The way eCommerce works has changed because of the Print on Demand model.

It’s a great business for people who like to be creative and are good at art.

You don’t have to worry about stocking warehouses with products or doing any other time-consuming tasks. Plus, a POD business doesn’t require huge upfront capital.

So, do you want to get into the POD business?

Then scroll down and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to start a print-on-demand business.

Let’s begin!

What Is Print on Demand?

With Print on Demand, you work directly with a supplier to make white-label products like t-shirts, tote bags, and posters.

You or the customer can add their own touch to these products.

The catch with a POD business is that products are only sold when someone places an order. You don’t keep items in stock, and your supplier won’t make them until a customer orders them.

Also, the supplier takes care of packaging and shipping. This is another way that POD is similar to dropshipping.

Is Print on Demand Worth It

It is clear that Print on Demand is worth it. It’s still a great way for people to start a business without having to put up a lot of money right away.

But as competition grows, the chances of starting a POD business that does well are getting lower. If you had started POD 5 years ago, you would have been ahead of the game.

But as of 2022, it’s clear from this graph from Google Trends that POD has become commonplace.

POD Trends
Since more and more people are interested in the POD model, the competition is harder than ever. To get buyers’ attention, you would need to come up with a good marketing plan.

But as a whole, it’s too soon to say that the POD model is full. To do well, you just have to be more creative than your competitors.

How to Set Up a Successful Print on Demand Business

Starting a POD business might look hard at first, but it’s actually pretty easy. Follow these easy steps, and you’ll have your own Print on Demand store up and running in no time:

Brainstorm Designs and Ideas

When starting a POD business, the first step is to come up with creative designs.

If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, here are some suggestions to help you:

Look at what other stores are doing. It’s okay to get ideas from them. But make sure you don’t copy and paste the exact design, as that could get you in trouble with the law.
Create Several Drafts: Instead of coming up with ideas for the “perfect” design, start by making several drafts. Remember that “quantity breeds quality,” so having more ideas can help you get closer to your real goal.
Check out what’s new – Find out what designs are selling well with your target audience. For example, if you want to sell t-shirts, look at what designs are popular among celebrities and give them your own spin.
The hardest part of starting a POD business is without a doubt coming up with ideas. Even if you let customers customize products, you should still have ready-made designs in your store to attract impulse buyers.

Lastly, you should always keep in mind that not all of your ideas will work. Trial and error is inevitable so don’t let failure discourage you.

People who want to try out a product before buying it should use the Print on Demand service.

You can try out thousands of white-label products with an infinite number of different designs and combinations.

If you find a good product, you can start making steady money without doing anything. If not, you’ll need to come up with some new ideas.

Overall, Print on Demand is a great business model for beginners because of how flexible it is.

But POD does have some problems, like the fact that you can only sell a limited number of products and that it gives you a low profit margin.

If you don’t like how this model limits the products you can sell, dropshipping might be a better option.

Decide What Product to Sell

People often think that the only things you can sell with a POD business are t-shirts, mugs, and hoodies.

Even though these items are incredibly popular, you can also sell other things in your POD shop, such as:

Bags with faces on them
Socks \sBedsheets \sPosters
If you can find the right POD jewelry companies, you can also sell custom-engraved jewelry in addition to printed products.

If you can’t decide what to sell, you can also offer POD services on sites like Etsy and Amazon. Explore the sites to find out which products sell the most, and read customer reviews to find out where your competitors are weak.

Remember that no matter what you’re selling, you should try to set yourself apart from the competition.

You don’t have to make a new product for that to happen. Just focus on making great products, and people will come to you on their own.

men s white shirt

Set Up an Online Store

Before you start your POD business, you also need to make a big choice about how you will sell your products. You can sell on an online marketplace or set up your own online store. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of each method:

Selling on an Online Marketplace 

POD services can be offered by merchants on many online marketplaces.

If you go this route, the best part is that you won’t have to do all the work it takes to build an online presence because you’ll get free traffic from the platform’s other users.

You can start selling on the site as soon as you make an account and add your listings. This takes away the trouble of having to buy hosting, design the site, and deal with other technical issues that come with making an online store.

