Starting a screen-printing business can be challenging, from printing the perfect high-quality designs to keeping up with clients’ orders, following up with shipping orders, and marketing your business. We understand how tasking it can be to incorporate the best screen printing software into your business. There are a ton of software out there that claim to offer screen printing and other business solutions to scale your business. However, not all of these software can perform what they claim to do. This is why we came up with a list of the essential screen printer software you need to build your screen-printing business.
We curated this list after considering the three major factors that are critical to the success of your screen printing business which are;
- Production and Operations
- Finance and Marketing
Here are the top software you need for your screen printing business in 2023 based on the above categories.
- 1. Design
- 2. Production and Operations
- 3. Finance and Marketing
- Other Great Tools We Recommend
- Ready to Scale Your Screen Printing Business?
Designs can often be the backbone of your screen printing business. Without great designs, you cannot run a successful screen printing business.
There are lots of design software out there, but let’s face it, all you need is software capable of doing color separation. So, here are our top picks for your screen printing design software.
Widely renowned for being the #1 photo editing suite, Photoshop is a great general-purpose tool for screen printers.
Adobe Photoshop is the most powerful for creating and editing raster images. You can edit images, separate artwork to be printed onto separate films based on their color, and utilize halftones to print gradients. Photoshop is also available on your desktop or iPad.
Photoshop offers you a 7-day free trial period that includes all the latest version’s features. The annual plan starts at $20.99 a month, while a complete plan that includes the full suite of Adobe products, including Illustrator, is $54.99 a month. You also have access to their customer support via phone, email, and an online forum.
We understand that integrating Photoshop can be expensive when you are just starting in the printing business. GIMP is a free and great alternative to Photoshop.
GIMP – free alternative
GIMP is a free raster image manipulation software operating on an open-source code. Various plugins and upgrades are available, so you can easily customize your experience as you want it to be.
The downside to using GIMP is that you do not enjoy a streamlined user experience as the software is crowdsourced. However, if you know how to navigate your way around the software and features, you can find any design tool you desire, including a specific plugin for color separation. You can learn more here.
Illustrator is a great software for vector graphics and is great to use for your screen printing business, as clients usually send files in vector format for better resolution. Illustrator is the standard for vector image editing, and it’s also capable of color separation.
The pricing for Illustrator is $20.99 per month with an annual commitment. When considering pricing, particularly if you are starting out in the screen printing industry, Illustrator might be pretty expensive. We recommend Inkscape as a free and great alternative to Illustrator.
Inkscape – free alternative
Inkscape is another open-source screen printing software that is great for vector design. It also offers color selector tools and a great image manipulation feature. The tool primarily works in SVG format.
Inkscape differs from GIMP’s raster editing and photo manipulation capabilities as Inkscape is meant for vector design. Bonus: if you’re a screen printer who also provides embroidery services, Inkscape is a great option as it has a free plugin called inkstitch that is meant for embroidery designers.
So, what about color separation tools like UltraSep or Separato? While those are nice-to-have screen printing software, they are not essential. However, if you want to integrate them into your screen printing business, you can check out “FreeHand Spot Process Separation Studio 4.” It’s very easy to use, providing excellent flexibility for screen printing.
FreeHand Separation Studio allows you to separate Adobe and Corel PDF files and also automatically converts process colors to spot colors when opening said files. It also allows for color separation of RGB TIFF files. Overall, Separation Studio can save you some time when it comes to separating colors, but if you’re looking for essential software only, the design software tools mentioned earlier are already capable of color separation.
2. Production and Operations
Now that you’ve got your design tools, it’s time to think about another significant aspect of your screen printing business. The tools you use to manage the production process are essential, as your designs are only able to be printed when your production process is clear.
Here are the top screen printer software that are essential to your production and operations.
YoPrint is the business management software for screen printing operations that allows you to scale your business and keep track of your administrative tasks.
You can keep track of production, orders, and inventory using YoPrint. With YoPrint, everything you need to manage your business is in one place. You also have access to a customer portal where clients can communicate with you and follow up on their orders, approvals, mockups, make payments, and download their invoices.
YoPrint integrates directly with other relevant software you need for your business, such as accounting and payments software.
You can request a demo or start your 14-day free trial without a credit card.
Shipping software integrates with different e-commerce platforms and lets you create shipping labels and ship out products at a lower cost.
