Printful is a print-on-demand (POD) service with software elements to help you design products like apparel, home goods, and accessories, all while being able to integrate with your online store platform, where customers buy products, then Printful prints, packages, and ships them out. But how much does Printful cost? If you ever find yourself wondering about Printful pricing, you're in the right place.
Keep reading to learn about the basic costs behind Printful.com (hint: most of it's free), along with the wide variety of optional services for designing, marketing, and storing your products.
How Much Does Printful Cost?
Almost everything with Printful is free, from its design module to ecommerce platform integrations, and its product mockups to the infrastructure used to make orders and send them out to customers.
You only pay Printful when an order is placed in your store and processed. Therefore, it's a true on-demand printing solution where you don't have to pay for hundreds or thousands of wholesale products in order to make money.
Having said that, all Printful products are printed and shipped on-demand, meaning it's more costly for them as opposed to shipping off 500 units at one time. Because of this, the individual products are more expensive. The good news is that you save money on storage, printing, packaging, and shipping since Printful handles all of that for you. You mainly build a website, generate product designs, and market the store.
Overall, Printful is the ideal solution for those with limited startup capital, or for ecommerce businesses less interested in overhead costs and more interested in selling high-quality designs.
So, What Do You Receive for Free With Printful?
- The ability to customize, print, and sell over 275 products. Not to mention, the product list continues to grow on a regular basis.
- Integrate your Printful account with some of the most popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce. Printful integrates with over 20 platforms and also has its own API.
- Utilize the Printful Design Maker with options for adding clipart, images, uploading your own art, incorporating text, and resizing designs.
- Take advantage of the free product mockups to make your items look professional in your store.
- Access to almost 3,000 clipart images to add to your designs.
- Save print files for later use and have them placed on other products in the future.
- Generate product templates to reuse and expand upon in the future.
- Add pricing, product details, and other elements like categories and variants all from the Printful dashboard. Then, sync them all to your ecommerce platform.
- Access to apps, guides, and marketing resources that help you on your way to building a successful print-on-demand business.
- Integrate with global marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, Amazon, and Wish.
- Print your own branding on packaging inserts and include a message to your customers.
That's quite a bit to get excited about, especially considering you never have to pay for any of it. Again, Printful only bills you for products sold. As an example, let's say you design a t-shirt and list it on your ecommerce shop. Printful sells it to you for $10, and you make your retail price $18. Your payment processer puts $18 (minus processing charges) into your merchant bank account. Then, the Printful pricing is billed to your on-file credit card or checking account for the $10 you owe them. You're left with $8 (again, minus processing fees) to put in your pocket or reinvest in your business.
You’ll have a couple of options available if you want to upgrade to the premium version of Printful. The company now has two pricing plans available, Printful Plus, and Printful Pro.
What to expect from Printful Plus?
Printful Plus is the cheapest premium plan on offer from Printful. It allows you to customize over 330 products, similar to the free plan. You’ll also have access to the Design Maker to create product templates of high-quality products for your online business.
Starting at $9 per month, the Printful Plus service offers all the features of the free plan, plus:
- Access to 20,000+ clipart images for your designs, so you can customize your shirts and other products without having to create your own art from scratch.
- A custom mock-up maker, with access to more than 100 design elements, and unique backgrounds and design elements. You can use the mock-up maker to add your logo and other branding elements to make your products stand out.
- Support for the Promo Maker, which allows you to create customized advertising assets for your store, with the option to remove backgrounds and add other elements.
What to expect from Printful Pro?
For Printful Pro, the cost is $49 (USD) per month, but you do get access to a lot more features. You can also pay $539 per year up-front, which will give you around a month of Printful access for free. It comes with all the features of the free plan, such as access to all of the customizable products and templates. You also get all the features of the Plus plan included. Other features include:
- The cost is $49 per month.
- Or $539 per year when you pay that up front, essentially giving you a month of Printful for free.
- Everything from the free plan like access to over 275 customizable products, product templates, mockups, clipart images, and integrations and syncing with the major ecommerce platforms.
- A Promo Maker tool to design professional-looking graphics with your products inside those designs. Start with templates and implement the finished designs in ads, social media, emails, and more.
- A tool called Keyword Scout for Etsy, which completes keyword analysis for all products and locates the best tags to use in Etsy listings.
