So you’ve decided to start your own T-Shirt business.
You’ve got the coolest designs locked away in your head, you’ve done all the market research you can think of, and you’ve got the will to make it happen. So what’s next?
Well, next you need to decide exactly where you’re going to print your t-shirts.
Print On Demand (POD) services have been popping up around the globe at increasing rates in recent years.
Whether it’s to make some money on the side or fully escape the grind of their day jobs and become their own boss, this is largely because so many people are looking to set up their own business.
Print On Demand services provide those burgeoning entrepreneurs with the ability to chase their dreams.
You simply submit a shirt design, market it, and when someone decides that your image is one that they want to wear and buys it, the Print On Demand company prints the design and sends it off to the buyer.
Of course, this means low overhead for you and the potential to make big profits.
At a cursory glance, they each offer various benefits and potential pitfalls, which means a closer examination is necessary.
This article will delve into what makes each company unique, what services they provide better than the competition and, ultimately, decide which one is the best option for any first time dropshippers out there.
When a customer places an order through your store, they pay the mark-up rate for the product while you, as the seller, pay the wholesale price on the item.
Printful’s application automates this entire process, cutting down on the number of things that can go wrong and delivering significantly fewer headaches than traditional sales methods.
Printful provides the tools to place your design onto their products, they print your designs onto the items you specify, and they ship them out to your customers anywhere in the world.
All you need to do is install the app onto the e-commerce platform of your choosing and you’ll have yourself a fully automated online business.
Printful integrates with a number of online commerce platforms, including Shopify and Etsy, so you’re able to get working right away.
Also Read: Teespring Vs Printful
The overall method provided by Printify is fairly similar to its competitor.
You sign up for the free service, choose a name for your store, input your personal information, and you’re ready to start selling.
Once you are set up, you can browse the company’s massive directory of products – each available to be customized with your designs.
These include t-shirts, hoodies, laptop cases, iphone cases, mugs, canvas prints, and much more.
After selecting the product you must choose a print provider. Thankfully, there are a multitude of print providers available through Shopify’s platform.
Each of these offers different print areas, print type, sizes, colors, quality, and price. This allows you to choose the one best suited for you.
Once your selections have been made, you can get down to the fun work of creating.
Whether you want to add a logo, your own artwork, a funny image, inspirational quote, or just about anything else you can think of, Printify allows you to put it onto the merchandise.
From there, you can decide if you want to receive a sample before making it generally available.
This is probably a good idea, as low quality products tend to generate the most negative feedback online.
A little quality assurance can never hurt your business.
From there, you can start selling your products. Printify takes care of order fulfillment, leaving you to worry about creating and marketing.
Printful Vs Printify – Uploading Your Designs
Whichever site you’re using, you will be required to use their application to upload and position your PNG designs, set your prices, select the colors you want to use, create a title and description for your merchandise, and set keywords and tags.
Now that the basic overview of the services has been looked at, let’s dig a little deeper into the actual process of taking your work from imagination to the real world.
Also Read: Printify Vs Redbubble
Printful is frequently praised for its easy-to-use interface and design mock up technology.
The service relies heavily on the drag and drop model, allowing you to play around with your designs.
Using Printful’s design tools, you can upload images, logos, designs, and more.
Move the art around and drop it onto the product. From there, just adjust the size and location until you’re happy.
Additionally, Printful offers the ability to quickly determine different shipping options.
The tool dynamically calculates and then displays the various options you have and lets you choose the service that best fits your margins.
On the other hand, Printify’s upload feature generally takes longer.
This is because the default cheapest shirt (the Gildan 5000) is offered in a veritable kaleidoscope of colors.
This means you have to manually exclude certain colors or choose the “automatically exclude” option.
This setting does not select black-background options.
If you’re selling through Etsy, Printify will make you open the listing and set your own tags.
Printful, on the other hand, sets them for you so long as you provide them within their workflow.
Printful Vs Printify – Variety Of Products
Both companies offer an array of products.
