Last Updated on 6 April 2022 by Gertrude
The most popular print on demand product/item is a t-shirt.
You don’t have to print on t-shirts ONLY there are other best-selling print on demand items you can sell.
The best-selling print on demand items include:
What is a Print on Demand Business and How Does it Work?
Print on demand is a type of business where you sell custom printed items online without having an inventory – you sell designs.
These print on demand items include everything from T-shirts, mugs, tumblers, stationery, skateboards, phone cases etc.
With a print on demand business, you will list the items you want to sell without buying inventory, have them printed by your partner company and then they get shipped to your customers on your behalf.
Most print on demand companies will work with you for free and you do not have to worry about the technical side of the business.
Some of these print on demand companies/services include Printify and Printful.
Print on demand is one of the best opportunities for anyone who wants to get into online businesses.
If you are an entrepreneur and you are looking to make money –with little or no capital– by selling items online, a print on demand business is for you.
There is no barrier to entry into the print on demand business and you can undercut competitors in a heartbeat.
In this article, I will take you through everything you need to know about how to start a print on demand business.
I will also give you tips and advice on how you can run a successful print on demand business.
Is a Print on Demand Business Profitable?
Yes. A print on demand business is a very profitable and lucrative business venture.
There is a lot of hype surrounding a print on demand business and part of the reason is that you can make a lot of money with this business.
There is high demand for print on demand/custom-made/unique items and you can earn an income or make a decent living out of a print on demand business.
The wide pool range of customers/competition shows you that you stand a high chance of making lots of profits in a print on demand business.
You can start a print on demand business as a side hustle or work full time and earn a living.
How Do I Start a Successful Print on Demand Business in Kenya?
A lot of people love the idea of print and demand, but they can’t quite grasp how the whole flow works.
Starting a print on demand business is quite simple and fun.
Here is a step by step guide on how you can build your own print on demand business from scratch.
Pick a niche and determine what you want to sell.
This is the first step toward building a print on demand business.
You have to do your research and look at what the industry is offering.
What are your competitors doing and what do your customers want?
Which niches are popular and profitable?
Do not skip this first step.
Establish what niche you want to choose, from apparel print on demand to book print on demand.
Some of the products you can sell with print on demand include T-shirts, mugs, skateboards, athleisure, swimwear etc.
Make a design
After deciding what you want to sell, you can make a design for how you want the print on demand product to be.
The designs may include logos, drawings or texts.
Choose the colour variations you want to add to your print on demand products and check to see if your design can be printed out on different products.
Once you are comfortable with your print on demand design, you can move to the next step.
Build your online store
If you will be selling on the free markets, you may want to build your online store.
Create your own website to sell directly to customers or use eBay or Etsy to sell your print on demand products.
If you will not be doing this, you can use Shopify as your eCommerce print on demand store, where you will be selling your print on demand products.
Choose a good print on demand company and create a product
Have good criteria that you will be using to choose your preferred print on demand company.
Pick a company that has a good reputation and high overall performance.
Some of the best print on demand companies include Shopify, Printful, Zazzle and Redbubble.
Promote your products and your print on demand business
It’s now time to market your print on demand business.
You can use word of mouth marketing to your family and friends and employees as other marketing strategies for an online platform.
Have a good website and a landing page
Good website design is one of the major features to consider for your business.
Have good product images and lifestyle photos of your products. Not just generic mockups.
Check to see if your product is banned on Facebook
There are products that are not allowed on Facebook and it is necessary that you check that, especially for social media promotion.
Finding the right products to sell
The right products to sell are those that have the potential to make you a lot of profit with little investment.
Many prints on-demand business owners go the apparel way.
Partnering with the right print on demand supplier
Find the right print on demand supplier if you want to avoid any inconveniences that may be caused due to incompetence or lack of due diligence thereof.
Market your print on demand business
Promote your print on demand business both online and offline if you want to grow your customer base.
The more customers you have, the more successful your business is.
What Will I Do in a Print on Demand Business?
There are certain things that you will be doing on any typical day in your print on demand business.
- Taking customer orders
- Managing your customer’s printing needs
- Looking for new designs
- Handling billing
- Interacting with your print on demand partnering company
- Marketing and advertising your print on demand business
- Administrative duties
What Do I Need to Start a Print on Demand Business?
This is what you need to start a print on demand business.
- A print on demand software
- A print on demand partnership company
- A business website
- Rental space
- Internet connection
What are the Expenses for Starting a Print on Demand Business?
It is very important that you know the initial startup costs and the ongoing expenses that you will incur when you start a print on demand business.
The expenses you to start a print on demand business include:
- Software expenses
- Website costs
- Employee salary
- Rental expenses
- WiFi expenses
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Print on Demand Business?
A print on demand business has relatively low capital costs.
You can start a print on demand business without money.
This is however dependent on the size of your business and its production capacity.
For example, if you want to focus on large scale production, investing in the right software is the right way to go.
However, for small production, you may need materials that your partnering print on demand company can offer.
Expect to spend at least Ksh. 10,000 to start a print on demand business, depending on the scale of your business.
How Do I Make Money With a Print on Demand Business?
