Business Corner

How to bulk order print on demand t-shirts for events


Are you in charge of ordering custom printed t-shirts for your next company event? Or maybe you are organizing a race or a charity event that will have unifying t-shirts? Ordering for many people you don’t know can be stressful, but with the right plan, you can do it smoothly and with ease. Keep reading!

Consider the timeline

First things first, you need to get in order your timeline. Look at the date the event is happening. Most likely you will need the shirts before that date. Will you distribute the shirts on the day of the event or a few days before? Depending on that plan, decide the best date when you need the shirts ready and delivered by the supplier.

Talking about suppliers, it is best to start looking for them in advance. You need to know the production and delivery timeline so you can plan accordingly. Also, if you are hiring a designer for the image you are putting on t-shirts, make sure you know their capacity and delivery time.

Once you know all of this information, you can create a timeline and set yourself due dates, when everything needs to be ready. For example,

Date 1, You have found a supplier and know their requirements

Date 2, The designer turns in the final design

Date 3, You turn in the final t-shirt count and design to print on demand supplier

Date 4, you receive the printed t-shirts

Date 5, People  receive their t-shirts

Date 6, The event day

When creating a timeline, it is best to work backward – start with the event date and plan other dates according to that.

Working with a print on demand supplier

Once you have found a print on demand supplier (for example, us,!) you can open the communication channel and start working with your personal manager. That is one thing we strongly believe in – every client of ours has to have their own dedicated manager. It makes communication flow easily, creates a great understanding of client needs, and in the end saves time and nerves on both ends.

To start working with us today, reach out and we will contact you promptly!

6 topics you need to communicate about with your print on demand supplier

Here is a list of topics you need to cover in communication with your print on demand supplier. It will help you get the best results in the right amount of time!

1.   When the t-shirts need to be ready

When the supplier knows the due date, they can calculate the best date when you need to turn in the final order (the t-shirt count, sizes, design, etc.) depending on their production and shipping speed.

2.   Approximate size of the order

Even if you don’t know the precise number oft-shirts you will need, you know approximately how big of an event you are planning. Is it for 30, 100, 500, or more people? The supplier must know what they need to get ready for, so when the printing starts they have the right amount of t-shirts and they can give you a precise estimate of how fast they can print everything.

3.   T-shirt style and color

There are several t-shirt styles. Not only you can choose male, female, or unisex t-shirts, but you can also pick out the fabric, the neck style, and the fit. You can also choose a t-shirt color that suits your event the best. The sooner you can provide this information, the better.

4.   Delivery

Make sure you communicate clearly how the t-shirts will be delivered, so there is no confusion.

5.   Bulk order discount

It is no secret that printing a lot of items with one design can get you a bulk discount. Ask your personal manager about it and make the best deal!

6.   Ask questions

Don’t be shy to contact the supplier manager about different details when it comes to bulk printing. They have the experience and they definitely can answer lots of burning questions.

Prepare design files ahead

Technology can be tricky and you definitely don't want to delay the printing process by a minor detail like not submitting the right file format to the print on demand supplier. To make sure that doesn’t happen, definitely check with your manager what files they accept and communicate this information to the designer.

Also, a good practice is to send in the printing files in advance not last minute. That way the print on demand supplier can check the files and see if everything is fine and looking good.

How to choose sizes for t-shirt bulk orders

How to choose sizes for t-shirts for an event depends on the event you are organizing. It's a company event and the t-shirts are for employees? Or is it, for example, a charity event where you will hand out t-shirts on the spot?

How to choose t-shirt sizes for employees

If you need t-shirts for your company’s employees, it is easy – ask everyone for their sizes. You can create a Google form with just a few questions – a person’s name and t-shirt size. Unfortunately, it cannot be anonymous, because you have to know which size is intended for who, once you will distribute the shirts.

How to choose t-shirt sizes for public events

For public events, there are a few options for how to choose sizes for t-shirts.

Ask for a t-shirt size

If the event has a pre-registration, you can ask for a t-shirt size in the registration form. However, remember that there will be a due date when you need to turn in the order to your print on demand supplier. It means that if the registration is planned till the last moment, you won’t be able to provide last-minute attendees with a specific shirt size. But you can, for example, make choosing at-shirt size a bonus for those who register early.

And for the last-minute attendees remember to order t-shirts based on average sizing or you can use the registered attendees' sizes as a guide for what sizes to order for those who register later.

Predictsizes based on average

If there is no pre-registration for your public event, you have no choice but to get t-shirts based on average sizing. You can follow this approximate guide of what sizes people wear in the U.S. For example, from a sample group of 100 people:

●     1 person wears size XS

●     7 persons wear size S

●     28 persons wear size M

●     30 persons wear size L

●     20 persons wear size XL

●     12 persons wear size 2XL

●     2 persons wear size 3XL

Also, keep in mind the nature of your event and your target group. For example, the average sizing for teenagers (if it is a school event) might be different than for adults. If it is a race you are organizing and a lot of attendees are amateur or professional athletes, the sizing can also differ.

Go a size up!

Remember that if you don’t know the exact t-shirt sizes of attendees, it is better to size up. It also works in the favor of today’s trend of oversized style. And thinking logically, it is more comfortable to wear a t-shirt that is slightly bigger, than a t-shirt you cannot really fit in.

What t-shirts to choose for a bulk order

Of course, it all depends on your preference and the type of event. However, here are a few tips that will help guide your choice.

Choose one type of t-shirt

To make things easier for yourself, the supplier, and event attendees, choose one type oft-shirt. The easiest solution is to choose unisex t-shirts, but you can also go for separate female and male shirts in the same design.

The only exception for choosing one type of t-shirt is if you are ordering t-shirts. If you are willing to put in the effort, you can ask them to fill in a detailed questionnaire about what t-shirt style they want. Start with letting them choose the neck style and keep going more specific from there.

Choose neutral colors if applicable

More people will like the t-shirts and they might choose to wear them outside the event if you make them in neutral colors like black, white, beige, etc. Mostly, just because neutrals will look good on almost anyone, while bright colors have specific undertones that will not work perfectly with everyone’s completions.

But that of course depends on your event and your specific needs. Sometimes you will need to coordinate the color with the event or the company logo and that is fine too.

What to print? Pro tip

Even though the design and creative part of what to print on t-shirts is up to you, here is one pro tip on how to create a t-shirt for a public event that people love, will wear outside the event, and what you can reuse next year!

Avoid getting a specific year printed on the t-shirts

By not adding a year to the design, you ensure that you can reuse the same t-shirts next year. If that is an annual event, even attendees can reuse their last year’s shirt! It works well not only financially but also environmentally.

Even if the event is not annual, by adding a year you make the t-shirt tied to that time. Yes, vintage and retro are in style right now, but it applies to items that are at least 20 years old. If the shirt has last year’s date, it just won’t feel fresh and trendy, and won’t get used that much.

The only exception is if you are printing t-shirts, for example, for a music band's tour. That way a t-shirt with the year and tour places can be a great trivia item.


The key elements to ordering t-shirts in bulk are time planning and communication with the event attendees and the print-on-demand supplier. Plan ahead, get the wheel rolling, decide on the t-shirt sizes, create a design, order, and celebrate your event with custom t-shirts!

To work with us as a print-on-demand supplier, leave us a message and your personal

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