Printing on demand (POD) has been a trending buzzword in the world of business and entrepreneurship. The idea of creating customized merchandise and managing inventory can be time, resource, and cash-intensive. This is where the concept of POD comes into the picture, enabling businesses to manufacture products on an as-needed basis as opposed to mass production.
But is print on demand profitable? Print-on-demand (POD) can be a profitable business model with an average profit margin of POD businesses around 7% to 10%. With POD, you can offer customized or niche products without keeping inventory, reduce costs, and increase profits. Selling online, in general, can be challenging, but with good branding and marketing methods, you can succeed with POD.
If you are looking for a profitable alternative to enter the eCommerce space, I encourage you to consider print on demand. As promising as it may seem, print on demand businesses have their own share of pros and cons that need to be evaluated before diving in. Check out this article if you wonder how much you can make with print on demand.
What Is Pring On Demand?
Print on demand (POD) is an e-commerce business model involving working with a print provider to print and distribute physical books, t-shirts, mugs, and other merchandise on an as-needed basis. Unlike traditional publishing, where items are printed in large quantities and must sell to make a profit, POD eliminates the need for inventory.
This frees creators from the risk of investing in products that may not sell and makes it easier for small businesses to break into publishing or eCommerce in general.
Pros Of Starting Print On Demand Business
- POD Allows Small Businesses And Independent Creators to Create Unique Products: Starting a print-on-demand business allows any creator to create unique products that aren’t available anywhere else, making their products much more desirable to niche audiences who are looking for something original and individual. Also, because POD products aren’t mass-produced, they can be sold at a higher price point, which translates to greater profits for creators.
- POD Eliminates Shipping And Handling Costs: Because items are printed and shipped directly to customers, creators no longer have to worry about the costs and headaches associated with storing and shipping inventory. This means more time and money for creators to focus on their art and business.
- Low Start-Up Costs: One of the key advantages of the POD business model is its low start-up cost. As the products are not produced in bulk, the initial investment is quite low, which means you don’t have to put out substantial capital to get started. You can simply create your designs, upload artwork, and start selling directly through a platform such as Amazon KDP or a website integrated with your printing provider such as Prinful.
- Low Overhead Expenses: With print-on-demand, you don’t need to worry about warehousing or inventory management. This means you don’t have to spend money on leasing or buying storage spaces, insurance costs, or paying warehouse staff.
- Diversification: POD businesses can quickly switch between products to test the demand of the market. You can diversify your revenue by offering a broad range of products, from t-shirts, mugs, and caps to phone cases, stationery, and stickers. You can experiment with popular designs on various products to see what your customers prefer.
- Flexibility: Generally, a print-on-demand business offers flexibility. Unlike traditional eCommerce platforms, POD businesses allow you to switch designs and products at any time, providing opportunities to try new things and explore different design options.
Cons Of Starting Print On Demand Business
- Quality Control: Since the manufacturing process is outsourced to a third-party printer, it can be challenging to maintain quality control. Depending on your printing provider, there’s no guarantee of the same consistent quality of products as you would get with mass production.
- Low-Profit Margin: The POD business model can generate lower profit margins compared to mass production. Due to the lower production costs, your profits will also be lower per product sold. Therefore, it is essential to calculate the pricing carefully, taking into account the production costs to ensure that each sale is profitable.
- Limited Customization: Sometimes, print-on-demand is not as customizable as traditional eCommerce platforms. Some printing providers might offer predetermined designs, and you need to select products that fit your business, meaning POD businesses may not be the best choice for a business looking for complete customization.
- Logistics: Although there are no shipping and warehousing costs, you’ll need to take into account the time taken to process an order. As product manufacturing is not done on-site, it takes a little longer to process orders, and custom designs, too, can add extra processing time.
Is Print On Demand Profitable?
Print-on-demand can be a highly profitable way for small businesses and independent creators to break into the world of publishing and merchandising. The benefits of POD technology include eliminating inventory and shipping costs, creating unique products, and producing high-quality goods.
If you’re a creator or an influencer looking to bring your products to your subscribers or followers, I encourage you to consider starting a print-on-demand business.
What to read next:
- 11 Low Competition Niches for Print on Demand.
- 17 Proven Ways Everyone Can Make Money Online Without Investment.
- Is Amazon KDP Worth It? (Including its pros and cons!)
- How Much Do You Need To Start An Amazon KDP?
Print-on-demand offers a unique way to sell customized products without the expenses that come with traditional mass production.
If you are looking for a low start-up cost business model that allows you to bring your ideas to life and sell them, print-on-demand could be the perfect fit for you.