You make money with a print on demand business by earning a profit from the sale of each product to your customers.
How Much Should I Charge in a Print on Demand Business?
The amount of money you charge your customers in a print on demand business depends on the following factors.
- Competition. Look at what your competitors are charging and use that as the base price for which you price your print-on-demand services. Make sure you make your pricing fair, profitable and competitive.
- Quality and breadth of your product line. Choose a product line that you know will give you more profits. Print on demand for apparel may cost less or be higher than print on demand for skateboards.
- Your customers. Upper-class customers are willing and ready to pay more for print on demand products. You should consider your target market demographic and see what you can charge them.
For example, a single print on demand T-shirt goes for Ksh. 1,000 to Ksh. 1,500.
Your fair pricing and pricing for profit attract customers to your print on demand business.
How Much Money Can I Make With a Print on Demand Business?
The amount of money you make with a print on demand business depends on the number of print on demand products you sell and the number of customers you have.
Varying your product selection also means having more customers, therefore, making more money.
If you can produce 50 T-shirt apparel and sell them for Ksh. 1,000 a shirt, you can make Ksh. 50,000 from one sale.
This amount minus the payments to your print on demand company should leave you Ksh. 30,000 or more in a month.
A print on demand business is lucrative and the amount of money you get per unit of production leaves you with tidy profits.
Your customer service and the quality of products you create make customers attracted to your print on demand business.
What are the Best Sites Online to Sell Your Print On Demand Designs?
Here are some of the best sites to sell your print on demand designs and products.
Legal Requirements For Starting a Print on Demand Business
When you are starting your print on demand business, you have to make sure you are in full compliance with the law so that you will not end up paying heavy fines or get your business shut down.
These are the necessary permits and licences you need to start a print on demand business.
- Business insurance
- Occupancy permit
What Skills Do I Need to Start a Print on Demand Business?
There are some skills and qualities that you need to have to start a print on demand business.
Successful print on demand business owners usually has these traits and skills.
- Attention to detail. As a print on demand business owner, you need to be actively involved in your client’s description of their preferred print on demand designs. If you will be doing the printing, be extra keen to produce exactly what your customers want.
- Delegation. Since you will be working with a partnering company, you need to know how to assign tasks and give clear instructions on how you expect your products to be.
- Design and printing skills. If you will be doing the printing yourself, you will need to have excellent design and printing skills in order to achieve the best outcomes for your customers.
- Customer service. Customer service includes timely fulfilment and shipping processes. You have to find your way around how your customers can get their merchandise with as little delay as possible.
- Communication skills. Be a good communicator and listen to what your customers want for their print on demand products. Ask questions and get feedback from them.
- Marketing skills. You have to know how to promote your print on demand business if you want to get more clients and make more profit. In the following topics, we will talk about how to attract clients and promote your print on demand business.
Who are the Customers in a Print On Demand Business and How Do I Get Them?
The customers in a print on demand business vary.
So, ask yourself, who is your target market?
Who do you want to sell your designs to and why?
Do these customers appreciate these kinds of designs and why?
The following are strategies for getting customers to your print on demand business and the strategies include:
Word of mouth
Have friends and family spread the news about your print on demand business and within no time, you will get customers for your print on demand business.
Ask for referrals
After getting your first customer through the word of mouth, ask for referrals if the customer enjoyed your products and services.
A print on demand business seems like an easy business but the complications of running a print of demand are dealing with a fulfilling service that doesn’t have high-quality products.
Satisfied clients refer or promote your business.
Come up with ideas to make these referrals profitable by offering discounts or offering attractive incentives.
Use social media
Use Facebook and Instagram or any social media your customers are on to promote/market your print on demand business.
Use Business cards
Have a business card with good branding, business details and contact information so that your clients will know how to reach you when they need your print-on-demand services.
Create a website.
A print on demand business cannot undermine/underlook the importance of a website.
Your website should have good content about your print on demand products.
Have nice photos of your products in different styles.
For example, if you’re selling t-shirts have the t-shirts in small, large, extra large and extra extra large sizes.
Then get models to show how the T-shirts drape or look on them.
Having a website means organic traffic to your business because sales start from Google.
Shoppers these days love to compare prices of products online – on Google.
Use affiliate programs to help your customers earn more money
Have an affiliate link to promote your print on demand business and products and make more sales.
Advantages of Starting a Print on Demand Business
These are some of the benefits of starting a print on demand business.
- Less work, more efficiency. With a print on demand business, you don’t have to do a lot of work that involves getting inventory and printing. This business is much like dropshipping. A partnering print on demand company will do that for you.
- No need to buy print on demand equipment. If you will not be doing the printing, you do not need the print-on-demand equipment. This saves you startup costs.
- Saves time on the technical side of the business. Since all the fulfilment and shipping of your print on demand products is done for you, you can focus on other aspects of the business like marketing.
- Easy to experiment with different products. A print on demand allows you to try out the different inventory and how a given text or design would go on them before you print them.
- Easy to customise your designs. A print on demand business allows you and your customers to select the designs you would like on your merchandise. This kind of flexibility is very good for business.
