Print-on-demand Vs Do-it-yourself: 3 Main Factors to Consider

Print-on-demand Vs Do-it-yourself: 3 Main Factors to Consider

Print-on-demand vs do it yourself

In the realm of crafting custom products, you have two primary options: utilizing print-on-demand services or taking the do-it-yourself route. Each approach comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and the optimal choice for your business hinges on various factors. This article delves into the distinctions between print-on-demand vs do-it-yourself methods, aiding you in determining the best option for your specific needs.

Here is a quick comparison table, supporting you to make a more informed decision. 

Factor Use Print-on-demand Services Print yourself
Cost to start Lower Much higher
Upfront cost Minimal (product’s base price only) Much higher
e-Commerce platform charges Monthly fee and other charges, depending on the platform May come if you run an online store
Inventory investment None Yes
Factory investment None Need to invest in facilities, machines, technology, materials, etc
Labor Start yourself or with a small team Need to build many departments
Shipping costs No need to handle Calculate shipping costs and handle process by yourself
Product control Limited control over the quality and consistency Full control of product quality before shipping to customer
Production management Cannot take part in the manufacturing process Take part in or full control of the manufacturing process
Scalability Highly scalable Limited
Profit ratio Lower  Higher

Now you have a better understanding of the differences between print-on-demand vs do-it-yourself. Let’s move on to the detailed comparison between these two models.

Cost and Investment

The first thing to think about is print-on-demand vs. do-it-yourself cost. In general, print-on-demand is cheaper to begin than printing it yourself.

Starting a print-on-demand business may cost less than $500, depending on the website and products. Similar to dropshoping, you may need to invest in the e-commerce platform charges and marketing fees. Your supplier handles production, storage, packaging, and shipping orders. This means you don't have to spend on machines, software, warehouses, and labor.

In contrast, printing yourself requires a huge amount of budget, which can reach $7,200 to $60,000 to start. You must buy things like screen printers, heat presses, or machines to cut vinyl. Plus, you need materials like ink, vinyl, and white-label stocks to print. You also must pay for space, utilities, labor, and other overhead costs.

Print on demand vs do it yourself cost
Printing yourself requires much more upfront costs than print-on-demand

Business Management

In terms of simplicity and ease of management, it’s obvious that print-on-demand takes the lead.

With print-on-demand, the tasks are pretty simple. You only need design artwork, upload it to your online store, set the price, promote, and send orders to fulfill. POD services do the rest, like printing custom products and shipping them to customers. This lets you focus on making new designs, promoting products, and improving customer service.

However, if you print and deliver yourself, there are more flexible steps. It requires you to have a suitable printer, enough ink and white-label items, and a reliable technology system. You also need to know how to operate the printer and the software and how to fix any problems that may occur. Printing yourself can be time-consuming, costly, and stressful, especially if you have many orders or complex designs.

Print on demand vs do it yourself t-shirts management
Managing a POD business is more simple than the traditional printing model

Profit Ratio

Between print-on-demand vs do-it-yourself, the second choice generates a higher profit ratio.

Print-on-demand services such as Printful and Printify incorporate several fees, covering inventory, printing, packaging, labeling, and shipping costs. They typically apply a percentage markup to the minimum price to secure profit. When utilizing their products, you need an additional markup to ensure your own profit margin, potentially resulting in higher retail prices.

To remain competitive, you may need to lower your amount, which can, in turn, reduce your profit margin. On average, sellers in the print-on-demand model typically achieve a net profit margin ranging from 15% to 20%.

On the other hand, handling everything independently provides greater control over costs and pricing. You have the autonomy to determine payments to partners, apply markups, and avoid sharing profits with a POD supplier. Consequently, profit margins in the do-it-yourself approach are generally higher, potentially two times or more than print-on-demand.

Print on demand vs do it yourself profit margin
The more risks, the more earning

Print-on-demand Vs Do-it-yourself: Which to Choose?

When choosing print-on-demand or do-it-yourself, it depends on your strengths, goals, budget, and risk adoption.

Print-on-demand is best for starting out, especially artists. It eliminates the risks of unsold inventory and allows flexibility to change designs without reprinting. You are free to personalize print-on-demand items.

Once you earn enough money and market insights, do-it-yourself may be more viable. Larger runs can reduce costs and enhance earning rates. Consistently reprinting designs could make owning equipment financially worthwhile, giving more control over customization and deadlines.

In conclusion, print-on-demand vs do-it-yourself depends on your goals, money, and comfort with risk. Print-on-demand lets you test without a lot of money upfront. Doing it yourself could save money later on if production is optimized. Don’t forget to join the Teeinblue Global Community for more tips and practices to succeed in the print-on-demand business.


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