- A Custom Mockup Maker that allows you to generate custom product images instead of sticking with the default ones from the free version of Printful.
- A background removal tool to end up with sleek product images. You usually have to do this with a separate design program, and it often takes some experience. The Printful background tool is automated and great for all experience levels.
- The option to use carrier-based shipping.
- Access to a large premium image library without any extra fees to use the assets.
- Almost 500 exclusive clipart images you can't find in the free version.
- Completely free embroidery file digitization. Embroideries in the free plan have a price tag for one-time digitization.
- The option to use premium images at no extra cost, it’s $1 per image to do this without Pro. You can also create embroidery files and have them digitized for free.
Printful provides a free 14-day trial to test out Printful Pro and see if it's right for your business. The only odd part about Printful Pro is that there's no way to change plans. Therefore, you must cancel your Printful Pro account and create a totally new account under the free plan. We're hoping this gets resolved in the future.
Overall, the Printful Pro pricing plan makes sense for stores owners who require more advanced design tools like the exclusive clipart, premium images, and background removal tool. You can also save money by skipping third-party tools for making promos (the Promo Maker is similar to a premium version of Canva) and to research keywords (The Keyword Scout replaces some of the high-priced keyword research tools on the market).
Are There Any Hidden Fees or Extra Expenses with Printful?
Hidden fees? No.
Extra expenses? Product and shipping costs are the main ones. After that, it all depends on whether or not you want to sign up for some of the many Printful services. They're all optional.
Having said that, let's explore the main costs, both required and optional:
Product and Printing Costs
We highlight specific product costs in sections further down in this article. Overall, you must remember that the price you receive for a t-shirt, ball cap, or coffee mug on your website isn't the amount of money you're keeping.
All Printful products cost something. You then mark them up to receive a profit for your own design and marketing labors.
For example, the Printful pricing for a pair of sweatpant joggers is $22.50 ($24 when sized at 2XL). That means you're not getting any of that money in your profit. You may sell the joggers for $31.99 in your store, but that leaves you with a profit of $9.49. So don't go out and spend all the revenue before paying Printful its cut.
Printing also comes into play for overall product pricing. Luckily, Printful pricing includes the first design you upload to a product for free. Many items you sell will only have one design uploaded for printing so that makes your costs more predictable.
However, some products allow for multiple designs in different locations on the item (like on the sleeve or the back of a shirt). Those increase the overall cost of the item, which we'll cover in some of the following sections.
Shipping fees aren't hidden fees with Printful pricing, but you must remember to factor them into your entire retail price.
What's more, is that every item in the Printful library has its own shipping cost depending on its size and where it's going.
The good news is that Printful pricing for shipping is rather transparent. It provides a Shipping tab for all products to type in the country to view how much it costs to ship one or multiple items in that category.
An embroidered packable jacket, for instance, has a shipping fee of $6.50 in the United States, with a $2.00 fee for every extra jacket in the same shipment.
Shipping rates vary by product, so we suggest viewing the Printful Shipping Rates and Times page to see what to expect for everything from shirts to bags, and phone cases to towels.
Warehousing and Fulfillment (Optional)
You may wonder, “Doesn't Printful already provide warehousing and fulfillment for free?”
Yes, if you're using its print-on-demand system, product storage and fulfillment come along with the service. However, what if you want to purchase a batch from a third-party wholesaler to save money and improve your profit margins? What about when you'd like to sell a custom product that Printful doesn't have in its collection?
Many merchants run into this situation. The problem is that you don't want a customer coming to your website, purchasing multiple items, and receiving them in separate packages with different receipts and packaging materials. It will look as if they ordered from multiple companies and confuse the customer.
Furthermore, you must then pay to ship two or three boxes instead of one.
That's where the Printful Warehousing and Fulfillment service comes into play.
In short, Printful accepts your non-Printful items and stores them in their warehouses. When you make a sale, Printful picks those items from its shelves and ships them off similar to how they would with the print-on-demand service. The advantage is that all of your products – whether made with Printful or not – are stored in the same location, boxed in the same packaging, and sent in one shipment.
What does this cost?
It varies by country, your sales, and how much you're storing.