But there are some bad things about selling on online marketplaces as well. One of them is that you will have to depend on the platform and won’t be able to brand yourself on your own.

If your account is ever banned from the marketplace for any reason, you will have to start over. Another problem is that there is a lot of competition in most online markets.

There are probably hundreds of other stores selling the same thing, which makes it hard for you to attract customers.

Even if you only sell on an online marketplace, it’s still possible to run a successful POD business, but if your main goal is to build a brand, this isn’t the best way to do it.

Creating Your Own Online Store 

This method takes a little more work because you have to set up an online store first. There are many online store builders, such as BigCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce, that can make this part easier.

Most POD companies also make it easy to connect to these platforms, which makes it easy to sell online.

Your choice of eCommerce website builder will depend mostly on what you need and what you like. Compare their features and choose the one that works best for you. While you’re at it, make a logo and brand for your store. Customers will remember you longer if your logo and brand identity look professional.

The best thing about having your own online store is that you are in charge of your brand. You don’t have to follow any rules or policies, and you don’t have to worry about your account being closed.

As for the downsides, you’ll have to spend a bit more money and learn a bit more about technology. Also, building a brand presence to bring people to your business is another challenge.

Which Method Should You Choose? 

It’s easy to sell on an online marketplace, and you can get free traffic by doing so.

But the biggest problem is that you can’t build a brand, and most marketplaces take a cut of your sales, which cuts into your profit.

On the other hand, starting a store from scratch may sound like a huge job, but it’s better in the long run because you can build your own brand.

In the end, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, the second method is definitely the way to go.

Create a List of POD Companies

You can’t start a Print on Demand business if you don’t have a reliable supplier who can get the orders ready and send them out.

POD companies on a list
This is the hardest part of the whole process because it affects your business’s reputation and its future.

Take your time and make a list of the best POD companies before you choose a supplier. Then, use the following criteria to narrow down your choices:

Product Variety 

You probably already know what you’re going to sell at this point. Get rid of the suppliers who can’t meet your product needs.

Print Quality

The whole point of a POD business is to sell things that can be printed. So it’s clear that you should be able to give your customers high-quality prints.

This is especially important if you sell things that can be cleaned. You don’t want the t-shirts’ designs to disappear after just one wash.


You shouldn’t keep a supplier on your list if they can’t work with the marketplace or platform you want to use.

Shipping Time

In a POD business, you can’t control how long it takes to ship because all of the orders are filled by your supplier. What you can do, though, is find out where their warehouses are.

You should only work with a company whose warehouses are close to, if not in, the country where you do business.

This will help you cut down on lead times because, after a customer places an order, the supplier also has to make the product, which can take more time.

Customer Support 

Lastly, good customer service is important when picking a POD company because you will depend on your supplier for everything.

Your top priority should be to find suppliers that at least let you track shipments so you can tell your customers how their orders are doing.

Devise a Solid Marketing Strategy

Lastly, if you open your own store, you’ll need a good marketing plan from the start if you want to be successful.

Every eCommerce business has a different marketing plan based on its goals, products, and customers.

But here are some general tips to help you market your POD store, especially if you’re starting from scratch:

Social Media Marketing

Businesses need to use social media marketing now more than ever. It lets you talk to millions of people around the world and helps you build a brand image that people will recognize.

Which social media platform you use to market your business depends mostly on who you want to reach and what you want to sell.

If your POD items are jewelry, clothes, or other trendy things, you might want to make short videos for TikTok marketing. Getting shoutouts from Instagram influencers is another popular way for a brand to build its reputation and get more attention.

No matter which platform you choose, you should keep your account up-to-date and post new content every day to keep people interested.

Start a Blog 

One of the best ways to get natural traffic to your site is to start a blog.

Even though it takes a lot of time and work to run a blog, in the long run, it can help you rank much higher on the SERPs.

Also, there are a lot of things you could talk about in your POD blog, from different ways to print to products and designs. This makes it easy for you to write content that is informative.

Run Paid Ad Campaigns 

Lastly, running paid ad campaigns is one of the best ways to bring in more traffic and make more sales. But keep in mind that advertising campaigns can cost a lot of money.

