Creating your own clothing brand is a feat that many people attempt, and companies like Printful are set on helping you make it happen.
But can you really make money this way?
Yes, you can make money selling T-shirts on Printful. It’s a legitimate on-demand printing and fulfillment service that can be integrated into your online store. There are no fees or order minimums – they only charge the cost of manufacturing and shipping once a sale is made.
How much money you earn depends largely on the amount of effort you’re willing to put in to your business. And with this business model, since the fulfillment side of things is handled by Printful, one of the most important tasks you have is marketing. Specifically, getting traffic to your store and converting that traffic into paying customers.
Read on to learn more.
What is Printful About?
Printful is a print-on-demand company that is very similar to other companies like Printify. It was started in in 2013 by David Siksnans and Lauris Liberts.
According to a video on the about page of their website, the idea came about after Lauris started a company that sold motivational posters and, when looking for a printer, the speed and quality did not meet his expectations, so he created Printful.
Basically, it prints and fulfills orders for you. So, if you sell custom designed T-shirts on your online store, Printful would print and ship your product once someone bought it.
This set up is commonly referred to as dropshipping.
Plus, because they only produce your product whenever someone actually orders it (hence the term “on demand”), you don’t have to invest a bunch of money up front stocking inventory or meeting order minimums!
When Printful started, it just offered T-shirts and posters. But now, you can get a variety of products printed through them, such as:
- Phone Cases
- Face Masks
- Coffee Mugs
These are just a few of their many options that are available.
One major plus that Printful has on its competitors is that they offer multiple different ways for you to customize your own branding.
They offer customized neck labels, as well as pack-ins that get shipped with the product, plus custom branded packaging.
Of course, branding is key to being able to successfully build your company and garner a group of loyal customers.
And, with over 11.68 million orders fulfilled and over $438 million sold by their users, they’ve established a rather trustworthy reputation.
They’re a team of over 800 people, with two offices located in Latvia and Barcelona, and fulfillment centers in multiple locations, such as:
- Los Angeles, CA
- Charlotte, NC
- Riga, Latvia
- Tijuana, Mexico
- Barcelona, Spain
Here’s a cool video I found where CEO David Siksnans talks about the company and the potential opportunity it provides aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 and beyond:
How Do You Make Money With Printful?
In order to get started making money with Printful, you will first have to create an account.
To do this, go to their website and click on the link at the top right corner of the page where it says “Sign up” or you can click on the “Start Selling” button on the homepage:
Once you click on either of those links, it will take you to the page to enter in your name, email and a password:
Then you need to begin to set up your store. And Printful can be integrated with many platforms, which gives you some great options. For example:
Once you have everything integrated, then you pick which products you you want to sell and start creating your designs.
One neat thing is that all of your products can be set to automatically sync from your Printful account into your online store. In other words, any changes you make to a product on Printful can automatically show on your online store without any extra effort on your part.
Then, the next step is to start marketing in order to get customers. This is the part that Prinful doesn’t do for you – so you’re on your own with this one. And it’s one of the most important steps of all. However, thankfully there are some really helpful articles out there on how to do this.
Some marketing methods include:
- Building a mailing list
- Starting a blog on your site
- Reach out to bloggers with a big following
- Use paid advertising
- Establish a social media presence
- Offer deals/hold contests
Also, here’s helpful video I found on getting customers to your store:
Anyways, once all that hard work pays off and you’ve made a sale, Printful gets the notification. And from that point, they’ll manufacture the product and take care of all the shipping for you.
And you’ll only get charged from Printful for the manufacturing and shipping costs – there’s no monthly or annual fees. It’s completely free to sign up for.
This is another bonus, as it limits your initial out of pocket expenses.
Printful’s free (and only) membership contains all the features that Printful offers. Plus, you can get a 30% off discount when buying products in bulk, so that’s a nice option.
Unfortunately though, unlike some of their competitors, they don’t offer you the option to choose which supplier you’d like to go with.
That’s a negative because, with other companies that allow you to choose your own supplier, you have more options with regards to the quality standards and cost (as different suppliers have different standards and charge more or less). With Prinftul, they select the supplier based on the shipping location of the product.
How Much Can You Earn With Printful?
Like most businesses, how much money you can make with Printful really depends on how much effort you’re willing put into your business on a consistent basis.
And with this business model in particular, since the fulfillment side of things is handled by Printful, one of the most important tasks you have is marketing. Specifically, getting traffic to your store and converting that traffic into paying customers.
Exactly how you go about this depends on the platform you intend to sell on. For example, the marketing strategy you use for an Amazon store is going to be different to a Shopify store.
But if you can get the marketing side of things dialed in, you can make money this way and potentially a decent income over time. And this is a similar story for most dropshipping style businesses and other, similar platforms like Redbubble for example.
When it comes to costs and profit margins, Printful only charges you the shipping cost and manufacturing cost of the product, but some of their options can be a little pricey.
For example: a men’s T-shirt with an all over print (meaning a design over the entire shirt) from Printify would cost you $25.95. Which means you’d have to charge more than that to your customers to actually make a profit.
However, if your design only has a small graphic in the center of the shirt, you’ll be paying much less and can, in turn, charge much less.
The costs you incur also depend on which platform you sell through.
For example, if you sold online through a Wish store, you’re going to not only have to pay the charges from Printful, but also the fees that Wish takes.
And Wish charges a staggering 15% revenue share, which is basically their processing fee on the total sales price (including shipping). That’s a high percentage, but it’s not uncommon. Etsy has similar high fees as well.
But if you want just bare numbers, the average order price for an e-commerce store is $45. So, if you made one sale a day at the average price, you’d make about $315 a week, or $16,380 per year.
It is possible to make money selling T-shirts on Printful. Of course, there is no guarantee that you’ll make any money, as with any business, but the potential is there. And a large part of how successful you are with Printful will boil down to your marketing and how many customers you can drive to your online store.