Printful is a popular print-on-demand company that’s been helping entrepreneurs and businesses bring their designs to life since 2013. The company model is simple: customers design and create their products, adding graphics to items such as posters, t-shirts, or mugs.
Printful then takes care of printing and shipping, automating the entire process for a streamlined and seamless experience for both the seller and buyer.
The real beauty of this model is its simplicity and convenience. Users can focus on their creative process without worrying about carrying inventory or dealing with shipping logistics.
But is Printful a viable alternative to traditional printing and shipping companies? And is it possible to be profitable with Printful? We’ll give you a glimpse of what Printful has to offer and let you decide for yourself.
Printful: The Good and the Bad
If you’re considering using Printful, it’s important to understand both the positives and negatives of the service. Here’s a breakdown of the good aspects of the program, as well as areas where it could improve.
What Printful Is Good At
Offering quality printing and products: The most important part of the print-on-demand process is ensuring that your customers receive a quality product. Since you’re not inspecting every item itself before it ships out, you need to be able to trust that the print-on-demand company you partner with is going to produce top-notch products.
Printful’s printing techniques are best-in-class and their products are of high quality, giving you peace of mind knowing that your customers are receiving quality items.
Printful opts for well-known brands such as:
- Anvil 980
- Gildan 64000
- Bella + Canvas 3001
- Gildan 2000
The Bella + Canvas 3001 is the darling of the Printful catalog. This heavier-weight shirt is also softer than most print-on-demand t-shirts. Plus, it’s unisex, so it will work for anyone. The Anvil 980 is another top choice among Printful customers.
Other items such as art prints have a variety of options, spanning from affordable and lightweight posters to high-end canvas prints.
If you want to learn more about what customers think of specific products, Printful conveniently shares product reviews alongside each item so you can get a better understanding of what to expect.
Integrates with major ecommerce platforms: Printful saves a lot of time by streamlining and outsourcing the printing process. But when you add the power of integration with leading ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Etsy, and WooCommerce, you have a winning combination.
Imagine you’re a seller on Etsy, and someone purchases a print-on-demand tank top on your storefront. Normally, you’d have to input the information and send it to a printer manually. With Printful, it’s all taken care of for you automatically.
Printful’s Etsy integration automatically collects orders from your Etsy store to make fulfillment easy. You can also customize the packing slips and include personal messages or branding on the packaging.
Printful offers extended sizes: Unlike other print-on-demand stores, a majority of Printful’s clothing options are available in a wide range of sizes, from extra small to 4x. This means that as a seller, you can provide a wide range of inventory options without having to carry any stock since Printful creates and ships products directly from their warehouse.
Monthly discounted sample orders are available With Printful, you don’t have to wonder what the quality of the products are like. Printful allows you to ship sample products to your home to test them before putting them on the market. You’ll receive free shipping and 20% off each sample order, which can help you to affordably test-drive items.
You can also use your sample orders to create product photos, enlist influencers, or run giveaways to further promote your brand.
Printful customers can make one sample order per month with up to three items. If monthly sales exceed $300, the next month’s sample order can include up to five items.
Extra sample orders are given when sales hit certain thresholds, with a maximum of five sample orders per customer per month.
Monthly sales are calculated using a specific formula, and free digitization is offered for sample orders when sales exceed $100.
Customers can check their current monthly sample allowance in the Printful Dashboard.
There are multiple printing fulfillment centers for more reliable delivery: Printful operates multiple fulfillment centers globally to ensure a seamless print-on-demand process. These centers help expedite the printing and delivery process, reduce shipping times, and offer backup when one center is overloaded. They also enable Printful to provide better shipping services by being closer to customers globally.
The locations include:
- Los Angeles, California, USA
- Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
- Tijuana, Mexico
- Riga, Latvia
- Barcelona, Spain
- Toronto, Canada
By strategically positioning these centers, Printful efficiently manages the production workload. This distribution system ensures that if one center experiences high demand or unforeseen issues, orders can be routed to another location, thus ensuring uninterrupted service.
The best part is that you don’t have to worry about or decide which fulfillment center to use. Printful’s automation software will direct your order to the best facility depending on the address you want your product shipped to.
Printful takes responsibility for misprinted or damaged items: It can be frustrating when you place your trust in a printing company, only to receive an inferior product. Printful understands this concern and has established a reliable process to address any such issues.
If a customer complaint arises regarding a misprinted or damaged item, Printful takes full responsibility. The process is as follows:
- Contact Printful and explain the situation.
- Provide a photo of the damaged item or misprint.
- Based on the evidence provided, Printful offers a return or refund.
- If a replacement is needed, Printful sends it as a rush order.
- Alternatively, Printful can provide a refund if that is the preferred solution.
The entire process doesn’t cost anything to you, which not only saves you from potential financial loss but also helps maintain a positive impression with your customers.
Printful’s Potential Drawbacks
The product catalog could be more robust: Printful’s product catalog is fairly extensive, covering most of the standard clothing options you’d expect from a print-on-demand service. From t-shirts and hoodies to leggings and hats, there’s a good variety of items to choose from.
