It’s the golden question isn’t it? You like the idea of selling apparel, t shirts and sportswear for many reasons. It’s a creative way to make money, it’s fun, it provides you some independence and you can get started on a small budget. But how much money is in it? How much does it cost to make a shirt? What if it’s part time?

How much money can you make with your t shirt business?

Let’s break it down to how much it costs to make a garment, and how much you can sell it for.

What does it cost to make a shirt?

There are going to be 3 major costs:

  1. Blanks
  2. Supplies
  3. Labor


By blanks we are talking about the t shirt, sport jersey, tank top, hat or whatever the apparel is you are going to decorate. A standard blank t shirt will usually start at around $1 each and go up to $4. These are going to be cotton, good quality shirts. The price difference will vary on manufacturer, brand, color and cut. So a plain white t shirt might only be $1, where the same shirt in navy blue might be $2. That same shirt in moisture wick sport material might be $4. That is essentially your range. Now you can go even higher than that with specialty brands and cuts, depending on what you want to make. A blank Nike brand is going to cost more than a generic.


This is what you are going to put on the garment, the actual material that will create the letters, numbers and logos. Using an example opaque vinyl material, the cost is going to be roughly $11 for a yard of material. If a logo is 5″ x”5 (25 square inches) than a 15″x36″ (540 square inches) piece could hold roughly 20 of those designs. $11 in vinyl / 20 designs = $0.55 per design.


You have to pay someone to do the work, either yourself or an employee. So we can talk about how long it takes to make a design. We performed a case study on left chest logos. 2 people were able to create 36 shirts in an hour. That includes running the material through the machine, weeding the vinyl, pressing the shirts and applying the transfer to the garment. This cost isn’t going to be a single number, it depends. If you have 2 employees that you pay $10 per hour. That would be $20 in employee cost. That comes out to about $0.55 per shirt in employee costs.

So adding this up we have about $3 going into a shirt if we have a shirt that is around $2, 50 cents in supplies and 50 cents in labor.

Now remember, that is all going to vary based on things like:

  • What is the size of the design?
  • Do you have employees?
  • What type of shirt is used?
  • Multiple colors vs single color?

Considering all of these things, here are some rough estimates of shirt costs:

  • Left Chest Logo T Shirt
    • Shirt $2
    • Supplies $.25
    • Total $2.25
  • Baseball Jersey Shirt
    • Shirt $8
    • Supplies $3
    • Total $11
  • Logo Hat
    • Hat $2
    • Supplies $.40
    • Total $2.40
  • T Shirt Logo Front / Full Back
    • Shirt $2
    • Supplies $2
    • Total $4
  • Full Front Fashion Shirt
    • Shirt $4
    • Supplies $1.50
    • Total $5

How much can you sell apparel for?

This is another golden question, someone asks you to make 20 shirts, how much should you sell them for?  Let’s first just say that there isn’t one single answer. It is going to depend on who you are selling to, how many they order, how much competition there is and how hard the job is to complete. To keep it simple, here are some ranges we here from our customers. These are going to be smaller orders and custom deigns. This isnt an order for 1000 t shirts and 500 hats. These prices are based on selling singles to a few dozen to one customer.

  • Left Chest Logo T Shirt $10-15
  • Baseball Jersey Shirt $20-35
  • Logo Hat – $12-25
  • T Shirt Logo Front / Full back – $15-25
  • Full Front Fashion Shirt – $15-30

How much money could you make selling custom apparel?

The answer is… as much as you want. As a business owner, you control everything. The things you can control are:

  • How many hours a week you work
  • What you sell products for
  • Who you sell to
  • How much money you want to make for your business.

Since you are in control, the sky is the limit. You can run your business from a spare bedroom or open a retail store. You can sell bulk shirts at low prices and be the lowest bidder in town. You can sell high end clothing and only deal with premium shirts. You can do some of both, its your business.

Some Numbers…

If you sell to a little league park. You will sell:

  • Hats, Shirts & Pants for the players
  • Hats and Shirts for the coaches
  • Team support shirts for parents

Based on the numbers above If you sold 20 t shirts, 15 sports jerseys & 25 hats… you would make:

Apparel Cost to Make Retail Price Profit Quanity Total Profit
Baseball Hats $2.40 $15.00 25 $375.00
Baseball Jersey $11.00 $20.00 15 $300.00
T Shirts $4.00 $18.00 20 $360.00
Total 60 $1,035.00

What if you made a deal with the entire league? 

Where are some places that would buy shirts from you?

How much money could you make?

Are you ready to start your own business? 

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