Screen setup is easily the most misunderstood concept about screen printing. It is not a one time cost (like artwork), but rather a fee based on the total quantity of a production run, which could possibly apply on every production run– even if it’s the same artwork we’ve printed before.
We always explain screen setup costs like this– It takes lots of materials and time and labor to color separate the artwork, output films, expose screens, rinse them and dry them, then more time and labor to set them up on press, register all the colors on all the prints, print proofs and make adjustments until it is printing perfectly. Say that process takes about 45 minutes to an hour, not counting the art time. Now imagine if someone wanted to order just one shirt; we’d need to charge for all that time, labor and materials in addition to the cost of the shirt. A lot of work goes into what we do, and it literally takes the same amount of prep work and setup to print one item or 10,000. With all that said, we do discount the cost of setup depending on the total quantity ordered (with the same printing). To be exact, we discount setup costs by $15 for each dozen pieces ordered. Screen setup costs and artwork/design costs are completely separate.
• “Minimum quantity” without additional screen setup charge: 12 pieces per color, per location.
• ex: 3 color design, 24 total pieces ordered = 3 screens, 2 setups discounted for qty = 1 setup @ $15