Shipstation makes running your screen printing business stress-free by automating your shipping process, making it quicker to calculate shipping rates, and printing shipping labels and packing slips. It is a web-based shipping software connected to over 150 carriers, marketplaces/shopping carts, etc.
You can use Shipstation for shipments made through multiple postal services, including USPS. It also allows white label shipment, which can be helpful if you’re shipping your customers’ products directly to consumers.
The pricing for Shipstation starts from $9.99 per month up to $229.99 per month. There is also a high-volume plan available, but you’ll need to speak with Shipstation on its pricing. The software also offers a 30-day free trial: if you are unsatisfied with the service, you can get a refund within 90 days of subscribing.
Stamps is a mailroom management software that allows you to print USPS-approved postage and shipping labels. You can automatically import orders from different selling platforms, select shipping methods, and share the shipment tracking details with your clients. It also helps you avoid many hidden fees and charges, making your shipping much more competitive.
Stamps is a good software for small businesses when you sell on a few platforms and ship a small number of orders. Stamps is intended for USPS shipments as it is the USPS’ official licensed vendor.
The pricing for Stamps starts at $19.99 monthly for a single user.
3. Finance and Marketing
Now that you have successfully handled your business’s design, printing, and shipping aspects, it is time to focus on your business’s finance and marketing.
It is important you understand your cash flow to be able to successfully run a business. Finance software allows you to keep up with your cash flow and enjoy a smooth payment process.
Additionally, marketing is necessary to ensure you have a steady flow of customers and orders. With the right marketing tools, you can focus on expanding your business, as potential customers will always find you both offline and online.
Quickbooks is an accounting software that allows you to manage your business’s cash flow, taxes, bills, and other financial details. The software works great for small screen printing businesses.
Quickbooks integrates with YoPrint, so you can easily synchronize invoices, purchase orders, etc., to ensure you run your business smoothly. You can learn more here.
Quickbooks offers various pricing plans, with the lowest beginning at $15 per month for the self-employed plan. They’ve also added an Assisted Bookkeeping feature for $50 a month, giving you live bookkeeping assistance from experts.
Square allows you to accept payments from customers online or in person with the Square Point Of Sale (POS). It also helps you manage your team scheduling, time cards, and payroll. Square works great for both large and small businesses.
You can easily integrate Square with YoPrint, so payments are matched automatically to your corresponding YoPrint order. You can learn more here. Square’s pricing plans are available on its website: individual/self-employed plans are free, while advanced features are on the Plus plan that starts from $29 a month.
WordPress gives you the tools and the platform to create a website to market your screen printing brand. Although there is an initial learning curve, you can quickly get the hang of it.
WordPress gives you the most flexibility when it comes to creating websites. You can continue to host your website on WordPress even as you scale your business. You do not need any coding experience to set up your website on WordPress, as there are plugins and templates available to help you create your desired website. If you want to accept orders through your website, WordPress is capable of that, too, with forms for corporate inquiries or e-commerce plugins (most notably, WooCommerce) for single orders.
You can get started with the free version and then upgrade to the WordPress Premium version, billed yearly at $8 per month.
Other Great Tools We Recommend
Maybe your screen printing business is currently a one-man show, and you’re not an experienced designer, or you barely have the time to come up with designs from scratch. In that case, Canva would be a useful tool for you.
Instead of creating designs from scratch, you can create a shirt design using a template from Canva. There are various design options to choose from, and the Canva interface is incredibly user-friendly. You can import a design template from Canva into Photoshop or Illustrator to prep the artwork for printing.
Canva offers a free version with the paid Pro plan starting at $119.99 a year. Canva for teams is available for $300 a year for the first 5 people.
Calendly is an appointment software that allows you to easily schedule meetings and appointments with customers, stockists, employees, etc. With Calendly, You can spend more time working on your business instead of on the regular back and forth trying to schedule a convenient meeting time. Calendly offers a free version with paid plans starting at $10 a month (Standard).
Ready to Scale Your Screen Printing Business?
We provided different software and their alternatives, but not all of them are necessary. If you’re looking for just the essentials, the primary software needed for your screen printing business is Photoshop for all your designs, YoPrint for managing your shop, Quickbooks for accounting, Square for payments, Shipstation for shipping, and WordPress for creating a website for marketing purposes.
At YoPrint, we are dedicated to helping you scale your screen printing business by offering industry-leading business management tools and services.
To get started on managing your screen printing business with YoPrint, sign up for a 14-day free trial now. You do not need a credit card to get started.