What is Print On Demand and how does it work?

What is Print On Demand
Example of a Print On Demand iPhone Case

Print on Demand (POD) has become a secret weapon for many small businesses who want to find a way to maximize profits while reducing wasted inventory.

Many people turn to POD companies to sell their goods, such as shirts, books, and photographs. POD businesses print on an as-ordered basis, meaning your goods aren’t physically made until an order occurs. There are multiple companies that you can sign up with and do POD and the number of companies and products is increasing all the time.

If you’re looking for an easy way to start a sign hussle that will allow you to make a passive income, you may want to consider if you have ideas that could be used with POD, but what is POD, and how do we use it?

What is Print On Demand?

At its most simple purpose, a POD business prints material on an as-ordered basis. Once the company receives payment for its services, it will print the chosen material to fulfill the customer’s request.

POD businesses is often used by publishers and self-published authors to print and ship manuscripts. It prevents you from having a ton of books to store and saves you money if your book doesn’t sell as well as you hoped.

An author may place an order to have their books printed by the POD company and then further broker a deal where the POD company sells their manuscripts through their channels.

POD is also popular with people who run an e-commerce store or those that want to print materials with their unique logo or brand.

Some businesses will print a copy of your work each time a customer orders it and then drop ship it without you needing to do anything on the backend. Other companies may let you link to your e-commerce store.

How Does Print on Demand Work?

There are multiple POD companies currently out there, but they all work almost the same. A customer places an order for what they want to be printed. They choose how many copies, where those copies go, and upload any images and directions.

Once the order is submitted, a POD company will print the materials and fill the order. What features a business offers after printing will vary by company. Some work as just a printing service, while others will do the shipping for you.

This process is different from a traditional printer service, which will print multiple copies of the same material for distribution. For writers who haven’t built up a following, that could mean hundreds of copies of a book no one will read.

What is Print on Demand and what can it do for you?

Depending on the POD company, you can print any number of things for personal or commercial use. Many people use POD to sell their unique brands and products.

Common products you can use POD for include:

  • Shirts
  • Books
  • Coffee mugs
  • Water bottles
  • Bags
  • Hats
  • Posters

POD is a great way to make a passive income without doing a lot of work. You can submit your art designs for customers to order unique t-shirts and swag. Or print your self-published books to sell at your local bookstore or flea market.

Once the POD company has your designs, they can print your merchandise one at a time, each time a customer places an order. All you do is sit back and watch the profits roll in.

Why Use Print on Demand?

What is Print On Demand, and how is it practical for my business?

POD has many different benefits. First, it’s cost-effective. When you sign up for a print on demand service, you can choose how many copies of something you need, eliminating the waste of having too many. You can print to suit your budget.

And because you control how many copies to print, you don’t end up having to find storage for a bunch of inventory. You can print a small portion of copies as needed and then order more once you’ve exhausted your stock.

Another perk of using a print on demand service is that many of them handle the whole process of printing, packaging, and shipping your items direct to the seller. All you have to do is track the package during transit to ensure it gets to the proper location.

A Note of Caution

Although POD is a useful tool in your arsenal of producing and distributing your merchandise, it is crucial to remember that it can take time for your order to be ready to ship because your items are printed after you order.

The bigger and more elaborate your material is, the longer it can take to print. The same goes if the order consists of multiple prints. It would help if you always considered this before giving your customers a set delivery.

Most POD companies should be able to give an estimate of how long it would take to print and distribute your materials.

Best Print on Demand Companies

Now that you understand the purpose and benefits of using a POD service let’s look at a few of the most used ones. You can check out our in-depth list of over 1,300 POD Products and the companies that offer them.

Printful is a popular site for printing shirts, hats, mugs, jewelry, and other popular swag items. You do need an Etsy account to use this POD supplier. Once you upload your designs and set your prices, Printful will print orders on-demand and ship them to your customers.

Shopify is another popular POD company that allows your merchandise to be printed to order. It’s also a great place to sell your goods and is the largest e-commerce dropshipping site out there. However, you do have to pay to sell your goods.

In Closing what is Print on Demand

POD is a lucrative way to sell your products without buying and storing your items in bulk. Once you’ve uploaded your designs, your POD company will print your items as they are ordered. Many of them ship your items for you once everything is printed, so there’s no extra work for you to do.

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