As I have mentioned in previous posts we moved to Mexico to get closer to United States as we set-up some different streams of passive income that are dependent on the US market. We want to be transparent in our set-ups and lessons learned as we move forward hoping that we can help someone else lay a blueprint for their own success.
Currently, we are building a dropshipping print on demand (POD) company. In hopes of developing it into an import dropshipping company…. We use POD companies as dropshippers for our order fulfillment on Etsy. The use of ETSY and the use of the POD companies is zero. You do not pay until you get a sale. The POD companies that we use are both fully integrated with Etsy. We create product, keep our shops interesting, and promote our listings. In a nutshell that is our business.
This business model has a very low barrier of entry!
We currently have two POD companies that we use for our product fulfillment. We did our homework and tried out a few different ones before settling on these two. We currently use Printify and Printful as our dropshipping companies. We are considering one more but we haven’t made that move yet. Simplicity reigns supreme until we plateau. One of our guiding principles is not to add to our businesses until we plateau and we have not plateaued yet. While both of the companies that we use mechanically do the same thing – fulfill our orders – they both serve different purposes for us. I thought it would be helpful if we reviewed both of the companies and gave you (what we think) the important pros and cons of each one.
The topics we will compare are:
- Product line
- Ease of Set-up
- Customer Service
- Store Integration
- Free Design Software
We will give each one a 1-5 Star rating with 5 Stars being the best.
Lets begin with the all mighty dollar
Printful walks the yard like a big dog. They make everything easy to use and give you many more tools than other POD shops. They have a global reach with their own factories in Mexico, Latvia, and the two main factories in North Carolina and California. For all of their services you pay about 25% more than other shops. Let me explain what this means. For a blank tee shirt it may cost you $8.30 for a Bella Canvas 3001 Unisex shirt blank at a shop of Printify and on Printful it will cost $12.95 (real life comparison) for the same shirt. If you price the shirt at $19.99 you will profit $7.07 on Printful vs. $11.69 on Printify. After Etsy takes their $1.50 you are making $5.57/ shirt on Printful and $10.19/ shirt on Printfy.
If we are talking strictly dollars and cents (sense) Printful loses big. But it is never that easy. Printful’s print quality is superior when it comes to vibrancy and they have a set standard that appears to be better than others. They offer a lot of support services as well. We print our super colorful designs with Printful and charge a couple of dollars more to our end users but we still us Printify for the vast majority of our prints. Their quality is not to be snubbed and their profit margins are far superior to Prinful’s.
Prices are awesome, need I say more. We are able to have a 40-55% profit margin on most of their products listed. We are able to do this without over charging our customers and all the while rivaling our competitors effectively. We have found that the companies that we use provide a premium product as well. T-shirts are big business and Printify has a wide variety of vendors and shirts to choose from. Allow me to explain. Printify is a decentralized company. They act as an administrator over a market place of companies that compete for your business. This business structure has many advantages and disadvantages but price is a definite advantage. Every shop is not created equal. Printify has their own scoring system for each company so scrutinized their grading system closely before choosing which company to roll with.
Printful offers all of the basics (hats, sweatshirts, t-shirts, jackets….but their product line is not vast neither are their color selections for the shirts that they have. Printful stocks the major name brand shirts and in the most popular shirts that offer an decent array of colors but by and large their offerings are limited. To their defense they claim to only use shirts and shirt colors that the direct-to-garment ink looks good on and in.
Printify offers a wide array of print-on-demand products; t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, hats, stickers, jackets, bracelets, canvases, posters, shoes, coffee cups, travel mugs…..Printify has a major leg-up. Printify’s business model is different through. They leverage the diversity of many different companies. You can think of Printify as a marketplace to shop for companies and each company offers a different mix of products. Some companies only do coffee mugs. Others only do socks and towels…. The market place supposedly governed by one standard of quality but this is not the case. All of the companies that offer their services through Printify have varying levels of strengths and weaknesses. Read the reviews and make your decision wisely. In our short time using POD companies we have learned to research as much as we can. We look at Glassdoor for employee reviews, hit the companies website and read customer reviews we gather as much information as we can about the companies we use. Each company is its own entity that reports to the mother company, Printify but the actual printing is contracted out to the company of your choosing.
Ease of Set-up
Printful ⭐⭐⭐⭐ & Printify ⭐⭐⭐⭐
They both offer seamless connection to Etsy, Shopify, Woocommerce, WIX…. -which means you do not have to concern yourself with inventory. You can create a product on either of their websites and push it out directly to your shopping site(s). That also means that once you get a sale you don’t have to move any funds or files around everything is automated.
