The onset of COVID-19 sparked a major change in the printing industry. With in-person events coming to a screeching halt, restaurants temporarily shutting their doors, and schools and businesses moving to a remote environment, those who provided printing services were forced to reevaluate their offerings and bring on new means for revenue.

In particular, those not previously offering apparel decorating services, such as signage printers or promotional products distributors, found themselves looking at what equipment they could add. While it might have been too much to bring on a screen printing setup or embroidery machine, direct-to-garment (DTG) printing quickly rose to the top as an entry-level option with growth potential.

As we covered in our beginner’s guide to DTG, this equipment comes in a range of investment options and setup sizes, and has a lower learning curve. All of those factors make it attractive to anyone looking to bring apparel decorating services in-house, or up their print-on-demand (POD) presence.

According to the DTG-101 report, it’s an easy option to add but not without thinking first. Sources such as M&R Printing Equipment, Lawson Screen & Digital Products, and RTP Apparel outline multiple points to follow when considering bringing DTG on-board, including:

  • Researching customer base and establishing a target market for POD services
  • Evaluating revenue potential and acknowledging it most likely won’t be your main revenue source
  • What pretreat machines, printers, and dryers/presses will work best for your current business plan

Many current printers that haven’t previously dabbled in DTG may not realize that it takes more than a DTG printer to crank out apparel — the necessary equipment includes a pretreat machine, a printer (whether that’s a desktop or mid-volume size), and either a conveyor dryer or heat press. Companies like Kornit, Brother, Equipment Zone, and Stahls’ are all among the vendors providing both equipment and resources in the DTG arena.

If this is you and you want to learn more about beginner-level DTG equipment, download our free Direct-to-Garment 101 resource here.