Want to start a Print on Demand business, but don’t know how much money you need to start? Read on to find out the exact costs involved with starting this business.
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Before you start a Print on Demand business, you need to be aware of the costs involved. If you don’t, you risk facing several unexpected road bumps in the future.This article will cover all of the costs involved with starting a Print on Demand business, and even show you how you can start for free!
How much does it cost to open a Print on Demand store?
When building a Print on Demand store, there are two methods that you can take.
The first method is to open a Print on Demand store using a third party marketplace.
The biggest benefit about this is that it requires absolutely no money to start this way. You can open a store and start generating money, without investing a penny. This is the free way.
And there are a number of online marketplaces that allow you to do this. Here are four that we highly recommend.
TeeSpring. This is a website that lets you set up a free store where you sell your own custom products using their built in Print On Demand app.
Merch by Amazon. This marketplace allows you to come in and use their product creator to create your own products. And just like with Teespring, it’s absolutely FREE. When somebody purchases your item, they’ll take the money the customer paid, remove their fees, and pay out the profit to you in the form of a commission.
eBay. While eBay doesn’t have any built in Print On Demand functionality, you can integrate Print On Demand services like Printify and Printful directly into your eBay store.
Etsy. Similar to eBay, Etsy doesn’t have any built in Print On Demand functionality, but you can integrate free Print On Demand services like Printify and Printful directly into your Etsy store.
If you don’t have money at hand to invest, then this method is a great option to get the ball rolling. And once you start to generate sales, then you can reinvest your earnings back into your business, and graduate to building your own store.
The second method is open a Print on Demand store on your own website. This will cost you money, but it has several advantages over the free method.
Here are just a few of the benefits:
- You control the customer journey
- You decide how you want to market your products
- You don’t need to adhere to any rules or regulations
- You aren’t competing with other sellers
To build your own store, we recommend that you use Shopify. This is the fastest, easiest way to build a professional looking eCommerce store, without any prior experience.
There are three plans that Shopify offer you. A basic plan ($29/month), standard plan ($79/month) and advanced planned ($299/month). As a beginner, a basic plan of $29 a month is more than enough to get you going, and will provide you with everything you need to start.
But in addition to this, you also need a domain for your website.
You can purchase this directly from Shopify for $14. Or if you’d prefer to save money on cost, you can purchase a domain from Namecheap instead for a $8.28.
However, purchasing a domain from Namecheap and connecting this to your store can be quite a hassle if you have no technical knowledge with nameservers.
And so, as a beginner, you’re better off saving the hassle by purchasing a domain through Shopify, which is already connected to your store.
So this means that in total it’ll cost you $43 to open a Print on Demand store.
Additional costs you can invest
If you want to take your store up a notch, then you should be willing to invest more money into improving your online store.
If that is a possible option for you, then here are two other things we recommend adding to your store.
A logo from Fivver
As you’ll be building a real brand, it’s important to create your own logo to help customers notice your store.
Luckily, you don’t need to be a professional graphic designer to create one. You can very inexpensively hire a logo designer on Fivver for as low as $5 to create one for you.
This is a tool that lets you create lifestyle mock up pictures. Lifestyle pictures convert much higher than a standard product on a white background picture.
Placeit costs $14 a month to download as many pictures as you want, and is well worth the money.
How much does it cost to create Print on Demand designs?
You’re now know how much it’ll cost to build an online store. But what about your designs?
See, unlike Dropshipping, Print on Demand allows you to create your own unique products, rather than competing against other sellers.
On the flip side, however, it is now up to you to make those products. And not every design that you sell will make money.
And so you now have two options. To either create your own designs or to hire a graphic designer to create them for you. Let’s look at the first option.
Creating your own designs
The biggest benefit of creating your own designs is that you don’t need to invest any money. You can create a money making design out of your own creativity.
And when we say creativity, we don’t mean you need to create a whole new design. Why? Because successful sellers have already done the job for you.
They have figured out what designs SELL and what designs don’t. It is your job to leverage this and improving upon an already existing design.
To do this, you’ll need a tool where you can edit designs. One free yet highly effective tool that we recommend is Canva. This tool allows you to create and edit your own images, packed with lots of useful and exciting features.