Printify, for example, offers the traditional line of men’s and women’s t-shirts, as well as more idiosyncratic options like canvas gallery wraps and wall clocks.
Printful’s offering is pretty similar but comes up slightly wanting in the “stranger” products category.
Still, while you can’t print your own wall clocks like with Printify, if you’re in the market for a beach towel or a bomber jacket, Printful might be the option for you.
Check Out: Printful Vs Print Aura
Printful Vs Printify – Product Quality
Scouring the internet for reviews, it seems like most people prefer Printful’s products to that of Printify.
In this Reddit conversation, for example, one user specifically decried the quality of Printify’s products.
“On many occasions the samples I’ve gotten from Printify came out looking cracked/faded, and were in no condition to be sold to paying customers,” they wrote.
The same user did note, however, that the garments themselves are of equal quality, given that both companies largely source their apparel from the same manufacturers, including Bella+Canvas, Gildan, Next Level, and more.
The primary reason for the discretion in printing quality is that Printify doesn’t do any of the actual printing itself.
The company serves more as a middleman. Printful, on the other hand, has its own warehouses and printing facilities.
Printful Vs Printify – Interface Usability
Of the two, Printful is the more popular platform thanks to the company’s selection of photographers and designers. That comes in addition to the site’s normal functions and features.
That gives you more options when it comes time to customize your designs.
The company also has a substantial reach thanks to its fulfillment centers spread throughout Europe and the United States.
These, in turn, help reduce shipping times making for happy customers.
Also Read: Printify Vs Teelaunch
Printful Vs Printify – Integrations
Both companies offer the ability to integrate with a number of e-commerce stores.
If we decided to write about how each of these companies integrates with EVERY e-commerce store we would end up with a tome larger than Infinite Jest.
So instead we’ll use the experience one would have integrating with the more popular e-commerce sites and assume the ordeal is similar for other platforms.
That popular site? Shopify.
To begin with, Printify’s Shopify integration is a painless experience.
Here’s the process:
- From your Printify account, click the three dots in the top right corner and go to My Stores.
- Find your store name and click the Connect button.
- Choose Shopify from the list of platforms.
- Add the URL for your Shopify store.
- Accept the offer to install the Printify app on your Shopify store.
That’s it. Once you’ve installed the app, Printify will be available on your Shopify Dashboard.
From there, you can create new products or edit previous ones, all directly from the safety and security of your dashboard.
The Printful process is similarly easy to set up. In order to get rolling with Shopify and Printful you just need to follow a few simple steps, including:
- Navigate to your Shopify Dashboard
- Find the Apps section and search for the “Printful” app.
- Click “Get.”
- Complete the registration process.
After that, the app will install itself and from then on, you will be able to use it from your Shopify store.
Similar to Printify, you will be able to create custom products and place them online for sale through your Shopify Store directly from the Admin area.
Also Read: Customcat Vs Printful
Of course, both companies integrate with a number of other ecommerce platforms. Look at the image above for a sample of how you can use Printful.
Fortunately, a little research has shown that both companies have similarly easy setup processes for other platforms. So just find the one you like and get designing.
Printful Vs Printify – How Much Do They Cost
The pricing for both companies is relatively straightforward.
Signing up is completely free and there aren’t subscription fees, membership fees, or the need to concern yourself over minimum order requirements.
Looking first at Printful, that means that you only pay for the orders when your customers place an order. Printful takes a cut of what you make from each sale.
Printful provides its users with a useful profit calculator. So if a shirt costs $8.95, and you sell it for $18, that’s a profit of $9.05.
The company offers this service for all of its products.
Printful takes approximately 2 to 7 business days to create apparel products like t-shirts and 2 to 5 days for non-apparel products like posters.
It’s important to note that you need to add shipping times ON TOP OF the manufacturing times.
Speed and price will depend on the type of product you’re using and where you’re shipping it to.
Of course, it can be a little confusing to figure out. To that end, Printful has created a number of handy tables to help users out.
Also Read: Printify Vs Gooten
According to its own statistics, 97.66 percent of Printful’s orders are shipped with 5 business days.
