Drop shipping t-shirts as a side-line or full-time business is the easiest way to get yourself into e-commerce. Most people I know would prefer working from home doing the things they love to do.
- What is dropshipping?
- What is print on demand?
- Is the Print on Demand business still worth it?
- Who can start a drop shipping t-shirt business?
- How much money can I make dropshipping t-shirts?
- How do I start a drop shipping t-shirt business?
- What are the best print-on-demand platforms?
- Skillscloud print-on-demand choice for beginners
What is dropshipping?
Drop shipping involves the sourcing of products that will be delivered directly from the supplier on your behalf.
With drop shipping, you will set up the sales funnel that will offer products to your customers as your own inventory. On purchasing the customer will pay you the full price after which you will then place the order with your drop shipper.
On placing the order you will pay the cost price of the product and retain your profit share. The drop shipper will take care of the manufacturing and delivery to your customer directly. In most cases, the drop shipper will handle all other functions including after-sales services and returns.
A drop shipping business can become very complicated for someone starting out with an online business. Luckily when it comes to print on demand this process is very simple and an ideal starting point for beginners.
What is print on demand?
Print on demand is a process where you create your own product design and upload it to the supplier for printing. Because there are no minimum quantities involved you don’t have to keep any inventory.
The print-on-demand supplier will take care of all other functions during the sales process and only reclaim the product cost from you. The profit you make is what you can bank as your own or use to expand your own online business.
It is basically a totally free start-up and that is why drop shipping t-shirts are the easiest way to start an online business. Print on demand is not limited to t-shirts and once you understand how it works you will find many other products to add to your business.
Is the print-on-demand business still worth it?
You will often be told that drop shipping t-shirts through print on demand are no longer viable. This is not true as it is a business like any other you know. There will also be competition in any market out there and the trick is to just be better than the opposition.
You can also achieve success with print on demand if you are willing to put in an effort to make it work for you. Print on demand must be the most simple and affordable way to start a business online from scratch.
With print on demand, it will always come down to the quality of your designs and the marketing of your business. You need to be able to offer your customer something they need and won’t find elsewhere.
Who can start a drop shipping t-shirt business?
Anyone can start a drop shipping t-shirt business even when you have no money for a start-up. Just start for nothing and use the income generated use it to build up your online e-commerce presence.
Drop shipping t-shirts or any print-on-demand business is not for lazy people looking for a get-rich scheme. There is also no guarantee that you will make money as most people give up too soon.
That is because you are working on a long-term plan that will provide you with a solid online business income stream.
Drop Shipping and Print on demand is ideally suited for people who:
- Like to learn how online business works
- Want to start an online income stream
- Who are creative and like to benefit from their skills
- Need a hobby to keep them busy with
- Has entrepreneurial skills
You do not need a qualification to do this as passion will be the only thing you need. The sooner you start the quicker you will learn new skills and expand to other online income streams. It cost nothing so mistakes will only cost you time and that is why you do not wait to start.
How much money can I make dropshipping t-shirts?
Drop shipping t-shirts are not going to make you rich ever unless you get very lucky. The only way you stand a chance of making money is by having a massive inventory of quality designs out there in the market.
Making money with print on demand is all about building up a recognizable brand and this takes time. Anywhere between one and five years depending on the time and effort you spend on your venture is the norm.
At an average profit margin of around $2.25 per sale, it will need some selling to make a sustainable living from this business model. To make around $5000 per month you have to average around 2250 sales. It is not impossible but hard for a beginner to achieve.
Always keep in mind the experience you gain is probably more valuable as it contributes towards attempting full-on e-commerce at a later stage. There are a lot of skills to be learned if you are interested in online business and money should not be the only motivator.
How do I start a drop shipping t-shirt business?
There are a few simple but necessary steps to take if you want to start a drop shipping business. First, you must decide which business model you will pursue. Are you going to sell through a storefront or an online shopfront?
A storefront is where your print-on-demand supplier allocates you with a free storefront on their website from where you can trade. Your designs are uploaded to the store they are providing and they take care of the rest for a share of the profit.
The benefit of this is that it is 100% free and they already have traffic to their platform in the millions. The problem however is that you have to compete with thousands of other designers doing the same thing.
I would suggest starting like this as a beginner as it allows you to build up inventory (designs) that you can later move to your online store. It will also provide you with experience in SEO and other critical factors that will enable your products to be found.
Most of all it will provide you with some income that can go towards setting up your own e-commerce store once you are ready.
Online Shop Front
An online shop front is where you set up your own domain and develop it into an independent e-commerce store. You still upload your designs to the print-on-demand supplier but they have no control over your pricing.
They will still do the hard work but instead of you having to drive traffic to their platform to sell your own goods you now drive traffic to your own website. They will still recoup the same margin for their work.
The benefits of having your own storefront are enormous in e-commerce terms. The biggest benefits are that you are putting a lot of effort into your marketing that will drive traffic to only your products. It also provides you with sourcing from multiple sources in one place.
Your own online shop can be set up at a fairly low cost but at the beginner stage you will still have to learn a few skills in order to “go it alone”. Rather stick to the storefront they offer while you are getting your final plan in order.
What are the best print-on-demand platforms?
There are many print-on-demand platforms online that will do drop shipping for you. All you have to do is to find the one that suits your needs. When it comes to drop-shipping t-shirts it is important to find a platform that you are most comfortable with.
There are a few things to consider when making your choice.
- Product range
- User friendly
- Profit margins
- Quality of product
- Customer reviews
Although you are focussing on drop shipping t-shirts it is nice to know that there are other products that you can offer to your customers in order to make some money. Your niche will guide you toward products that will suit your customer base.
As you are looking at building a large arsenal of designs it is important that it can be done easily and quickly. As a beginner with no money, your only expense will be time.
It is therefore important to find the one you feel most comfortable with and can do your work the quickest with.
Because all these print-on-demand suppliers are very similar it can be difficult for a beginner to make a choice. Just pick one and start because later you will join all the others to make sure you don’t rely on one source only.
Print-on-demand suppliers can disappear overnight so spread your wings after the initial stages.
Although most platforms have similar pricing structures it is important to find one where you have control over your profit. I chose Teepublic to start with because I had no experience with pricing and they have set prices.
I also felt that if I make the wrong choice it will affect my sales so why not do it on a level playing field?
Only once I gained experience and could see what is selling did I start on Redbubble where I could experiment with pricing. Honestly, I could see no difference between sales on both platforms.
Quality of product
It is important to look at the brand of the blank t-shirts used by the platform. It is easier to make sales if the brand is known to buyers. It is easy to Google the brands in order to determine what quality it offers.
Once again use Google to see what the customer reviews say about the platform you are about to use. Unfortunately, we all know that only unhappy people leave reviews of which some are chronicle complainers.
It is necessary to take reviews in the context of the number of visitors the website receives per month. In the end, it is up to you to read between the lines. If in doubt you can always buy a sample as soon as you can afford it.
Most print-on-demand creators will order the same design from three different platforms to check the quality of the product for themselves.
Skillscloud print-on-demand choice for beginners
When it comes to dropping shipping t-shirts for beginners I would strongly recommend the Teepublic platform.
This is because:
- It is very easy to join
- The set-up is quick
- A very friendly user interface any beginner can master quickly
- A good range of products
- I think the quality is exceptional as I never had a return
- Customer reviews are great
- The uploading process is quick and easy
- The ease of using it frees up time for marketing and the creation of new designs
- Pricing is set so the playing field remains level for all
Overall Teepublic is a pleasure to work with and will create enough opportunity to learn other skills needed when setting up your own e-commerce business.