One great thing about Canva is that it has a huge selection of open source graphics and fonts. And this one here is big, because the majority of successful Print on Demand designs are text based, rather than illustrations. This is why it’s easy to recreate most designs with nothing but a free tool like Canva.
But don’t mix the word “recreate” with the word “copy.” We aren’t saying that you should copy anybody’s design. Instead, the goal is put your own twist on a winning design, so that it’s BETTER than the existing design.
So basically, you’re building upon a good design that is already proven to sell.
However, we know that not everybody is the creative type. And trying to create your own designs isn’t something everyone is willing to do.
That is why, if you want to speed up the process of creating designs, hiring somebody else to create your designs for you is probably a better option.
Our personal recommendation for finding highly rated, yet low-cost designers is from a site called Fiverr. On here, you will find several highly rated designers who will create t-shirt designs. In general, you should set aside $15-$25 for each design made by a Fiverr artist.
How much money do you need for marketing?
So you’ve set up your store, which is great. But a store will not make you any money unless you can get customers in your door.
How can you attract relevant visitors to your store? There are three methods in particular.
The first method is to take advantage of free search engine traffic from Google by making some modifications to your store to make it Google friendly.
To learn more about how to generate traffic with SEO, check out this article over here.
The second method is to create a Facebook fan page. This fan page is designed to build a big following within your niche your store is built around.
Once your page has enough followers, you can start to post your products on your fan page, directing followers over to your Print on Demand store.
The third method is to use paid traffic.
The truth is, if you really want to make big money fast in Print on Demand, then you need to be willing to invest money into paid advertising.
Paid social media ads are the fastest way to drive high quality traffic & potential buyers to your store. Plus unlike with organic free traffic, you can scale your traffic and profits with paid ads at a faster rate.
So let’s say you’ve created a t-shirt and your ready to market it. How much should you budget for a Facebook ad campaign for it?
What we recommend you do is set up a Facebook ad campaign for it. Set your budget to be $5 a day. And run your ad for three to four days.
If your ad breaks even or is profitable, then that’s awesome. You can gradually increase your ad budget. For example, go from $5 a day to $10 a day for your ad. When you find a product like this, you have found a winning product.
However, if you find your losing money, then kill the and choose another product in your store to run ads on.
This process of advertising different products is called “testing.”
Your probably thinking “How many products do I need to test until I find a winner?”
This is a great question. And the answer to this is that nobody knows.
You see, market research is a big part of business. And even experienced Print On Demand marketers don’t know which products will be successful, until they test them with customers and see what they like and don’t like.
It’s impossible to know how many products you’ll have to “test” until you find a winner. So what we recommend is that you set a DAILY budget you’re willing to spend until you find your winning product. This could be $5 a day or even $20. It’s entirely up to you and your willingness to invest into your success.
The fourth “hidden” cost: Fulfilling your customers orders
This is a cost that not many people talk about. But is probably the most important.
Usually, people ask “If a customer orders a Print On Demand item in my store, who pays that Print On Demand service for it – me or the customer?”
The answer is that you pay for the item.
Here is an example of how it works when using Printify as your primary Print on Demand service.
- When a customer places an order in your store for this pillow, you receive this money via Stripe or PayPal (two of Shopify’s payment gateways).
- Then Printify will, by default, scan your store once per day for any customer orders that need to be fulfilled.
- When Printify finds a customer’s order, they will automatically start the fulfilment process for the coffee pillow.
- While at the same time, charge the credit or debit card you have on file inside of your Printify account.
This is the basic fulfilment process for every order placed in your store. But when you’re starting out, the money you receive from a customer could take several days to arrive in your bank account. And this time period varies depending on which country you live in. (With PayPal, it can even take up to 21 days to receive your money when you are first starting out)
So it’s important to make sure that you either have a credit card or money set aside so that you can purchase these items in advance to tide you over in the meantime.
Credit cards are usually the best option for this, because you normally have 4-5 weeks to pay off the balance without any added interest. And you will receive your payment way before that happens!
The Bottom Line
The four costs outlined in this article are all equally important when building a Print on Demand business.
And as you can see, you can also start for the price of nothing, given that you’re willing to put in the work!
Knowing how to prepare financially prepare yourself to start a Print on Demand business is essential to help you to avoid facing any pitfalls or roadblocks in the future.