More than half of the company’s orders are shipped within 3 business days or less, again according to the company’s own website.
Printify, on the other hand, has a little more disparity with regards to its shipping rates and fees.
These, however, can vary depending on which print provider that you choose.
That’s because certain providers have different shipping rates and delivery times than others.
Still, there are average shipping times we can look at independent of the provider:
- Within the United States: 5 to 7 business days.
- Canada: 10 to 16 business days.
- International orders: 10 to 30 business days.
Printify has a way to simplify this process if your part of the Advanced Shopify Plan.
The company offers the Printify Shipping Calculator, which provides an easy and straightforward way to charge your customers the exact right shipping rates each time.
Printful Vs Printify – Customer Support
The notes online about Printify’s customer service tend to run the gamut.
Some people note their speed, efficiency, and responsiveness, while others decry their lack of promptness, rudeness, and long wait times.
That said, it’s not unusual for the loudest voices online to be the exceptions to the rule.
Most people who are satisfied with a company’s work don’t feel the need to go and write about it on the internet.
Still, those loud voices are enough to make us take notice and you can be sure that if we ever have the need to deal with Printify’s customer service, we’ll be walking into the situation cautiously.
Printful has received praise online for its quick responses to user inquiries. For example:
“Sometimes there are QA issues with the finished printed product that go unnoticed.
But their customer support is quick to resolve such incidents and quickly re-prints and ships replacement products,” wrote one user on G2crowd.com.
Explore: Zazzle Vs Printful
Printful Vs Printify – Final Comparison
Obviously, each of these companies has something unique to offer its users. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to stay in business.
However, there does seem to be a consensus online: If print quality is important to you, stick with Printful; if you’re looking to spend less money, go with Printify.
Printify’s quality is inconsistent at times. Products will arrive poorly printed and with long delays.
That’s largely a systemic problem at the root of their business model.
They farm out the actual production of the merchandise to other printers around the world.
Depending on what you buy, who prints it, and how much you charge, this can have a big impact on your customer satisfaction.
That said, the company does provide users the ability to choose their supplier.
That means that if something doesn’t work, it can be changed, tweaked, and modified until it is just right for you and your customers.
It also means that if you don’t change anything when a problem pops up, you only have yourself to blame.
Printify’s business model also means that you can give yourself bigger profit margins.
If you can balance quality and cost then you might be able to eke out an impressive living.
It’s important to order samples though. That’s the best way to prevent sub-par merchandise from being shipped to your customers.
Don’t allow simple errors and oversights to ruin your business.
If you choose Printify, make sure you know what is going out to your customers. That way if there’s a problem you can nip it in the bud.
Explore: Printify Vs Print Aura
Printful Vs Printify – Verdict
But at the end of the day, quality is what counts.
You’re not going to get repeat business if you’re consistently sending out half-cocked design ideas on poorly printed cheap shirts.
You’ll only start seeing customers come back time and again once you provide them with a thoughtful and well-designed image on properly printed, high quality merchandise.
So, if that’s the way you see the world, and that’s the type of business you want to run, then Printful is the right way to go for you.
Because the company provides its own printing services and ships from its own distribution hubs located around the world, it is able to ensure the prompt and timely delivery of high quality merchandise to just about anywhere on the globe.
Time and again, users have complemented the consistency of Printful’s products.
The printing is high grade, the merchandise is well made, and the company takes care to fix problems when the arise.
Ultimately, each of these services has pros and cons.
That means do your research: order samples, conduct market surveys, and generally play around with all the options before sinking your money and too much of your time into any endeavour.
Fortunately, both options are free to try. You can integrate both with whichever e-commerce platform you prefer.
There’s also nothing saying you can’t use both in tandem, AB test them, and decide which one is better suited for you.
But in a world where quality is (slightly) more important than profit, Printful is the way to go.THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Hi guys..this is Brian. I started my first e-commerce company in college designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using Print-On-Demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7 figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you get succeed.