To get the most out of your money, you need to know who you’re trying to reach. If you don’t, a lot of people who have nothing to do with your store will come to it.

Tips to Successfully Run a Print on Demand Business

On paper, starting a POD business might seem easy, but there are a lot of things that can go wrong. So here are some tips and ways to deal with some common problems:

Work with Professional Designers 

There’s no doubt that appealing designs are a big part of how well a POD business does. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a professional designer to make them.

You can hire professional artists to make those designs for you as long as you have a clear idea of what you want and know how the POD business works.

First, the designers should know that you’re hiring them for printing, so they can set up the design file appropriately and save it with a 300 dpi resolution.

The area on the product where you can print should be the same size as the images.

Depending on the printing method, the print may have different specs. Send the changed specs to the designer every time you make a change.

Validate Your Ideas 

Even if you like a design, that doesn’t mean that your customers will too.

At the end of the day, a POD business will only make money if people like the design and quality of the products you sell.

Before you decide on a design idea, you should try to find out what your target audience thinks about it.

You can get direct feedback from the public on your design by posting it on your social media accounts and on popular forums like Reddit.

If you don’t want to tell everyone, just tell some of your friends who will tell you the truth.

Create Mockups of Your Products

Most popular POD companies have a tool called a “mockup” that lets you see what the final product will look like.

If the platform doesn’t have a mockup generator, you can look for templates online or use Photoshop or other tools for editing.

If you don’t know how to use it, try watching a tutorial online, because it really is worth going the extra mile.

Always Test the Product Quality

Quality control is an important part of running a POD business well. Your product should look and feel just like you tell your customers it will.

You can’t check each product before it ships, but you can be your own customer and order samples to see if the supplier is meeting the quality standard you want.

You can also use this time to take pictures of your products that will look good on your website. All in all, it’s a win-win situation.

Be Upfront about Shipping Times

You don’t have much say over how long the product takes to ship. But you can control what customers expect if you don’t make promises that can’t be kept.

It’s important to remember that because POD products are made for each order, the lead time is usually longer. Keeping this in mind, you should give yourself at least two to three days for production.

Then, figure out how long it will take to get there based on the distance and the shipping method. If you don’t tell the truth about shipping times from the start, your inbox will soon be full of questions about shipping.

We suggest making a separate Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section for shipping questions so you don’t have to answer the same questions over and over again.

Offer Bundles and Discounts 

Most people think that a POD business has a low profit margin. This is because most POD items are cheap. If you want to make more money, you need to sell more.

For that, your marketing needs to be more creative. Try giving your customers discounts when they buy more than one item. For example, you could sell a bundle of 3 t-shirts for $27 instead of $30.

If you can, try to sell items that go well with the main ones. Free shipping on orders over a certain amount can also help you get more sales.

Overall, there are a lot of creative ways to market your POD business that you can use. Try different things and see what works best.

FAQs about How to Start a Print on Demand Business

Is Print on Demand Profitable? 

Whether or not Print on Demand makes money depends on what you expect it to do. If your main goal is to make a passive income every month, then POD can help you reach that goal.

But don’t have too high of hopes, because POD alone won’t make you rich.

How to Promote Your Print on Demand Business?

There are many ways to get the word out about your POD business. You can start by marketing on social media, running paid advertising campaigns, starting a blog, or even making an email list.

Try out different ways to market your business to see which one works best for you.

How Much Can You Make with Print on Demand?

How much money you can make with Print on Demand depends on the product, how you market it, and who you’re trying to reach.

If you sell two items every day and make $5 from each sale, you’ll make $300 per month.

We know that this doesn’t sound like much, but the profit grows with the number of sales, so it’s hard to say how much.

Final Thoughts 

People who want to try out a product before buying it should use the Print on Demand service.

You can try out thousands of white-label products with an infinite number of different designs and combinations.

If you find a good product, you can start making steady money without doing anything. If not, you’ll need to come up with some new ideas.

Overall, Print on Demand is a great business model for beginners because of how flexible it is.

But POD does have some problems, like the fact that you can only sell a limited number of products and that it gives you a low profit margin.

If you don’t like how this model limits the products you can sell, dropshipping might be a better option.