Here's a general breakdown:
- Order fulfillment fee per order: $2 in the USA
- Product picking fee for every item: $0.95 in the US
- Pack-in fulfillment fee for all orders with pack-ins: Free in the US
- Pack-in picking fee: $0.50 in the US
- Custom packaging fulfillment: Free in the US
- Custom packaging picking fee: $0.50
- Any packaging materials: The fee varies for all countries
- Receiving and processing: Free
- Storage for 1-200 units in the US: $1.65 per cubic foot of storage used. There's a $25 monthly minimum.
- Storage for 201-1,000 units in the US: $1.30 per cubic foot. The monthly minimum still applies.
- Storage for 1,001-10,000 units: $1 per cubic foot. The monthly minimum still applies.
- Storage for over 10,000 units in the US: $0.75 per cubic foot. The monthly minimum required still applies.
Rates vary based on the country. Printful also offers warehousing and fulfillment in Europe and Canada, so check those rates if needed.
Finally, the Warehousing and Fulfillment service also has its own shipping fees which get calculated based on the package's size, weight, quantity, and warehouse location.
Label Branding and Additional Product Printing Locations
At some point, you may want to improve the branding of products with a logo on a shirt's label or on the sleeve. You can also choose to put additional design prints on various parts of each product.
Some items in the Printful library allow for multiple print locations, while others only have one spot to upload a design.
The first print is free. Anything on top of that increases your overall cost.
To clarify this point, we'll take a standard Unisex Tank Top from Bella + Canvas. The original Printful pricing for a merchant is $15.95 for all colors and most sizes (except for 2XL).
That's a wonderful starting point that could render a decent profit. The first design you upload to the tank top – located on the front of the shirt – doesn't cost a thing.
That original $15.95 price remains the same. You could very well stick to that design, set your markup, and sync it with your website for selling.
Yet some sellers want to include more designs to spice up the product. You also may decide that branding is essential for getting the word out about your business, so you want to place a logo on the outside or inside label.
Note: Many items (especially apparel) have multiple printing areas, but not all of them.
However, the cost of that tank top goes up by $2.49 in this case when we upload a logo design to the inside label. You can also see that the total cost for the shirt increases in the bottom left-hand corner.
You also have Back and Outside Label areas to print on this tank top. Again, we'll upload yet another design on the back. This is the third design we have included on the product so the total price at the bottom increases once more.
And as you can see, the Back print costs even more than the inside label at $5.95.
These extra printing locations improve your designs and make for wonderful branding opportunities. However, you need to keep them in check so as to not cut too deep into your profits.
Custom Packaging Inserts
A custom packaging insert is usually a piece of paper that showcases your brand in some way. Printful already prints out receipts and puts them in your packaging. These are free, and you can customize the receipts to include your logo and a message for the customer. Therefore, many companies may find that there's no need to utilize the custom packaging inserts from Printful.
However, the receipts are black and white, fairly simple, and don't have the flare you might want to help represent your brand. In addition, you can't completely customize the receipts to include elements like QR codes, specialty coupons, or high-resolution artwork.
Therefore, the branded packaging inserts allow you to drop in anything from a flyer to a business card designed entirely by you. This way, the unboxing experience becomes more fun, you can thank customers with hand-written cards, or prompt people to return to your store with coupons.
It's also becoming more popular for companies to include branded stickers for people to put on their water bottles, laptops, or really anywhere, giving you the additional benefit of free advertising as others see the stickers.
Here's how the Printful pricing works for branded pack-ins:
- You design the pack-ins and upload the design to Printful.
- Order more than 25 of those pack-ins.
- Designate the warehouse you want to store them in.
- Printful prints the pack-ins, stores them in that warehouse, and places them inside your packaging when an order goes out.
What's the Printful pricing for custom inserts?
- Pack-in fulfillment per order: Free in all countries
- The picking fee for a pack-in: $0.50 in the US
- Receiving and processing of the pack-ins: Free in all countries.
- Storage of 1-200 pack-ins: $1.65 per cubic foot in the US. There's a $25 monthly minimum.
- Storage of 201-1,000 pack-ins: $1.30 per cubic foot. The monthly minimum still applies.
- Storage of 1,001-10,000 pack-ins: $1.00 per cubic foot. The monthly minimum still applies.
- Storage of over 10,000 pack-ins: $0.75 per cubic foot. The monthly minimum still applies.
The Printful pricing for pack-ins varies by country, but it appears that only Europe, the US, and Canada get offered the ability to use pack-ins.
