Print on Demand

Print on Demand

Print on Demand is a type of dropshipping. It is a way for a business to sub-contract the risk of holding stock and failing to sell the stock at a profit. You could use a "Print on Demand" supplier to print your design on say a shirt (after the shirt has been bought on-line) and to send that shirt directly to the buyer. As the seller, you never actually see the product. All your energy as a business can go to building a brand and marketing your selected products.

There are two types of Print on Demand companies that can supply to you. There are companies like Printful that directly hold stock themselves and print themselves. Then there are companies like Printify that don't actually hold stock or print but have built relationships with a number of different Print on Demand companies and they handle the logistics just like they were a Print on Demand company themselves. Nothing is stopping you from using both types of company as suppliers - for example, both Printful and Printify.

Think of it like buying a Pizza online from Dominos or buying a Pizza online from Deliveroo.

Online stores like Shopify and Etsy have built interfaces with Print on Demand companies to make it easy to sell products printed on demand on their platforms.

So how easy is it to use Printful?

  1. Go to and Sign Up for an account.
  2. Select whether you want to sell online or shop for yourself.
  3. Confirm your email address by clicking button in email received.
  4. Now go ahead and select a product and add your own design.

For example, if you search for T-Shirt in the search bar you will be presented with many different T-Shirt brands. Each product will have a price for the shirt itself. In business terms, this would be the price you pay for the shirt itself without additional printing costs. Select a brand such as Unisex Staple T-Shirt - Bella + Canvas 3001.

Now choose a colour for your T-Shirt and a size for your shirt.

Now click on the Start Designing button. In the designer, you can upload designs to go on the front and the back of the shirt. You can even have an outside label, an inside label, a left sleeve design and a right sleeve design. You get one design free but then have to pay for additional designs so have to check the costs for each additional design.

Printful allows you to create one sample order a month with a maximum of three products for a reduced cost. Typically this would be necessary when you want to test a new product or do market research with a new design.

If you actually want to sell products as a business, the process is similar but instead of choosing a shirt with a particular colour and size, you select a range of sizes and a range of colours that suit a particular design. Typically you would use an online store like Shopify and your customer might then select a T-Shirt design they like and would then select their size and colour preference. The price on the Shopify site would be your chosen price marked up from your known costs to give you a profit. Once your customer has made a purchase, their product would be printed, packed up and sent to them directly by the Print on Demand company like Printful. The online store would deal with the invoice and sales tax and you would be responsible for paying your supplier.

Take a quick look at a getting started guide on YouTube: