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Best Print on Demand Companies and Sites to Earn Money From Your Art

12 min read

Are you an artist looking for ways to earn money from your masterpieces? Do you own a business and need some clever ways to spread the word about your brand or event? In either case, print-on-demand companies are the way to go. Print-on-demand companies allow artists to sell art prints and other items with their original artwork.

They can also be used to allow your customers to order products labeled with your own brand or logo. Such products spread the word about your business while also earning you a modest profit.

There is nothing new about selling branded or customized merchandise, but the way that most people get that merchandise has changed considerably. Whereas customization used to cost a pretty penny and take months to deliver, you can now get custom products at a reasonable rate and turnaround time.

There are now a plethora of print-on-demand companies and sites that are competing for business just like yours. If you are interested in earning money or spreading the word about your brand through customized white label products, read on to learn how to take advantage of print-on-demand services.

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How Do Print on Demand Sites Work?

Print-on-demand sites are very similar to dropshipping sites. When you use POD services, items are not printed until they are ordered. Once your customer places their order, the printing company will produce the requested items and ship them out on your behalf. It is important to choose a print-on-demand service that will integrate with your online store so that dropshipping can be utilized effectively.

POD fulfillment services vs POD marketplaces

Most merchants selling products customized with their artwork or branding are looking for POD fulfillment services. These are companies that allow you to connect your online store with custom merchandise, which in turn allows them to print and dropship your items for you with no need to keep inventory.

Print-on-demand marketplaces, on the other hand, are sites that handle everything for you from marketing to order to fulfillment and shipping. If you want more control over how your products are marketed, and/or you are working with a limited operating budget, you should probably use print-on-demand fulfillment services.

From catalog to fulfillment

Print-on-demand fulfillment services all work about the same way. If you are not using a print-on-demand marketplace, you will need to start with your own online store. If you use Ecwid, your online store is easily integrated into most print-on-demand platforms.

From there, you will need to:

  1. Upload your artwork or designs to the platform and select which products you want to offer.
  2. Sell your products through your own marketing efforts (unless using a POD marketplace). You really do this by driving traffic to your online store, which can be done in a number of ways from blogs to social media.
  3. When someone places an order, the print on demand company fulfills that order by printing your custom products and shipping them out to the customer for you.
  4. You can follow up with your customers to make sure they are satisfied with their order since you won’t be seeing it first hand.

As you can see, using print-on-demand websites is not difficult. But how do you choose your print-on-demand partners?

What to Look For in Print on Demand Services

When you are ready to start selling your custom products, you first need to choose a printer. There are a lot of print-on-demand sites out there, so it can be hard to determine which one is right for you. In addition to looking for those that meet your budget, here are some other factors to look for.

Base price and add ons

Every printing service has base prices, and it is easy enough to compare them. Unfortunately, the actual cost of goods sold is not so easily determined. Look for what different sites charge for “add-ons,” particularly items that seem they should be included but upon further inspection of the terms are not.

Potential profit margin

How much money will you make from your custom products? A 10 to 20 percent profit margin is average for the industry. Determine how much you are willing to charge your customers for their custom products, and make sure that your cost of goods sold does not dwindle that amount. This is another important consideration when comparing the pricing of different print-on-demand sites.

Product offerings to be customized

Each print-on-demand company will offer a selection of items that you can customize with your artwork or branding. The most common print on demand products are:

  • Framed wall art or art prints
  • T-shirts, shirts, hoodies, caps, and other clothing or accessories
  • Product catalogs for mailing
  • Tote bags, phone cases, umbrellas, and other accessories

Multiple stores per account

If you have several different stores or target audiences, you will want to have multiple stores within one account. This allows you to offer a wider selection of custom products to a larger audience.

Branding options

Make sure you fully understand the branding options of each print-on-demand company you consider. Will that manufacturer still have their label or brand on the product? Are you limited in your branding options or designs? Know what you can or can’t do before you jump in.

Integrations for shopping

Your primary need for integrations comes into play with your online store. Choose a print-on-demand provider that integrates easily with your online store. You should also make sure that you can integrate with Google Shopping, which brings your custom items up in searches.

Fulfillment and shipping

Before choosing a print-on-demand site to work with, look at reviews for their fulfillment and shipping services. Is the company located in the same country or geographical area? The further your items have to travel, the higher the shipping costs. You could also be looking at significant shipping delays if your items are coming from overseas.

Again, if you have your own online store, there is no need to go with a POD marketplace. Instead, compare fulfillment and dropshipping services and choose the company with the best track record.

Double-check the merchant policies

How and when you get paid from sales fulfilled by the POD service has a huge impact on your business. Make sure their terms are something you can live with. Some print-on-demand sites don’t pay out until after their return period has ended, which could be up to a month. Read over all other terms and conditions carefully to make sure it is a good fit.

Reviews of the Best Print on Demand Companies and Sites

There are a lot of print-on-demand sites out there these days, and we know how hard it can be to choose the right one for your business. Here are our reviews of the top POD sites around.

Merch by Amazon

If you need a POD marketplace, Merch by Amazon is a great place to start. Amazon has long provided authors with a way to sell print-on-demand books, and in 2015 they launched Merch by Amazon to address the same need for custom printed products. You don’t need an online store to use Merch by Amazon, but you can link it to your pre-existing online store.

The platform claims to be free to use, but they do take a cut of any merchandise sold through their print-on-demand service. The best feature of Merch by Amazon is the ability to have up to 8000 designs uploaded to the platform at any given time.

Fine Art America

Fine Art America is a print-on-demand service that caters to artists. The most frequently printed items through this site are wall art prints or framed wall art, calendars, and greeting cards. However, they also print t-shirts, masks, notebook covers, coffee mugs, and more.

Fine Art America is a more versatile POD company, offering the ability to have a free or premium membership. (You still pay a cut to the FAA.) The premium membership is required to be able to link your existing online store with your Fine Art America account. You can also only post up to 25 designs with a basic membership, but the premium option gives you unlimited design options.

Printful

Printful is one of the most used and widely trusted print-on-demand companies. They have reasonable policies, and their payment systems are much simpler than most. Your customer places their order and pays, Printful charges you for the fulfillment and shipping, and you receive the remainder as profit. You must have your own online store, such as your store with Ecwid, to take advantage of Prinful’s print-on-demand fulfillment services.

Printify

Printify is a much more complex platform than Printful, although these are the two most often used POD sites. Printify marketplace can be used by any artist who wants to upload their own designs, but their premium versions do allow you to connect your online store. Premium membership is $29 per month. There is a custom pricing Enterprise option, but it won’t be applicable to most Ecwid users.

POD marketplaces

In addition to the print-on-demand companies listed above, you can also sell custom prints on POD marketplaces such as Design by Humans or Red Bubble. If you have a variety of custom items to offer, you may consider using one of these POD companies to sell items you don’t want to place on your primary online catalog. Fee schedules vary quite a bit here, and you can usually get a better deal by using your own online store with a POD fulfillment company.

Do you want to learn more about the print-on-demand business?

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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