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Low-cost business startup – the business model of print on demand and how to start it


Funds are the biggest concern when you want to start a business and the reason why many entrepreneurs find it hard to convert their business ideas into reality. But the good news is that things are changing, and you can now start some businesses that require minimal funds, which should not be hard to afford on your own.

For example, you can start a business of print on demand right from your home, provided you know what it is all about. You can make out from the name that business revolves around printing but does not require setting up any business infrastructure. The business model consists of outsourcing the services of printing and delivery to execute the orders secured online. Since the print-on-demand business does not have any barrier to entry, it is attracting many people who can now fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams.

In this article, we will discuss the steps involved in starting the business of printing and selling customized items to customers who want to create their fashion with exclusive designs that are their very own. For this article on print-on-demand business, we will focus on printed T-shirts with a vast market and growing demand.

Capitalize on the attraction for T-shirts

Starting a print-on-demand business for T-shirts is easy. Custom printed T-shirts are in great demand, and the more variety you can offer in terms of color, fabric, and design higher are the prospects of starting your business on a solid footing. Offering more variety attracts customers and encourages them to spend more, thereby increasing your sales. However, offering too many options is never good as it would confuse customers, and they struggle to make a decision, a phenomenon known as analysis paralysis. You should restrict the offerings to a maximum of 5 types of colors while allowing customers to select any design of their choice.

Get started

To start a print-on-demand business, you must set up an online store, and having a website will help in the better branding of your business. However, you need not start from scratch to start your online store. Readymade stores are available on platforms like Shopify, Etsy, etc., and subscribing to such a platform will make the process of setting up shop very easy.

For selling T-shirts, tie up with a supplier who supplies white label T-shirts to you as and when you need them. You can maintain only a few pieces of each type as inventory.  In accordance with the business model, tie-up with a designer or a few designers who would provide the designs for printing on T-shirts. People who themselves are designers can create their designs and save some money. Select some designs and upload them on your website or create a catalog of various products.

Select a printer

Besides adding products to your store, select a printer who can do all the tasks from printing T-shirts to arranging for its delivery to customers as per the delivery schedule. The printer plays a pivotal role in the print-on-demand business by taking the responsibility of fulfilling the order. Order fulfillment is the process of packing the items and arranging for their safe and timely delivery by using the services of some logistic company. The task is vast and sensitive, too, because a lot depends on customer satisfaction that revolves mainly around the timely delivery of the products.

The ordering process

Once you have the resources lined up and set up your shop supported by your website, it is time to get going. Launch an online marketing campaign for your business to help your brand gain high visibility and drive more traffic to your website to generate qualified leads with high prospects of conversions. Promote your online store and encourage customers to look at your offerings to engage with the brand, be attracted to the unique designs, and feel the urge to order the products.

After selecting the colors of T-shirts and the designs for printing, customers will place an online order and make a payment. Soon after placing the order, the printer receives a signal from the system and gets ready to collect the product and design from you and take necessary action for printing.

Printers as designers

Sometimes printers serving the print on demand companies offer their designs for printing on T-shirts. You can even include some of these designs in the range that you display to customers.  Since printers print a huge variety of designs of various customers, they are often better positioned to innovate and create new and unique designs.

Order fulfillment

Since the printer can see the order, they quickly schedule the printing program by matching the delivery schedule. The printer gathers all customer details from the order and arranges to dispatch the items with help from some logistics or courier company. Usually, it takes about 2 days to print and ship the items.

Create an account with the printer and register your credit/ debit card to charge the amount to your card soon after fulfilling the order.

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