Print on demand is one of the simplest online business ideas and is suitable for young people, content creators or designers. What exactly does the print on demand model mean? It is a form of e-commerce through which you sell personalized products. How to start a print on demand business? This is quite a long story and by the end of this article, you will know how to start, when to do it, what provider to use, and how to turn it into passive income.
The print on demand process allows you to print a single copy or a small print run when there is an order from the end customer. This avoids investments in stocks and offers the freedom to test multiple prints in a single copy. Also, you do not need a warehouse or stock of goods, but only the actual design that you will apply to the products.
How to start the business?
To make your own online store you simply need to integrate the plugin of a print on demand platform such as Printful and to automate the order distribution process. Basically, your store will be connected with different suppliers that print on demand on various objects.
There is another model for print on demand. Just make the design and upload it on various platforms like Amazon Merch. These platforms offer the advantage of huge traffic of potential buyers.
Personally, I prefer the first option. Having your own online store has the obvious disadvantage that you need a proper promotion of your store to have sales, but it compensates with the profit margin which is much higher than the second model.
A business for creative people
If you are a designer or simply want to explore your creativity and want to try what your graphics look like on different objects and start selling them, print on demand is the best choice. It allows you to test new designs, colors and graphics, without fear of printing a few dozen T-shirts that you later fail to sell. Each order is printed on request when there is an order from your customer, so the risk of blocking your money in stocks is minimal.
In addition, on platforms like Printful, the system includes packaging and delivery management to the end customer. In other words, it takes care of your orders, they put the print design on the objects, and they pack them and deliver them to your customers!
For a start, you can promote your work on social networks. Facebook now offers the option of integrating a Shop if you have a public page, and this way you will be able to test what works and what doesn’t.
How do you choose a provider?
Try to find a supplier who can offer you prices without forcing you to create stocks in advance because that is no longer Print-on-Demand. Make sure that the products you want to sell are always in your supplier’s stock or he can ensure a competitive delivery time. Find the supplier who takes care of your products, packs them individually and, ideally, delivers them directly to your customer.
For example, Printful already has providers from various countries all around the globe. When a customer sends his order, the platform will send the package from the closest provider. Also, when you select a product on which to insert a print design, you will see from how many countries that product can be delivered.
At first, I have submitted a test order from Printrove and it came in over a month. Then I went into specialized groups, where people deal with this daily, and I saw high recommendations for Printful and so I chose it.
What can you do when you don’t have any designs?
Here things get a little more complicated. First of all, there is what is generically called copyright, and the images on the internet have an author who worked and created that image. Let’s say you want to print a photo or an image that is not under the protection of a trademark.
Still, even if you go past the copyright problem, you will find most images at a resolution of 72 dpi. This is the standard resolution for the web because smaller images mean pages that load faster, and we all want the internet as smooth as possible.
If you decide to go with Printful for your business, you will not have these problems. On Printful you can add your own design or choose premium photos at a cost of 0.83 euros per piece. That is not bad at all because the pictures have great quality and context and you can just add 0.83 euros to the cost of the products.
The print on demand business offers the possibility to create a relatively constant source of income without considerable effort. I couldn’t consider it a 100% passive income, but certainly, once you have the designs made and posted on the specialized platforms, you won’t have much left to do. You will encounter some additional efforts if you choose the option of an online store, on the ads side where you have to be careful when creating and optimizing campaigns.
For example, you can make $1 a month for each design, which means that for every 100 designs posted on all platforms, you can make around $100 a month. Revenues can increase considerably if you have your own online store, where the profit is usually higher but so are the efforts. In other words, it depends on your ambitions and goals. The mandatory condition to achieve this income is of course to have some awesome designs.
You have no goods on stock, no equipment and most likely you will not have employees. You do not process orders, you do not personalize goods and you do not take care of their delivery. In addition to the fact that you will be calmer, all this helps you save a lot of time by simply getting rid of the logistics. Thus, you have more time to focus on product promotion and the creative side of the business, which will only get easier over time.
Now you know how to start a print on demand business and all you need to do is to set up your account on the chosen platform. As you may have noticed above, I personally would go for Printful and a WordPress website with a Woocommerce plugin. But ultimately, the decision is yours.