5 Factors Printify vs Printful Print On Demand for Etsy

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Are you planning to set up your print on demand business on Etsy but confused to go with Printify or Printful? These are two popular printing providers you can choose from.

If you’re only starting out on Etsy, it can be pretty daunting to set up your print on demand business successfully. There are great choices out there. It’s no brainer that Printify and Printful vary in few aspects of their service. As a newbie, it’s perfectly normal if you’re confused which to focus on!

Here we list the top things to consider when making that choice and recommend which you should focus on today!

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1. Types of product available and specifications

 Types of product available and specifications - 5 Factors Printify vs Printful Print On Demand for Etsy
Types of product available and specifications – 5 Factors Printify vs Printful Print On Demand for Etsy

The main thing differentiating Printify and Printful is the choices of products available on their platform and whether they suit your overall business idea. Printify undoubtedly has a greater number of products (over 300 in total) to choose from including the basics such as t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, canvas prints, totebags and cushion covers. You can also find these products in more colors on Printify as compared to Printful. 

Printful on the other hand has a few types of products that are not available on Printify which includes sportswear and items such as crop tops. If you’re looking to target a younger audience with hobbies of getting fit, consider starting on Printful! They also offer an all over sublimation printing which is ideal for leggings to look cool. 

If you’re looking for a more general niche, Printify works just fine! 

Quick Tip: When it comes to selling t-shirts and ensuring that you cover everyone’s needs, always go for unisex t-shirt with extended sizes. Choosing the right fit, sizes and colors is important for you to get returning customers.

2. Costing and margins for your business

 Costing and margins for your business - 5 Factors Printify vs Printful Print On Demand for Etsy
Costing and margins for your business – 5 Factors Printify vs Printful Print On Demand for Etsy

The basic t-shirt costs $9.51 on Printify (excluding $5.00 shipping) while costing $16.51 on Printful (excluding $4.99 shipping). This comes up to a big difference of $6.99 for every t-shirt sold. Starting out, your strategy should be to penetrate the market and get your first few sales for upcoming reviews (and hopefully returning customers), the key determinant would be your selling price. If you’re looking to sell a t-shirt at $19.99, the only feasible option is to go with Printify.

Without considering selling costs on Etsy, you’ll be able to get a gross margin of $5.48 per t-shirt sold (about 27% profit). As compared to Printful, you’ll have to sell a t-shirt at $29.45 to be able to get the same 27% profit.

Better sales should equal better margins and that’s what both platforms are doing, though in different ways! Printify offers a Premium plan of $24.99 per month which you’ll have to buy fork out upfront to get 20% off each order made during that month. Printful on the other hand does not require you to pay to get any discounts but you’ll have to reach a certain milestone to unlock discounts with its minimum at 5%.

Quick Tip: Only get the Printify subscription later on if your total savings from getting the discount exceeds the price you’re paying every month. You should be able to cover this if you have a sufficient number of orders (xx) per month.

3. Quality of products

Quality of products - 5 Factors Printify vs Printful Print On Demand for Etsy
Quality of products – 5 Factors Printify vs Printful Print On Demand for Etsy

It’s pretty obvious that Printful uses the premium pricing strategy and maybe it’s called for, that’s for you to judge! Printful generally prints designs bigger and an inch higher on t-shirts which makes it look well positioned. They offer better quality products especially for t-shirts and if you’re looking to personalize with white labels in the long run, Printful offers greater customization for your brand compared to Printify.

Needless to say Printify’s quality is comparable and for the price you’re getting, it’s totally fair. You will however need to go through the list of suppliers to choose a few best for your products based on their ratings and promised product quality. If you don’t need sleeve prints on your t-shirts and are satisfied with simpler ends, Printify is complete!

Direct to garment products are marked based on the texture of prints and white speckling observed on the final product. 

Quick Tip: Printify prints are more vibrant and on a warmer side compared to Printful which has a slightly duller tone. It’s up to you to decide which suits your brand best, none are wrong!

4. Facilities and production risk

 Facilities and production risk - 5 Factors Printify vs Printful Print On Demand for Etsy
Facilities and production risk – 5 Factors Printify vs Printful Print On Demand for Etsy

The manufacturing industry has taken a toll during the pandemic and just like everything else, your print on demand business has its own fair share of risk. Fully operational on its own, Printful faced great issues of fulfilling orders when corona hit. Products took up to 6 weeks to be delivered to customers and in the world of Amazon’s one day shipping, this is simply intolerable even for the most patient of customers.

As Printify outsources all printing and has a line of suppliers partnering with them, they were able to shoulder the issues of fulfilment better than Printful. They even added more partners to their list in 2020!

Of course things have resumed to normal and products take generally 5-7 days to arrive, but you wouldn’t want to face the same issue by depending only on one provider in case anything similar happens again. Printify also works with various printing facilities from all around the world, making it less risky if your chosen supplier is unable to produce (due to stock or operational issues, it happens). You would be able to find the same or almost similar product in another supplier’s list.

Since Printful manages everything centrally, it may be difficult to get an exact replacement if a product runs out.

Quick Tip: Sign up for both Printify and Printful even if you decide to use just one at first. It’s possible to place orders manually and redirect if a particular product runs out. You can manually order an exact product via Printify if you are not able to find any good replacement on Printful.

5. White label

White label - 5 Factors Printify vs Printful Print On Demand for Etsy
White label – 5 Factors Printify vs Printful Print On Demand for Etsy

If you’re planning to make print on demand a sustainable business with great reviews and recurring customers, you would want to consider creating a brand for the long term. In time, you’ll be able to sell the same products on your own self hosted website alongside your own Etsy store, that’s completely normal. No one will ever notice that your products are printed on demand, neat!

Well it would be even more convincing if you have brand logos printed on all your products. A little personalization goes a long way and it’s entirely possible using both Printify and Printful! Printful offers greater customization, this includes adding your brand logo to each packaging and slipping in discount cards into the parcel. These small gestures is great to encourage purchases from your existing customers. Retaining customers is always cheaper than getting new ones.

Quick Tip: In your early stages of trying out print on demand as a side hustle, you don’t have to think too much about personalization (branding can be a headache and one you don’t need YET). Just focus on getting sales and finding what works for your business. White labelling can come in later!

Bottom Line

As a business owner, you have to look in all angles and account for risk. Your first goal is to make sales, get great reviews and have happy customers returning for more whilst attracting new ones. It’s super easy to set up a print on demand business even with a $5 budget but there are some great factors to consider if you’re looking to make money long term. Overall, we believe starting out is much easier and more economical using Printify.

Both Printify and Printful are great free print on demand providers to kickstart your Etsy business. They complement each other well if used jointly with the right strategy. With everything else, just pick one to dive into, start designing with Canva and take time for trial & error. You’ll need the experience to be successful. Good luck!

Photo by Hailey Moeller on Unsplash

Abby B.

Hey there! Abby here - the founder of Passive Marketeer and also the main writer on the site. My love for ecommerce and online marketing was something I found through my 9-5 sales job. It was mind boggling at first that we're able to make an income online passively in today's world! If you're still feeling that way, know that you're not alone.

That's why, I decided to help others by sharing findings through my own research on today's ecommerce world. When I'm not writing, I'm either running my online biz, traveling, cooking or gardening.

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