How To Make Money With Print on Demand

man printing a shirt for a print on demand store

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Are you looking to make money with print on demand? In this article, we'll go over how to make money with a print on demand store. We'll also cover how much you can make with print on demand and how to run a successful print on demand business.

Additionally, we'll talk about how to set up your store, how to design and create products, and how to make thousands of dollars a month making money online once your store is up and running.

You can start this type of eCommerce business with under $100, but it may take longer to get started. Some people are able to design and sell merchandise online for free, but this may also take some time.

By investing in your business, you'll get off the ground quicker and may turn not only a higher return, but a higher return more hastily.

What is Print on Demand?

Print on demand is a process in which individual copies of items are created at the time of order, eliminating the need for inventory and stock. It's a form of online retail where online shoppers can buy various products with designs printed on them.

Print on demand (or POD for short) is a profitable online business model because you don't need to ship anything yourself, nor do you need to have an inventory. Instead, everything is handled through the printing companies. In other words, the print on demand companies handles order fulfillment for you.

You can use print on demand to start your own brand, create your own custom designs, and sell clothing such as t-shirts and hoodies, and you can also use it for selling phone cases, paintings, shower curtains, bags, coffee mugs, tote bags, canvas prints, wall art, and more.

A Print on demand store can be an excellent side hustle or a full-time endeavor. If you're successful, print on demand can lead you to a steady stream of passive income.

There are many things to consider before starting your print on demand business, which we'll cover below.

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Can You Make Money With Print On Demand?

The short answer is, yes, you can make money with print on demand. But, you'll have to put the work in. You'll need to do things like test products and advertisements to see what resonates with your audience the most. You'll also have to test pricing to see what pricing points work best for each product.

Some stores may not earn much at all, while others may earning tons of money. That said, profit margins are generally on the lower side with this type of business. High volume will help you make real money.

How Much Money Can You Make With Print On Demand?

The amount of money you can make with Print on Demand is highly based on what kind of products you sell, your target audience, and how well you reach them through marketing. If you make one sale per day, you may profit around $5-$8 per day, assuming the customer buys a single t-shirt. This comes out to approximately $150 to $240 per month in mostly passive income.

Through paid advertising, it's quite possible to make many more multiple sales per day, which can multiply your income several times over.

Getting Started With Print on Demand with Printify

To get started, you'll need to find a website that will manage printing your designs and shipping them out to your customers. Printify is a perfect example. Printify allows you to create stores on Etsy, eBay, WooCommerce, Wix, and Shopify. Their print on demand service is free as well, though if you sign up for premium at $29 per month, you'll save up to 20% on all of your orders.

When using Printify, you'll first create a store picking the platform you intend to sell on. Once your store is set up, you'll be able to pick from clothing and other apparel to upload your designs to. They offer loads of custom products and various shipping options.

men's t-shirts from printify.com's website

Each printer has different printing and shipping rates. You can select which printer you want to use on this screen.

print providers from Printify

If you're a US-based company, you might choose a US-based printing company so that your customers get their products shipped to them quicker.

After you've chosen a printer, you can move on to the screen where you upload your design and customize the design further (such as adding color to clothing fabric if you're designing clothes). When you've completed that, you can add a description, and finally, you'll be presented with the cost to make the item and be able to enter your selling price.

Pricing information for various sizes and colors of a t-shirt on Printify

Once you've added all of your designs, you'll be able to export them to your store. Printify handles the dropshipping, billing, and everything else for you. You just need to create the design, price the product, and market it to your audience.

An alternative to Printify is Printful who also sells similar products.

How to Start a Print on Demand Business

To make money with a print on demand business, you'll first need to have some designs. A website like Canva is an affordable and powerful option for creating print on demand designs. Canva has both a free version and a paid version, and the paid version has some features that makes making designs easier, such as the background remover and the transparency tool.