Some other points to know about Printful packaging inserts:
- You can store the packaging inserts in any of the following warehouses: Toronto, Canada; Charlotte, North Carolina; Los Angeles, California; Barcelona, Spain; or Riga, Latvia.
- Shipping a product from a warehouse that doesn't hold your pack-ins results in Printful still sending out the package but without the packaging insert. They don't slow down the shipping process just to wait around for a pack-in.
- Your pack-in designs can't exceed 6 inches x 8 inches x 1 inch (15.5 cm x 20 cm x 2.5 cm). Also, the individual pack-ins can't weigh more than 2 oz (55 g)
Custom embroidery, although offered through the free design portal in Printful, typically comes with an extra charge.
Embroidery is different than printing in that it uses colored stitching to generate usually simpler, raised designs on products like hats, towels, and shirts, as opposed to a printer using direct-to-garment or screen printing to produce a vibrant, flattened design using inks.
With embroidery, the design file you upload must be digitized for Printful to process clean stitching on the product.
Printful digitizes the files for you, but for a fee.
Here are the ways to pay for embroidery file digitization:
- Pay a one-time fee of $6.50 for each file being digitized. After that, you can use the digitized file on as many products as you want.
- Purchase more than 25 embroidered products in a single order to get the digitization for free.
- Sign up for the Pro Printful pricing plan for $49 per month to receive free digitization of all embroidery designs.
Creative Services like Graphic Design, Professional Photography, and Video Production
Printful offers multiple professional services for those who need to up the quality of marketing materials, find a designer for their products, or improve upon media files you place on product pages.
Here are the main services you can consider:
- Graphic design: For a wide range of purposes like getting your product designs from a professional or working on creations for your website, newsletter, or business materials.
- Ecommerce photography: To place items on models, use props, and make your product photography far better than what's already included with the product mockups.
- Video production: To put your products on models and show them to customers in the real world.
Printful pricing for professional services depends on the type of job. Although the prices may vary due to advanced customizations and the size of the job, Printful at least offers starting prices to give you an idea of the budget:
Printful Pricing for Graphic Design
- Custom merchandise design: $60+
- Merchandise pattern designs: $70+
- Vector designs for merchandise: $65+
- Typography designs for merchandise: $50+
- Reformatting print files: $5+
- Recreating print files in a higher quality: $40+
- Print file Photoshop editing: $20+
- Color adjustments in print designs: $5+
- General print design adjustments: $20+
- Character illustrations: $150+
- Digital painting designs: $250+
- Color illustrations: $150+
- Line art: $125+
- Branding like logos, stickers, and style guides: $60 to $600+
- Social media designs like Facebook covers and Instagram ads: $60 to $150+
These designs usually take up to two weeks to complete.
Printful Pricing for Ecommerce Photography
Professional photography means that you don't have to worry about default mockups or putting together your own photoshoots. Printful takes your products and puts them in real-life situations that fit your brand. Afterward, the Printful team edits the photos for your own product pages and marketing materials.
To give you an idea of what to expect, this service would allow you to put your custom yoga pants on a model in a yoga studio completing a pose. Or maybe you want someone at a baseball field in your flat brim cap or a model holding your custom coffee cup at a cafe.
You can only get a custom quote by sending a request into Printful. However, you should know that all products photographed by Printful also get fulfilled by the company for 20% off.
Printful Pricing for Video Production
Video production from Printful is much like photography but these professionals are using video cameras to capture the products and models in action. Examples include a model wearing your custom shirt and spinning through an urban setting or a model sitting down on a couch with your custom-designed pillows as decorations.
Similar to the photography services, you must submit a request with the scope of your project in order to receive a quote.
Printful Pricing for Store Setup Services
The last service available through Printful is for configuring your online store through platforms like WooCommerce or Shopify.
You save time by not having to produce a complete website – or parts of the website – and you know your website will look professional. This is particularly appealing for business owners with zero, or limited, web design experience.
- Add final touches to your store like optimizing your shipping or branding the entire site.
- Link your current store to Printful for the most efficient product fulfillment process.
- Build your entire store from scratch using the major platforms that integrate with Printful.
The pricing for store setup and website designs services vary depending on the project, but here are some starting points:
- Simple web design tasks: $50+
- A full store setup: $500+
Printful Pricing vs Printify, SPOD, Apliiq, CustomCat, Gooten, and Printy6
Print-on-demand services typically offer a wide range of services and tools, most of which come with their own per-transaction or by-use fees.