We live and work out of the country so communication is extremely important. Printful has been able to communicate with us realtime through their online-chat boxes. There has never been an instance where we were not able to reach someone. Every issue that we have had has been tended to promptly and every time we have asked for compensation for a problem they have comped us.
Case-in-points: 1) International order has not arrived after 3 weeks in mail. They offered express reprint and express shipping. 2) Order not printed in the prescribed timeline, they offer a full refund or express shipping.
Their team over communicates when there is an issue and we appreciate that very much. I have been able to communicate real-time with both companies via their chatboxes on their sites and when we have to use correspondence (outside of business hours) I always get a reply promptly. Printful is quicker on their responses and their follow-up and their follow-through is excellent, bar none!
Printify has a good communication system. We would not be working with them if they did not. Their system is a bit more labored and as the customer you can tell it is not smooth running. You communicate via the chatbox on their website and their follow-up is reasonable, usually within an hour. This is a disadvantage of a decentralized company. The left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing and then having to get informed when there is a problem.
Case-in-point we had 3 or 4 products get lost in the mail but not really lost. When we examined the problem is was items from a particular vendor on Printify and they were logging that items were printed and shipped off to USPS but the items were not arriving at USPS. As long as they show that they have printed the item and shipped it within the contracted time-frame Printify would not hold them liable for the reprint. We believe they were fudging the paperwork to show that items were shipped to USPS when they never were. This happened to us on 4 different occasions with the same company. We have since dropped that company (Dream Junction) and we haven’t had an issue since. Also, since the items were lost in the mail Printify paid for the reprint and shipping of the products but we had to explain to our customers and compensate our customers for the delays. No compensation was offered given to us when we asked.
Mock-up generator – is a piece of software that allows you to place a design onto a product and see what the finished product looks like. All product generators are not created equal. Most POD companies have one to use on their sites but they are not equal….
Printful has mockup generator complete with models to place your clothes and products on and a printfile generator that you can use to download your own files and spruce them up as you see fit. Printful’s mockup generator is the shit! It is intuitive and easy to use. As a package deal and free to its users it also has a bulk of drag and drop royalty free images (line art, graphics, abstracts) that you can use for your designs. It also has a built-in text tool to create texted-based designs. No other POD company that we have researched has anything that rivals this companies FREE TO USE design software. When we first started we did all of our designs on their software. Like I said, we created our first products completely from Printful’s free art and text tools.
Printify’s mock-up generator is clunky, you have to load your own designs. You can play with the sizes and layers but you cannot create a design using their software.
I mean if you were a slick son-of-a-gun you could design on Printful download the design and upload to Printify…..
Printify’s mock-up generator is not a headache to use but it falls wayyyy short of what Printful offers. It is not convenient. You load an image on one screen and have switch screens to view it on the product. The process is repeated until you make all of the adjustments you need to make. Also, the final mocked-up product is not on a person it is a flat-lay, which in itself is not bad but we have noticed that mocked up goods in action being used by what appears to be the end user tend to sell well.
For your information:
Both companies share on average the same shipping lead times. Our orders are ranging between 5-9 days for delivery within the US. On international orders about 3 to 4 weeks. International orders without the tracking number have been lost in the mail twice. Anyway both times orders were re-sent priority shipping (with a tracking #) free of charge to us. -just thought you should know that.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, Printify is different from other POD companies in that they are not a POD shop but they are a marketplace to connect with a variety of other POD shops. All of the shops are under the Printify umbrella and Printify makes it a seamless connection. There is only one set of rules for all of the shops and we have not had a serious problem with any of the companies that we do business with.
Both companies are white-label companies, which means you can have your logo placed on the clothes. Though, again Printful takes it a couple of steps further. You can have your logo placed on the receipt and you can have personal notes placed on the receipt. Both companies allow you to have stickers and/ or stationary placed into your packages….for a fee. For banding purposes this is golden!
Also, it is worth while to note that Printful offers customer reviews on all of their products so you can see what other sellers are saying about products before you jump in. None of Printify’s companies offer anything like this but there are many online forums for you to explore customer satisfaction in regards to different products.
I hope this article was informative. Let me know you have had some different experiences or have any additional information that you would like to know. Below is a link to each store if you would like to shop around to see what they offer. These are affiliate links, you will not be charged at all but if you do sign-up using this link we will make a (small lol) commission. Please know that every opinion shared is authentic, sincere and true.