A mug sublimation business is one of the most inexpensive businesses you can start. In this post I will tell you what equipment you will need to start and how much it will cost you.
Obviously, you will need a mug press. You can find some on Amazon for around $99, but I suggest going to Heatpressnation.com. They are one of the top heat press retailers in the US.
They have a mug press that sells for $129. It is basically a beginner model. You can only make 11 ounce mugs with it. If you want to make 15 ounce mugs, latte cups or other beverage cups you will have to purchase a more expensive model.
If you are just starting your mug business and you have never printed a mug before stick with the beginner model, you can always upgrade later.
If you decide to order a mug press from Heatpressnation.com, you mug press with be setup to the correct time and temperature so you can use it straight out of the box.
Dozens of websites sell blank white mugs. Most require a minimum of 36 mugs and you can expect to pay about $65 for them. If you decide to order color mugs you can expect to pay a little bit more.
Paying nearly $2 a mug may seem expensive, but realize that most companies offer discounts for bulk orders. That means that if you decide to order 200 or 300 mugs in the future you can save money. Those savings mean more profit for your business.
Your normal ink cartridges won’t cut it. You will need sublimation ink to print you mugs. Expect to pay about $30 for sublimation ink. It will come in bottles instead of cartridges.
Ecotank Inkjet Printer
Like I stated above, the sublimation ink you purchase will come in bottles not cartridges. That means you will have to buy a new inkjet printer, even if you already have one.
An Epson Ecotank printer does not use cartridges. It has tanks that can be filled with the sublimation ink you purchase. A good Ecotank printer will cost about $199.
This is the paper that you print your design on and tape to you mug before putting it in the mug press. 100 sheets of quality A4 sublimation paper will cost about $19.99.
Paper Cutter (Not Scissors)
After you print your design on your sublimation paper you will have to cut the design down to so you can tape it on the mug. It is important that your cuts be straight and measured accurately.
The best way to get straight and accurate cuts is to use a paper cutter. The guards and the rulers will allow you to cut the paper perfectly every time.
A good paper cutter will cost $8.
Soft Measuring Tape
If your measurements are perfect you mug will come out perfect. Since a mug is circular, it is best to have soft measuring tape rather than a ruler which is not flexible. Soft measuring tape will cost you $3.99 on Amazon.com.
You have to tape your designs to your mug with heat tape, it can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees, regular tape can not.
You can get two rolls 10mm x 100ft rolls for $4.99.
You can get 36 mug boxes with styrofoam supports in them for $18.99. It is a great way to get your mugs to your customers in perfect condition.
You can get Photoshop Elements for $99.99. It should be fine for your design needs.
If you struggle to create quality designs I suggest visiting Freelancer.com. I have gotten logos made on that website for as little as $10. You should have no problem getting a good mug design for the same price.
Now that you know what equipment you will need to start your mug sublimation business, lets add up the total cost. Total startup cost for a home mug business is $548.95. I’ll round up to $600 since you may have to pay for shipping costs on some of these items.
If you already have Photoshop or an Ecotank printer your startup costs will be much lower.
How much can you make selling mugs?
Most 11 ounce mugs sell for $15. Making a mug will cost you about $3, add another $6 for shipping supplies and shipping cost and each mug you make will cost $9.
That means $6 profit. If you sell on Amazon, eBay or your own online store, you can expect fees to cut into that profit. If you advertise on Facebook ads or some other online ad network, your profits will drop even more.
To boost your profits you can purchase mugs in bulk. You can also charge $1 or $2 more than most people charge for mugs, but only if you have a unique design.
Don’t start a mug sublimation business if....
You are looking for a passive income stream that makes money with little to no effort.
This business will required you to constantly create new designs and list them on the platforms you sell on.
You have to make mugs, package them and ship them you your customers. You will have to deal with refunds, chargebacks and complaints. This is an inexpensive business to start, but it is not hands off and not easy money.
Best thing about the mug sublimation business
The best thing about mug sublimation is you can use the print-on-demand (POD) business model. That means you only print items after they sell. You don’t have to worry about having hundreds of items in your home that you cannot sell.
Inventory is the number one expenses for most businesses. Having a no inventory business model means you can make your business profitable faster.
Worst thing about the mug sublimation business
The worst thing about the mug sublimation business is the low margins make it difficult to promote your designs via paid ads.
If you can’t advertise via paid ads you have to hope people find you on Amazon, eBay or via search engines. With so much competition in the mug business you will need at least 1000 different designs to make a 50 sales a month without advertising.
Selling 50 mugs a month would bring you $300 in profits before transactional fees.
You know what equipment you need and what you need to spend to start a mug sublimation business. You know how much you can make and the pros and cons.
Hopefully this information can help you decide whether a mug sublimation business is right you you. If you do end up starting a mug business after reading this post, come back and comment to let me know how it is going.