Luckily, the average POD solution like Printful starts out as a free offering, and you can maintain a free or low-cost environment if that's all you need.
With the varying product offerings, tools, and services, it's a little tricky comparing Printful pricing with competitors like Printify, SPOD, Apliiq, CustomCat, Gooten, and Printy6. However, we'll outline the main pricing plans for each, along with a more detailed comparison of product costs between Printful and Printify, since those are the most popular POD services to choose from.
To begin, let's take a look at the general platform costs of Printful and its top competitors:
- Printful: Free for primary design and selling tools. $49 per month for the Pro version with features like a Promo Maker, Keyword Scout, premium images, and background removal tool.
- Printify: Free for primary design and selling. $24.99 per month for the Premium plan with custom order imports and a 20% discount on products. They also offer a custom-priced Enterprise plan with a custom API, account manager, and branded customer support.
- SPOD: Free with no paid plans.
- Apliiq: Free with no paid plans. Most per-sale discounts come about when you buy in bulk.
- CustomCat: Free for regular designing and fulfillment tools. $30 per month for discounted products and a larger product library.
- Gooten: Free with no paid plans.
As you can see, the major players in the POD industry all offer free plans, most of which provide everything you need to design, sell, print, and distribute your products. However, Printful, Printify, and CustomCat have extra premium plans as well. Those are entirely optional and actually seem like a benefit, considering they simply offer additional tools for improving your business, like with the Printful Promo Maker and Keyword Scout. You also gain access to better product rates with those premium plans.
Therefore, based on pricing plans alone, we'd have to recommend Printful, Printify, and CustomCat, seeing as how they all give you the option for more advanced features, even if it is for an added cost.
Now, let's take a closer look into the pricing for products. Since the item libraries vary so much, we'll outline some of the more common products that align with each other from Printful and Printify.
Gildan 64000 Large Black Men's T-shirt
- Printful Pricing: $7.95 + $3.99 shipping = $11.94
- Printify Pricing: $7.49 + $4.80 shipping = $12.29
Keep in mind that Printful uses fewer, typically higher quality suppliers and prints everything in its own warehouses. Therefore, the pricing for colors and sizes usually remains the same. Printify partners with far more suppliers and printers so you may find that a black t-shirt costs more than the exact same red shirt for some suppliers. It's considerably more confusing to find the best price with Printify, but there are some good deals in there.
Next Level 6733 Racerback Women's Tank (Medium, Black)
- Printful Pricing: $15.95 + $3.99 shipping = $19.94
- Printify Pricing: $11.10 + $4.00 shipping = $15.10*
*Another thing to remember with Printify is that some of the print providers have worse reviews than others. The one listed in the pricing above is the cheapest but not rated that well. The highest-ranking supplier (and the one recommended by Printify) costs $18.16 with shipping included.
Enhanced/Premium Matte Poster (12×18)
- Printful Pricing: $11.50 + $4.99 shipping = $16.49
- Printify Pricing: $7.46 + $3.49 shipping = $10.95
Printful and Printify have different poster suppliers but they're similar dimensions. However, user reviews argue that Printful poster prints deliver a richer color and sturdier paper.
Gildan 18500 Unisex Hoodie (Large, Irish Green)
- Printful: $20.75 + $6.50 shipping = $27.25
- Printify: $22.79 + $9.40 shipping = $32.19
Again, the prices vary drastically for Printify. Some of the brighter colors seem rather expensive while the neutral ones are more affordable. Having said that, Printful is still more straightforward with its pricing.
White 11oz Mug
- Printful: $7.95 + $6.99 shipping = $14.94
- Printify: $7.09 + $6.00 shipping = $13.09
We also recommend looking at production and delivery times for individual items and suppliers. For example, Printful mugs ship in 6-9 days, and printing usually takes 2 days (sometimes up to 5). Printify mugs (for this supplier) ship in 2-7 days and take close to 3 days to print.
So it looks like Printify is faster and cheaper for mugs, but then you still want to see if the printing quality is satisfactory.
Unisex Snapback Flat Bill Hat
Printful and Printify use different suppliers for their hats, but we can still compare pricing for similar products:
- Printful: $14.95 + $3.99 shipping = $18.94
- Printify: $18.79 + $4.50 shipping = $23.29
From dad hats to beanies, Printful is almost always cheaper than Printify for hats.
iPhone Case (All Versions and Sizes)
- Printful: $10.95 + $3.25 shipping = $14.20
- Printify: $15.15 + $4.50 shipping = $19.65*
*This is the bestselling, highest-rated iPhone case from Printify, but there are some cheaper ones.