However, when it comes to specialty items, the offerings could be more robust. You may not find certain unique or niche products that some other platforms might offer, such as toys, accessories, or home decor items.
This is not necessarily a downside, as Printful prioritizes maintaining a high-quality range over having an exhaustive list of items.
It’s also worth noting that Printful takes a proactive approach to expanding its catalog. New products are regularly added, but they do so selectively to ensure a high-quality catalog.
They sometimes even incentivize sellers to try new products by offering product discounts or credit for future purchases.
Higher pricing compared to other print-on-demand services: Printful isn’t the most affordable option when it comes to print-on-demand services. It’s settled solidly in the middle of the pack, with some companies offering lower prices and others charging more.
When you add additional graphic items to your products, such as a front, back, and sleeve design to a shirt, the costs can add up quickly. This could be a deterrent for some sellers, especially those just starting with limited budgets.
Shipping speeds are variable: As with most print-on-demand services, shipping times can vary depending on the product, location, and demand at the time of order. While Printful does offer expedited shipping options, they come at an additional cost.
It’s essential to set realistic expectations with your customers regarding shipping times to avoid any dissatisfaction. However, Printful’s multiple fulfillment centers discussed earlier do help reduce shipping times as much as possible.
Printful Plans and Pricing
This print-on-demand service offers several flexible plans, suitable for budget-conscious and enterprise-level businesses alike.
Printful’s Free Plan
The free plan from Printful is all you need to start selling your products. It’s designed to be simple and easy to use, even for beginners. With this plan, you don’t have to worry about upfront costs or monthly fees. You only pay when an order is placed by a customer.
Here’s how Printful’s free plan works: When a customer purchases a product from your store, the order is automatically sent to Printful through their free integrations with various ecommerce platforms. You’re then charged for the production and shipping costs, and Printful handles everything else, from printing to delivery.
The free plan also comes packed with a bunch of handy features to help you create and sell your products:
- Design Maker: This tool comes with built-in visuals and tools to help you create stunning designs for your products.
- Mockup Generator: Use this feature to create realistic mockups of your products and store catalog.
- Logo Maker: Choose from over 100 templates to create a professional logo for your brand.
- White-label packing slips: Customize packing slips with your message or logo to make your shipments look more professional.
- 24/7 customer support: Get help whenever you need it with round-the-clock customer support.
- Resource hub: Access free educational blogs, videos, lessons, and more to learn how to grow your business.
The free plan from Printful gives you everything you need to start selling without any upfront costs, making it a great option for those just starting with print-on-demand.
Printful’s Growth Plan
Printful’s Growth Plan is a step up from its free plan, offering additional features and benefits for a monthly membership fee. This plan is designed for businesses looking to expand their product range, enhance their branding, and take advantage of exclusive discounts.
Here’s how the Growth Plan works: For a monthly membership fee of $24.99, you gain access to a suite of advanced features and services. These features are offered at a flat rate, and also come with product discounts.
Here are the main features of the Growth Plan:
- Additional Branding Options: Customize your products further with more branding options.
- Custom Pack-ins: Add custom items like stickers or flyers to your orders.
- Custom Packaging: Make your shipments stand out with custom packaging.
- Creative Services: Access professional photo & video shoots to promote your products.
- Warehousing Services: Store non-Printful items in Printful’s warehouses for easy fulfillment.
Additionally, you can enjoy significant discounts on products:
- Up to 20% off direct-to-garment (DTG) products
- Up to 30% off other product categories
- Product branding discounts of 7%
The Growth Plan also includes personalized product transfer assistance to help you smoothly transition your product line. This is especially handy if you’re migrating from another print-on-demand service.
If you’re unsure about whether the Growth Plan is right for you, Printful offers a 14-day trial so you can test out the features and see if they meet your needs. After the trial, the plan costs $24.99 per month.
Printful Business Plan
Printful’s Business Plan is a premium offering for those who have reached significant sales milestones. The Business plan is exclusively offered at no cost to customers who have achieved an annual sales benchmark of $60K.
Here’s what you get with the Printful Business Plan:
- Higher Discounts: Get up to 22% off Direct-to-Garment (DTG) products and up to 33% off other product categories.
- Increased Branding Discounts: Enjoy product branding discounts of 9%, helping you create a strong brand presence.
- Increased Sample Order Discounts: Get your sample orders at 25% less, allowing you to test products without a big investment.
- Free Digitization: All embroidered products come with free digitization, saving you extra costs.
- Priority Support: Your queries and issues will be addressed as a priority, ensuring minimal disruption to your business.
- Large Front Print: For select products, you can have a large front print to make your designs stand out.
The Printful Business Plan is an excellent choice for achieving higher profit margins and getting access to exclusive services. Since it’s only available to high-performing customers, it’s a sought-after plan by many Printful users.
To sum up, Printful is a great platform for starting or scaling an ecommerce business. It provides a wide range of products, customization, and plans for different business sizes.
With quality products, affordable prices, and excellent support, it’s an ideal low-investment start. Try the free version, order samples, and then consider upgrading as your business grows. The program’s flexibility allows business owners to adjust their plans accordingly to find the perfect fit.