How much money do you need to start a successful print on demand business?

The year of 2020 has created the preconditions for profound structural changes in eCommerce businesses: the revenues of their non-traditional segments exceeded analysts' expectations, but the costs for their development also increased significantly. Multi-Programming Solutions team has found out how the current status of the market economy affected low-cost print on demand and would like to share these details with you. 

According to experts, in 2021-2028, the POD business on T-shirts will increase the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) by 9.7%. For investors, such reporting is a very influential factor - thanks to the development of online platforms and frameworks where all print on demand sites operate, the management of such a business becomes cheaper. The similarity of product sales cycles with dropshipping is a POD competitive advantage: you don’t need an industrial production and warehouse; the second parties are responsible for sending the goods. This type of business has become profitable due to low investment. At first glance, this may seem like fiction and exaggeration. Doubtful social media advertisements to loss-free firms have created mistrust among people in online entrepreneurship. Moreover, the failures stories have long been wandering its vastness. 

This article will discuss real numbers and steps to starting a print on demand business. 

Table of contents

How do you open your POD store and how much does it cost?

Creating your brand design

How much would you need for marketing?

Fulfilling the first sales


Selling online has gone to the next level: the change in marketing principles has been marked by the most considerable quickest profit the world has ever seen. And this happened during Cyber Week 2020 when buyers spent $ 10.8 billion on Cyber Monday, which is 151% more than in 2019. On Black Friday, companies made $ 9 billion in profits, a 21% increase over the previous year. Such amusing statistics are a confirmation of the high eCommerce marginality. But how much does print on demand cost, and is it profitable?

The correct budget calculation is impossible if you don’t consider the product life cycle, from its creation to implementation. Let's look at a real example of store making.

Subscription and store creation cost

The global pandemic has increased the need for stable additional income - this has given impetus to the emergence of significant improvements to the famous eCommerce platforms. We advise you to adhere to the omnichannel principles, namely, to choose the most reasonable purchase method for each audience segment. The first step towards calculating the investment is the subscription, hosting, and domain cost. Platforms like WooCommerce are free to use, but Shopify has a monthly subscription. Etsy and eBay both charge a percentage of sales and ad placement fees. 

Note that the print on demand equipment cost is zero to you as the seller: you can run your startup from the PC and smartphone. You’d think about avoiding mistakes associated with carelessness or long-term completion of the tasks. There’s a PodZa framework, which allows you to automate all product life cycle stages and become one of the top print on demand companies.

Brand building 

If you paint and want to tell the world about your talent, you’ll undoubtedly cope with the logo, design, and assortment creation. By the way, it’s worth considering free design templates when filling your storefront. Otherwise, you’d hire a designer to do it. 

Product testing 

Another expense is store and print on demand prices testing. However, several free tactics allow the newbie to navigate the launched products' performance.

First sales

Set your payment methods - the retail price of the item will depend on the billing fee. 

To most accurately define the degree of future company liquidity, it’s worth understanding how quickly you can sell goods at their nominal price. In POD, it's determined by the market demand and supply. Therefore, each investor should clearly denote a niche and current trends. E.g., the need for organic products has increased significantly, and according to the UN, “the decade of action” has begun. In one 2021 survey, about 27% of respondents chose new sustainable products. Read on to find out how to decide on the brand name and its values.

Top 30+ Print-on-Demand Product Ideas for 2022

Building a unique brand from scratch is no easy task. Its color scheme, name, logo, fonts, online reputation, communication with customers make a specific impression on people. It's all about brand identity, which starts with audience segments comparison and competitors’ analysis. Shop for similar products in other online stores to understand how your future customers will feel.

As you build your brand, think about its focus and tone:

How do you position your company?

Create a brand business card that reveals pretentiousness in the market for similar products. A unique value proposition is what you’re competing for with your rivals.

What is your brand associated with?

Your brand is a personality that has a set of characteristics - e.g., funny dog T-shirts. 

What is your business metaphor?

A distinctive feature of the best companies is the ability to transform them into symbolic objects. E.g., crocodile means Lacoste.

The brand’s name also affects its awareness. It must be unique and international. That’s why sometimes it’s worth using the help of specialists, who will increase your print on demand costs.

Pandemic had far-reaching impacts across most industries, including POD. Typically, marketing costs range from 4 to 10% for well-established companies. But in June 2020, they reached 11.4%, reflecting the continued emphasis on brand awareness. 

If you're a newbie, then for a performance-focused website, marketing costs may estimate around 20-25% of the revenue. Your primary job as an entrepreneur is to sell effectively. Therefore, print on demand costs can include salaries, bonuses, overhead, and taxes. E.g., to launch a completely new product, you’d invest 10-20% sales revenue. 

print on demand costs

Print on demand pricing must include the original value of the item, subscription, shipping, and commission based on the payment method. Your goods may be subject to taxes of about 10% in the United States and 17- 27% in the European Union. Without knowing the location of the customer, you cannot predict the exact rate. When asking how to reduce costs of print on demand, start small. While working with a supplier, ensure that their goods are of high quality. Order product samples - so you can avoid the unwanted consequences of adverse customer reactions. It’s also worth pumping up an SEO strategy that will reduce marketing expenses in the future.

Cost savings in print on demand business depends on the staff you hire. E.g., a designer and marketer who does their job well will help you earn more. Operational tasks that require a lot of time to complete but are the backbone of the business can be facilitated by purchasing a subscription to the PodZa framework. Here you can set any functionality you need to improve your time management. 

A low-cost print on demand business is built on a dropshipping model: the absence of a warehouse and industrial production makes it profitable for beginners. It’d be best to have a minimum investment to start, namely, pay for a subscription on the platform where the store will be created. Subsequent expenses will be considered additional since the design can be made by yourself or download a free version from the stocks. In the beginning, it’s also worth practicing social media marketing and focusing on SEO. As your business scales, your expenses will increase, which is the norm.

September 16, 2021
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