All-over Print Yoga Leggings (Medium)
- Printful: $25.95 + $3.99 shipping = $29.94*
- Printify: $29.10 + $3.99 shipping = $33.09**
*Printful sews these leggings in-house.
**Printify offers an alternative legging that's marketed as “casual” not “yoga” for $25.99, shipping included.
All-over Print Tote Bag (15×15 in)
- Printful Pricing: $16.95 + $3.99 shipping = $20.94*
- Printify Pricing: $12.87 + $4.99 shipping = $17.86**
*These are hand-sewn in-house by Printful. And they have colored straps, whereas Printify does not.
**Printify's tote bags are cheaper but they have an unusually long production time.
All-over Print Pillow (18×18)
- Printful: $16.95 + $9.99 shipping = $26.94*
- Printify: $15.73 + $9.19 shipping = $24.92
*Hand-sewn in-house by Printful.
The Consensus on Printful Pricing vs Printify and the Others
Based on our in-depth comparisons of some of the bestselling Printful and Printify products, it's clear that Printful makes some of its items cheaper while Printify excels in other areas. For instance, hats and many of the pant categories come out cheaper with Printful. The same can be said for phone cases and quite a few other accessories.
However, Printify gives you more suppliers making it possible to cut costs if you have the patience to sift through its cluttered collection of products, variants, and suppliers. Also, Printify wins the pricing battle in categories like pillows, mugs, and tote bags.
As for apparel, we found that on the surface Printify makes it seem that items like shirts, sweaters, and hoodies are significantly cheaper than Printful. However, when you do some digging, you notice that Printify usually markets its absolute lowest priced supplier. Then, you start to realize that those suppliers often aren't rated that well, and you usually have to pay more for some colors and sizes.
Printful, on the other hand, sticks to fewer, reputable suppliers, and even produces many of its products in-house. This way, they maintain consistent pricing across the board. You don't have to worry about what the color or size of the shirt is because a large red t-shirt is most likely the exact same price as a small blue t-shirt.
Ways to Keep Printful Pricing and Costs Low
There are several ways to save money with Printful, making it even more affordable in the long run, especially once you identify some hidden business costs that come along with print-on-demand operations.
The first step is to evaluate which aspects of your business you can either handle yourself or give to someone in your organization. Are you a quality designer? Maybe it's better for you to make the designs instead of paying for them. Do you already have access to professional photos and clipart for your designs? Maybe you have no need for the Printful Pro version.
Here are some other ways to cut down on your overall costs when working with Printful.
Maintain Your Quality Control
Losing control over the quality of your products tends to bring about bad news for your business, its finances, and the happiness of customers.
Think about it this way, if an order goes out that has a bad print, fraying edges, or the product itself is made cheaply, you could end up with:
- Expensive returns.
- A loss in sales due to people talking about the products.
- Potential chargebacks.
- The need to spend time and money to go back and reevaluate your designs and products due to quality.
To solve these issues, we recommend ordering product samples for all items designed on Printful. Print-on-demand and dropshipping involve the printer shipping products directly to the customer, therefore leaving you out of the quality control equation.
That's a recipe for disaster.
Printful offers sample products for all designs at a discounted rate.
As a standard Printful member, you receive a 20% discount on all sample orders, but you're limited to one order per month. The good news is that you can add three products to each order.
When your sales grow, you receive better discounts and more samples per month. For example, sample limits increase at the following sales thresholds: $100, $300, $500, and $1,500. The maximum number of samples is 15 items in an order with five orders possible per month.
Using samples, you decrease costs that almost inevitably arise when customers order and aren't happy with their products. A sample lets you feel the item, test it for weaknesses, and see if your print design actually looks good on the color chosen.
Limit Multiple Prints on Individual Items
We mentioned this before, but it's easy to get excited and add multiple print designs to one product. The first time I used Printful I made a t-shirt with a design on the back, front, sleeve, and the inside label. Guess what? That turned a shirt that costed me around $12 or $13 into one that's close to $27! And that's without adding my own markup to make any money.
