If you’ve just decided to start your own print-on-demand business, you’ve made an excellent choice. In 2021, the market size of custom shirt printing alone was projected to have reached $3.9 billion worldwide, and $812.7 million in the US (Grand View Research).
With numbers like that, it’s no wonder that you’re looking to get in on the action. But before you can start selling your own custom-printed products, you need to find a good print provider. And with hundreds of print providers out there, how exactly do you find the right one?
Why Bother Looking for a Print Provider?
Before we get into how to find the perfect print provider, you might be wondering: why bother looking for one in the first place? Can’t I just look up some local shirt printing companies and work with who ever’s available when I get an order?
The answer is: not really.
While it might be tempting to just choose the first one you come across, this is usually not the best idea. The quality of your products and the overall satisfaction of your customers will be heavily influenced with your choice of printing and dropshipping company. Furthermore, having a go-to print provider whom you can trust is like having a business partner. You’ll get a sense of security knowing that you always have someone you can rely on when it comes to the fulfillment of your orders.
Things You Should Consider When Looking for a Print Provider
Now, let’s not drag this out any longer and finally get into the nitty-gritty. Below are the things you should take into account when looking for a print provider.
Their Price and Location
You want your customers to be happy with their purchase, but you also want to make a profit. This is why it’s important to find a print provider whose prices are fair. You also have to make sure they’re close enough to your target market that you won’t have to worry about exorbitant shipping costs eating into your profits.
When considering price, don’t just look at the base cost of the product. You should also factor in things like shipping and fulfillment, as well as any discounts or bulk ordering options that might be available. In short: you want to find a print provider whose prices work for both you and your customers.
As for location, you might want to check the scope of the print provider’s shipping options. This is especially the case if you’re planning to expand your market eventually. It would be a shame to have to find a new print provider down the line just because your old one couldn’t ship to a different state or country.
Wide Product Catalog and Quality
Trends come and go, which is why it’s important to find a print provider with a wide catalog of products. This way, you can be sure they’ll have the shirt styles, colors, and sizes that your customers are looking for. Furthermore, it would be ideal if they also offered unique products that can be easily customized, such as tote bags and phone cases.
To give you an idea on which products your prospective print provider should offer, here are 15 most trending and profitable POD items this 2022 according to Cloudways:
- Custom Sneakers
- Tote Bags
- Bed Sheets
- Yoga Mats
- Fanny Packs
- Phone Cases
Product Quality and Printing Techniques
No matter how eye-catching your designs are, they won’t mean anything if the quality of the print is subpar. This is why you should take the time to check the printing techniques used by your prospective print provider. As a general rule, they should use state-of-the-art printing machines and eco-friendly inks.
In terms of product quality, you should also make sure that the print provider only uses high-quality materials. The shirts should be comfortable to wear and durable enough to last for years. To ensure this, you can try ordering a sample product from the print provider and see for yourself how their products hold up.
What makes print-on-demand one of the most efficient models for online businesses is the fact that there’s no need to keep inventory on hand. Instead, you can just integrate your store with a print provider and let them take care of the printing and shipping for you.
To make sure everything runs smoothly, you should look for a print provider that offers easy ecommerce integrations. They should be able to connect with popular platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Etsy with ease. Furthermore, it would also be helpful if they offer automatic order fulfillment. This way, you can just sit back and relax while the print provider takes care of everything for you.
Quality Customer Service
Even with the best ecommerce integration in place, there will still be times when things go wrong. This is why it’s important to find a print provider with quality customer service. They should be responsive and helpful when it comes to solving any issues you might have.
To get an idea of the quality of customer service offered by a print provider, you can try reaching out to them before making a purchase. See how long it takes for them to get back to you and how helpful they are in addressing your concerns.
Good Reviews From Other Sellers
Your research shouldn’t stop once you’ve found a print provider with all the features you’re looking for. You should also take the time to read reviews from other sellers who have used their services. This way, you can get an idea of what it’s like to work with them and whether or not they’re worth doing business with.
Apart from going over the testimonials posted on their website, you can also try searching for reviews on their social media, Google, and Yelp pages. This way, you can be sure you’re getting an unbiased look at what other sellers think of them.
Reliability and Open Communication
As mentioned, your chosen print provider will be like your business partner who’s going to handle a lot of important tasks for you. Because of this, it’s crucial that you find a reliable and trustworthy provider. They should be able to keep their promises and meet your expectations in terms of quality and delivery time.
Furthermore, it would also be helpful if they’re open to communication. This way, you can easily get in touch with them whenever you need to ask a question or raise an issue.
In this time and age, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your business is not only profitable but also socially responsible. One of the best ways to do this is to partner with a print provider that uses sustainable materials and has a system in place to reduce leftover stock and waste created in production.
By working with a socially responsible print provider, you can be sure that you’re not only getting high-quality products but also doing your part in preserving the environment.
Haven’t Found “The One” for You Yet?
Looking for a print provider is easy, but finding the right one for your business can be a bit tricky. However, if you keep the factors mentioned above in mind, you should be able to find the perfect partner for your business in no time.
And if you still can’t seem to find the one for your brand, look no further! With over 100 customizable products, a free and easy-to-use mockup generator, e-commerce integrations, and a lot more, Awkward Styles can be your go-to POD partner! We’ll make sure that your amazing designs get printed on high-quality products and delivered to your customers on time.
So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with us today and learn more!