When creating designs on Canva, it's essential to make them as high resolution as possible. For example, a good resolution for a t-shirt design is 4000 x 4000. Printify will often give recommended resolutions based on the product you're printing on.

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You can also hire a graphic designer on a site like Fiverr to make the designs for you. This is an easy way to get catchy designs if you have some money to work with.

Having 20+ different designs when you open your store is recommended, as this shows potential customers that you're a serious store with a wide selection.

Canva design that says Ideas Are Contagious

When it comes to making clothes, there are a few ways to go about it. One is coming up with catchy phrases like you've seen in other online t-shirt stores. Another technique is to use eye-catching imagery with your shirt to create a unique design that people will want to buy because they won't find it anywhere else.

Shattered Ice Women's T-Shirt

Another strategy is to mix both.

Once you've created a design that you like, you'll want to download it as a PNG with a transparent background and prepare it for Printify or your printer of choice. You may also want to make a mock-up on a site like PlaceIt.

You'll want to learn SEO to get traffic to your store. You'll also want to learn how to properly market your designs so that you can get sales. There are multiple ways to go about marketing, but one of the most powerful methods is through social media.

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Creating Mock-Ups for Your Designs

When creating a print on demand product, it's often a good idea to create mock-ups of your products on real people. This allows you to have your products shown in real-life situations and is great for sharing on social media.

You can use a website such as PlaceIt to get started. PlaceIt is a subscription-based website that allows you to upload your designs onto clothing and other apparel with people in real-world situations. This will draw in potential customers that you want to sell your products to.

If you go down the paid advertising route, you will definitely see more results by providing a mock-up with someone wearing or holding your products versus just showing a picture of your product in a plain image.

Hiring a Graphic Designer to Make Your Print on Demand Designs

Of course, you don't need to create your own designs if graphic design isn't your forte. On Fiverr, you can hire designers for as little as $5 to do the work for you.

How to Price Print on Demand Products

A critical aspect of learning how to make money with print on demand is how to price your t-shirts and other products. You might think offering the lowest price compared to your competitors is the only way to make sales. This is a common misconception.

The truth is, you can often price your products somewhere in the middle of your competitors' prices. That is, find your lowest and find your highest competitors and pick a middle-ground.

There are studies behind why this works, and the gist of it is that when people have three or more choices to choose from, price-wise, they often find that the least expensive priced product may be considered “cheap” or low quality and that the most expensive priced product may be a “premium” product. Therefore, many people who want a “regular” product will choose one priced in the middle.

When coming up with a price, you'll need to think about your profit margin. Remember that your price must cover your printing costs, your shipping costs, tax where applicable, and PayPal fees (or your preferred payment method).

When you add up these costs, you still need to make a profit that covers your overhead costs, such as any costs involved in running your business. This may include your web hosting, subscriptions to websites that help you make the products (as discussed earlier in this post), anyone you hire to help you, marketing and advertising costs, and so on.

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How To Market Print on Demand Products

To market your print on demand shirts or other products, you'll want to be present on social media and do SEO on your store.

Social media is one of the best ways to get your products out there. You can use it to share pictures and videos with potential customers, show off new designs, build a following of people who are interested in your work, and more.

Some of the top social media platforms to get you started are:

  • Facebook (a Facebook page works well)
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

With all these things in mind, spreading your name around on social media is the most important thing. You'll want to find ways to do this that don’t feel forced or pushy (i.e., spamming).

You’ll also want to optimize your store for search engines so that customers can find you. To do this, make sure the alt tag on each of your images has the title of your product, as well as descriptions that include keywords your customers may be searching for.

A basic keyword research tool like KeySearch will help you find search terms that your customers are typing into Google.

When selling your products, you’ll want to explain what customers will feel when they own your print on demand products. What will it do for them personally? It’s key to list the benefits versus just the features.

