Pricing decorated apparel

Decorated Sportswear Pricing Breakdown

As part of the STAHLS' group, Paul has served since 1997 as the company's Marketing Sports Coordinator. He also frequently contributes to the company's blog. Learn more about STAHLS' at

So your potential customer already has a decorator, but they are showing interest and want to see what kind of price you can offer. What price should you give them and how do you come up with this number? What follows is an example of how much an average jersey decorated with heat printing will cost to complete. How much you ultimately sell them for is entirely up to you, but this indicates how inexpensive it is for you to produce what they need.

I’s worth noting that we can’t include any overhead costs of any given business, such as hourly pay or electricity because that will vary greatly business to business. You might have one shop churning out a shirt every minute, while others can only accomplish half of that. The basic cost of a jersey and heat transfer materials can provide a good representation of the cost to you, and what kind of profit it can yield.

Let’s start with the jersey itself. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll go with the sport that typically has one of the higher price points for jerseys, as well as some of the most required decorating areas— hockey. To start, we’ll just take an average-priced hockey jersey. Your costs may be higher or lower, depending on quality, amount, etc. 

Let’s say an average blank hockey jersey for a youth league costs around $20 each (they can be found for as low as $10 or as much as $40). Now, you’ll need to personalize it with a name and number. When heat printing, you’ll find that pre-cut letters and numbers are the least expensive option when decorating. You’ll have to check with each league’s requirements, but youth hockey jerseys are generally decorated with a 3"  number on each sleeve and a 10" number on the back. Most pre-cut number and letter offerings come in packs, and an average cost is around $1.25 for a 10-pack of  3" numbers, or roughly $0.13 per digit.  The average 10" numbers are around $5.20 per pack or $0.52 per digit.

If you are decorating for a double-digit number: four 3" digits ($0.52) + two 10" digits ($1.04) comes out to $1.56 per jersey.

With numbers covered, let's move onto the name. For youth hockey, 2" letters are used for a player’s name across the back of the jersey, so for a seven-letter name such as “Jackson,” it’ll run about $0.42 for the letters. That’s a grand total of about $2 per jersey. There are typically 16 players on a hockey team, so you’re looking at around $48 to decorate that team, plus the jersey cost. In this case, each jersey was $20, or $320 for the team, meaning our cost for this team was around $352 total or $22 per player.

If you sold each decorated jersey for a 40 percent markup—$30—that’s a quick $128 profit. That works best if you’re trying to out-bid a job, but you can get as much as a 60 percent return on fully-decorated jerseys and sell them for around $35–40, yielding up to a $288 profit.

Now, of course, you’ll need to invest in a heat press to begin raking in these profits. Don’t be turned off by the initial investment cost, which for a quality heat press is around $1,600. Remember that profit yield we discussed? Keep in mind that is per team, so even if you only take in $150 per team in profit, you’ll only have to decorate around 11 teams to pay off that initial investment. Getting that many teams shouldn’t be hard, considering how many schools and rec leagues there are in any given area.

So there you have it; a relatively small investment for a potential cash-cow you can milk all year ‘round. Grab your piece of the action.

For more information on how to go about gaining customers in this market, check out Breaking Into the Sports Decoration Market.