There's nothing wrong with branding your shirts on the inside or outside labels, or even incorporating one extra design on a sleeve, but once you have two or three extra designs you suddenly must convince your customers to buy a $30+ t-shirt.
Sell Multiple Brands for the Same Products
Many Printful product categories provide multiple brands to choose from. This is particularly true when it comes to apparel.
Men's and unisex t-shirts, for example, come from brands like Bella + Canva, Gildan, and American Apparel.
Although each supplier creates slightly different items (one may use a unique polyester blend while the other has more durable cotton) you can typically find similar shirts when comparing them between the brands.
However, some brands have more expensive products for various reasons.
An example involves standard unisex t-shirts. The Bella + Canvas 3001 and the Gilden 64000 are slightly different but both rather soft, stylish, and durable shirts.
Bella + Canvas offers more colors at a higher price, while Gildan has a significantly lower price but only with five neutral colors.
What's the solution here? Take the same design and sell both brands.
When someone orders a black, grey, or white shirt, specify they'll receive the Gildan version. For all other colors, ship out the more expensive Bella + Canvas shirt.
Decide Which Return Policy is Most Cost-effective
When a customer returns a product sent from Printful, where does it go?
That's a common question asked of dropshipping services and POD companies seeing as how the business owner didn't send out the package in the first place.
Printful offers two methods for handling returns, but it depends on your current business setup to figure out which one is the most economical for you.
By default, Printful places its own return address on packages. This allows you to completely cut out the need to accept and store returns that have their own costs associated with them. However, Printful then holds your item for 28 days at no cost. After that, the items get donated to charity.
You can change the delivery address for that product and cover the new shipping cost. This situation makes sense if you're willing to ship returned items to new customers who ordered the same thing. However, we don't recommend doing this if you're worried about the products being soiled in some way by the previous buyer (like someone wearing a pair of yoga pants to the gym then returning them).
Some products work well for this situation, such as unused mugs, pillows, and stickers. Apparel is a little tricky since people tend to try those on or wear them around for a day or so.
The alternative is to change the default Printful return address to your own.
Accepting returns to your home, office, or warehouse means your costs increase to process the items, place them back on shelves, and ship them out again. However, you're not in a time crunch to find a new buyer for your items and you're able to evaluate if a product is suitable to send out to another customer.
In short, it's up to you to decide which route is less expensive and time-consuming for your business.
Minimize Chargebacks and Returns
Speaking of returns and chargebacks, we have several tips to put into action to cut down on the number of these that come through.
Overall, returns get expensive and cost you sales. Chargebacks (when someone disputes the charge on their credit card) are worse since you lose the entire sale, often still have to pay the supplier, and get slapped with a chargeback fee from your payment processor (often around $15 or $20, but it depends on the processor).
Here are some tips on how to cut down or eliminate your returns and chargebacks:
- Set a backup fulfillment facility in Printful so products get shipped out regardless of supply in your main warehouse. Customers who have to wait too long for items may cancel the order or wait around and return it.
- Set up shipping and processing notifications in Printful so that all customers understand when and how their orders ship out. These emails present a certain peace of mind with order confirmation messages, shipping notifications, and links to shipment tracking codes.
- Consider product alternatives within Printful. These go into effect when a specific item is out of stock but there's another brand or variant that's very similar. Instead of losing a sale or causing a shipping delay, the product alternatives tend to get the job done.
- Communicate everything such as pricing, sizing guides, shipping times, shipping costs, product materials, and return policies on your product pages and throughout your website. The best way to appease a customer is to inform them long before they purchase something from your store.
- Brand your inserts (or receipts), and include a message so that customers know where the product came from. People have short memories so receiving an item without any logo or message may seem strange to them.
- Select the products that ship fast to the locations that matter most to you. Printful offers so many warehouses and suppliers in multiple countries there's no reason for you to select a cheaper shirt made in the US when you're planning on shipping most products to Eastern Europe. You also want to ensure your fulfillment centers make sense based on where your customers live.
Consider Premade Designs, Packages, and Subscriptions
Designing your own products costs you time and money. Not to mention, amateur designers are bound for heartbreak since you truly need a professional to make something that sells.
However, hiring a designer can get extremely expensive.
That's why we recommend looking into premade design, bundles, and subscriptions, many of which charge you something like $20 or $30 per month for unlimited designs or lower prices for a collection of premade designs.
Then, you can incorporate the designs into your own creation or use them as-is.
