the time to really think about what sets you apart from the competition. If you’re not sure there are plenty of custom t shirt business ideas outline above that you can start doing right away to help you get the edge over your competition.