With Facebook ads, or similar paid advertising, it’s essential to know who your target audience is so that you can target them specifically. For example, you might have a t-shirt with a cute design about coffee, and you may choose to target 18-40-year-olds who have a coffee interest and are also interested in shopping. But, of course, this is just an example, and your audience may vary significantly.

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Providing Excellent Customer Service in a Print on Demand Store

Remember, print on demand is an online business, which means you will, at times, have to provide customer support to customers who have questions or who may request a refund or exchange. Make sure you have an email address dedicated to inquiries and that you always respond professionally and as quickly as you're able to.

If you're uncomfortable with working directly with customers, you may want to hire a virtual assistant to check and reply to your emails once or twice a day.

The Overall Workflow of a Print on Demand Business

Once everything is up and running and you're ready to open your print on demand business, here is a walkthrough of how things will go:

  • Customer orders a product from your store.
  • You get paid, and an order alert will activate on your printer's site. If you have automated orders set up, you won't have to do anything further, but if you're doing orders manually, you'll have to approve the order.
  • After the printer processes the order, you'll be charged the costs to your credit card on file.
  • The printer will then create the product and ship it.
  • You use the money you received as payment to pay off your credit card that you're using to cover costs, and you pocket the difference.

This process can be fully automated by having your printer automatically process orders, having a system where your payments automatically go to your bank account, and your bank account automatically pays your credit card bill. Just keep an eye on everything, and you could have a fully automated business.

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Where to Sell Your Products

You can sell your products in several locations, including:

  • Shopify – you can create an entire store on Shopify for a low subscription cost. This is one of the best ways to start a print on demand store.
  • Etsy
  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Your own print-on-demand website

3rd party websites take a cut of your proceeds, but you get a lot more exposure on them. You'll face a lot of competition, but the added traffic is often worth it.

When you make your own website, you'll have more freedom as to how you want to sell your products, but it will often take a lot longer to get noticed. Doing both at the same time is a great option.

As you gain traction, you can start pulling traffic only to your own website if you choose, thus eliminating 3rd party websites from taking a cut of your profits.

What Are Top Print on Demand Sites?

Top print on demand sites where you can start creating an online shop for your future customers include:

There are more popular print on demand sites out there, but those are five to get you started.

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How to Handle Print on Demand Returns

Most print on demand companies, like Prinitfy, will only refund a purchase if the product itself is defective or if the print on demand company made an error. If the customer made an error or is unhappy with the product, you will have to decide how you want to handle it.

Here are some options:

  • No refunds: This option means that if a customer makes a mistake or is dissatisfied, that you’re unwilling to take the product back. This saves you the most amount of money from returns but will make for some unhappy customers over time. Sometimes it’s worth offering refunds under specific conditions to keep customers happy.
  • No refund, but store credit: This is a popular option and grants unhappy customers all or partial credit to buy another item, should they return the item they are unhappy with. When an item is returned to you, you can either keep it or find a way to sell it yourself. If you sell it yourself, you’ll be on the hook for packaging and shipping.
  • Partial or full refund: With this option, you allow your customer to send you back the product they’re unhappy with, and you refund them your money. This will generally make for happy customers, but it can get costly if you get many returns.

How you handle returns may affect future sales or word of mouth about your business, so think strategically about how you want to go about it.

book cover of how to make money with print on demand eBook

Get This Article as a Printable PDF

This article is jam-packed with information.

Download it as a printable PDF, ad-free, and great for reading on-the-go for just $5.

Your purchase helps to support Clean Cut Finance so that we can provide helpful and inspiring money tips to all of our readers.

Thank you!

Wrapping It Up

In this article, we discussed the various ways to make money with print on demand and how to run your print on demand business. As you can see, print on demand is a great way to start making money online.

If you do decide to invest in print on demand as a business model, take some time to get acquainted with the printers you’re using and understand how they work. You may also want to consult a professional for advice and help. 

You want your first few sales to go well since they will be the foundation for future customers. A strong foundation will reduce customer service issues over time and increase repeat orders from satisfied customers.