- No printing in bulk. As the name suggests, the products are only printed on demand. You do not have to produce a lot of stock and end up getting worried if they will sell.
Disadvantages of Starting a Print on Demand Business
These are the problems or challenges that you will face when you start a print on demand business.
- Higher costs for wholesale items. When you are buying higher cost items, the prices go up drastically. You have to plan and budget well for this business if you want to see success.
- Highly competitive. Around 99.99% of people who start a print on demand business fail, no matter how good their products are. You should implement unique strategies that will help you undercut your competitors in a heartbeat.
- Less control over the fulfilment process. Since your partnering print on demand company will be doing the fulfilment for you, it means you do not have much to say in case of delays or packaging decisions.
- You depend on your print on the demand partner’s stock levels. Your partnering company may sometimes give a limited amount of stock levels. This is not good for business, especially if you are going for a large production.
- Longer fulfilment times. This rests entirely on the partnering company. They may cause delays that you have no control over. This paints you in a bad light for your customers.
Mistakes to Avoid When Running a Print on Demand Business
These are the common mistakes that you need to look out for when you start a print on demand business.
- Failure to see if your design can be printed out on a different product. Say for example you have logo designs for a business that should go on a shirt. Can this design also be placed on mugs, tumblers and capes?
- Failure to check if your written phrase is trademarked and avoid copyright. This is very important and should not be skipped over. You do not want to end up getting used or have your print on demand products damaged because of this.
- Settling for only one range of products. If you want to run a stable business, consider investing in a different range of products so that you can satisfy a variety of customer needs.
- Failure to check your print provider options before selling internationally. Make sure you check your partnering company’s print provider options before you go international. This avoids any future inconvenience to your customers.
Unique Print on Demand Business Ideas to Make More Money
When you are starting your print on demand business, it is important to remember that print on demand is a competitive business.
Ask yourself how will you stand out from the competitors?
I would look at the different print on demand business ideas online.
Looking at what sells in a print on demand business helps you determine what to sell in your print on demand business.
Plus, you will get to know how to be creative and unique so that you can influence more customers to visit your business.
Here are examples of some of the best ideas to try in your print on demand business and they include:
- Start a customs printing business
- 3D printing
- Digital printing
- Print communications business
- Business cards printing
- Postcard printing
- Photo printing
- Online arts printing
- Start a framed print eCommerce
- Printable sales business
- Screen printing
- Security printing
FAQs on Starting a Successful Print on Demand Business From Home
Is Print On Demand a good idea?
YES, a print on demand business is a good idea because it involves minimal risk and is a low-cost business.
What are the best print on demand sites and services?
The best print on demand sites and services include:
JetPrint for shoes, yoga accessories
What do you need to consider when choosing a print on demand supplier?
The following are things to consider when choosing a print on demand supplier and they include:
Quality products – see that the ink doesn’t rub off
Ask what do the non-printed products cost?
Can the service allow you to sell on sites like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Shopify?
How do I start a print on demand business?
The following are ways to start a print on demand business and they include:
Determine what to sell
Make a design
Build a store
Choose the print on demand company/service you will use
Start promoting your product – this should come after making the design.
How do I get my first print on demand sale?
You make your first sale in a print on demand business by marketing and making designs customers need.
You need to know who your customers are and what they want.
Do you need money to start a print on demand business?
Yes, you need money to start a print on demand business.
Even though the money/startup capital is minimal (10k shillings).
Do print on demand stores make money?
Yes, print on demand stores makes a lot of money – some more than 100m shillings a year.
To make more than side hustle money in your print on demand business, you MUST determine what you sell and what your target audience wants.
For example, there is a huge demand for custom-made sneakers, how can you speak to the sneakers audience with your print on demand items?
Resources Related to Starting a Successful Print on Demand Business
The following are related resources to read further before starting a print on demand business and they include:
What Are The Best-Selling Print On Demand Products/Items to Sell With High-Profit Margins and Demand?
What is Dropshipping (Everything YOU Need to Know About Dropshipping in Kenya)
Best Selling Print on Demand Kitchen Products to Sell Online in Kenya
There’s competition in all online businesses and especially within a print on demand business.
Print on demand is a type of dropshipping.
In a print on demand business, you create eye-catching designs, sell the designs online and a print on demand service will take care of the rest.
Popular print on demand products includes t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, towels, phone cases, blankets, pillows, blankets, bedsheets, duvets, bags, backpacks, tote bags, pants, leggings, face masks, wall art, kitchen accessories, jacket, yoga mat, flipflop (slippers), sneakers and boots.
You have a wide selection of products to begin your print on demand business with.
If starting a print on demand business today, I’d recommend you to begin with children’s items.
Children are born daily in Kenya and parents want to buy unique items for their kids.
After getting customers, you can expand your product selection.
The print on demand industry is expected to grow to billions of dollars in profit in the next five years because of the increase in custom-made goods instead of mass-produced goods.
Before starting a print on demand business, ensure you market your designs to customers.
Education serves a great purpose for customers who don’t understand what print on demand is.
The more you market the more you understand what customers want and which makes it easier for you.
Do you want to start a print on demand business today but got confused about how to get started?
Do you now understand what a print on demand business is?