- Adobe Stock
- Printful's design services
- The Vector Lab
- Creative Market
- Envato Elements
Enable Live Shipping Rates
Live shipping rates save you money in two ways:
- Customers have a better idea of how much they'll pay and when they'll get the products, cutting down on lost sales and returns.
- You don't have to estimate the shipping costs where you'd potentially end up underestimating and paying more for what could've been an accurate estimation from live rates.
Pass Shipping Charges to Customers
Shipping is a tough topic with ecommerce stores since it's a necessary cost, but many customers aren't willing to pay for shipping, especially in a world where you can get 2-day free shipping from larger brands.
However, those same brands tend to factor the cost of shipping into the product itself and say they're offering free shipping.
That's not what you have to do, but it's worth considering since the simple idea of free shipping makes consumers feel better about their purchase, even if they may know that the cost is technically built into the overall price of the item.
In Printful, you can set your shipping rates, activate live shipping rates, and include a Free Shipping method to completely cut the cost out for customers.
However, Printful has shipping costs ranging from roughly $0-$50 per item, so that's an expensive proposition for you to cover every shipping cost used for your customers.
That's why we suggest you either include the shipping price in your product markup or at least incorporate some of the cost to minimize the expenses on your end. This way, the customer sees a slightly higher-priced item but figures it's because of the custom design. Their psychology still enjoys the free shipping and creates an environment where you're not spending too much on shipping and your customers are still happy.
Restrict Products and Sales on Locations That Require High Shipping Rates
Sometimes a product is so bulky that it requires larger packaging. Other times you may find certain products on Printful have high shipping costs when sent to certain countries.
In general, Printful does a solid job of keeping its shipping costs low, but you should keep an eye on the shipping details before you decide to make a design and upload it to a product mockup.
Pillows, for instance, tend to cost a little more for shipping across the board, regardless of where those pillows are going.
Framed posters and canvas art require oddly shaped packaging and padding materials, meaning it's one of the priciest items to ship on Printful. Luckily, people who buy art are usually accustomed to these types of markups.
Having said that, we've also noticed that some countries tend to have higher shipping costs, sometimes due to their remote locations, but other times because Printful doesn't have shipping warehouses nearby.
EFTA states like Iceland and Switzerland are consistently expensive in the Printful shipping department. We've also noticed the same for Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand. Regardless, complete your due diligence for each product, because you'll be surprised how some of the items are rather cheap to ship to some locations. Jewelry is free no matter where you ship it and we generally see lower shipping rates for apparel and stickers for all countries.
Use Free (And Some Premium) Tools on Printful
Running a merchandise store where you design the products takes several investments. For instance, you need a person to design the products, a graphic design tool, software to help you find the right keywords for advertising, and a potential subscription for clipart, images, and mockups.
Fortunately, Printful offers several free or inexpensive tools on its dashboard so you can consolidate your marketing and design tools into one area and cut down on the often expensive price tags of third-party software.
Here are some examples:
- The Printful Designer: This is completely free and eliminates the need to find a merchandise design tool. Not to mention, it provides several features for adding text, images, and clipart.
- Mockups: Printful provides an incredible library of product mockups, so you do have the option to skip third-party services that generate mockups with your print designs. PlaceIt is an example, even though we still like that service for more advanced mockups.
- The Promo Maker: From Canva to Adobe Spark, all of these apps eventually charge you for their best design assets. The Pro Printful plan lets you utilize the Promo Maker for a monthly fee, along with other advantages.
- The Keyword Scout: Keyword research tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs have extraordinarily high price tags. The Keyword Scout tool requires a Printful Pro subscription but it's far cheaper than most other tools on the market.
- Clipart and images: Although you may have to still use some royalty-free paid sites on occasion, the Printful Pro subscription opens up a vast library of premium images and clipart assets to use inside your product designs.
Our Conclusion on Printful Pricing
So, how much does Printful cost? The short answer is that it doesn't cost anything to use the primary design tools and sync with your store. However, you must pay for all products that get sold, printed, and shipped through Printful.
After that, most of the expenses are optional, whether you consider upgrading to the Pro version of Printful, opt to hire Printful for some of their design services, or look into selling on a global scale with higher shipping fees.
Overall, we can't recommend Printful enough from a pricing and quality standpoint. If you have any further questions about Printful pricing or how to get set up with your store, let us know in the comments below!
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