How to Start Dropshipping for Free

How to Start Dropshipping for Free

If you’re tired of the nine-to-five grind and want to be your own boss, dropshipping could be your ticket to success. It’s become a popular way to start an eCommerce business, and since it’s so easy to get started, anyone can do it.

Continue reading to learn how to start dropshipping for free with Printify.

Key Takeaways

  • Dropshipping is a profitable business model for those starting online stores.
  • Print on Demand services like Printify let you start dropshipping with zero upfront costs.
  • Create unique designs, set up and optimize your online store, and use a budget-friendly marketing strategy to succeed.
  • Free online tools make it easy to manage your dropshipping business.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you make a purchase through those links. This comes at no additional cost to you.

Dropshipping and its Costs

A person using a calculator to figure out their dropshipping business costs.

In the dropshipping business model, a store gets its products from a third-party supplier instead of keeping them in stock. Once a customer orders, the supplier ships the products directly to the customer. 

You don’t need to spend money on inventory or handle shipping when running an online dropshipping business. However, there may be costs depending on your marketing methods and sales channels.

Quick Tip

For additional info, visit our blog: How Much Does it Cost to Start Dropshipping in 2024.

Can You Dropship for Free?

Starting a dropshipping business is free if you have an Internet connection and some time to invest in it.

Since you won’t pay for production until you receive an order, you won’t have any inventory costs.

Free tools like GIMP, and Adobe Express eliminate design costs.

How Does the Dropshipping Business Model Work With Print on Demand?

Unlike traditional dropshipping, Print on Demand (POD) lets you customize products with unique designs before shipping them to your customers.

Creating specialized designs and offering personalized products will make your business more appealing to niche markets, and the lack of upfront costs lets you offer a flexible product selection.

Quick Tip

Read our blog on starting a dropshipping business for more insights and expert advice before starting your online business.

How to Start a Dropshipping Business With No Money

Before you start dropshipping for free, find your target audience, choose the best marketing strategies, and learn how to provide top-notch customer service.

We’ll go over everything you need to know to start dropshipping without breaking the bank.

Choose a Niche

Selecting a niche, a group of people with a common interest, is essential for success in online dropshipping since it determines your target audience, existing competition, and overall profitability.

Start with your hobbies and interests. If you’re into cooking, consider products geared toward chefs. Or, if you love to travel, design products other travelers will enjoy. There are many niches, but we recommend picking one you’re already familiar with to make research easier.

Research Market Demand

A man researching the market demand for his dropshipping business idea.

Stay informed about industry trends to make data-driven decisions that set your dropshipping business up for long-term success.

Use free online services like Semrush or Google’s Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords in your niche and get valuable insights about search volume, pricing, demand, and trending topics.

Evaluate Your Competition

Look at popular businesses within your chosen niche to understand how much competition you’ll have and identify potential gaps your dropshipping business can fill.

Catering to a niche with low to moderate competition lets you set your dropshipping store apart from the rest and offer unique value to customers.

Research Products

A woman researching the top-selling dropshipping products on Amazon.

To effectively identify and source profitable products for your dropshipping business, look for high-demand items that appeal to your market niche and offer favorable profit margins.

Consider product uniqueness, quality, and market saturation.

Stay proactive by monitoring market trends and adapting your products to meet your customers’ needs.

Identify Product Trends

Analyze keyword search volumes with tools like Google Trends and check out our POD experts’ trend predictions to find popular products and upcoming trends for your dropshipping niche.

Check out competitor stores to identify market gaps you could fill with your products.

Use Social Media

A young woman using social media to research her business idea and audience.

Follow relevant online forums and hashtags to see what your target audience posts about and get ideas for products to add to your inventory.

Find Dropshipping Suppliers

Look online to see which suppliers other dropshipping businesses use. Look for reliable suppliers with experience, positive reviews, and transparent policies.

Vet each supplier carefully to ensure they meet your requirements, offer the products you need, and have high quality standards.

Printify’s Product Catalog makes it easy to find reliable dropshipping suppliers and view their prices, average production time, and ratings from other online store owners.

Look closely at partnership terms to ensure they match your goals. Get some samples to evaluate product quality before committing to a supplier.

Easily order samples by going to your Printify Dashboard and selecting Orders.

Quick Tip

Check out our blog on the best dropshipping websites for more info about top dropshipping companies.

Start Designing

Printify's Product Creator showing the design process for a custom t-shirt.

Use our Product Creator to scale, layer, and personalize designs with free graphics, fonts, and patterns. Our AI Image Generator creates one-of-a-kind images from text prompts. Once your designs are ready, we’ll place them on realistic mockups to add to your product listings.

Sites like Canva offer access to a massive library of free and paid templates, graphics, and design elements.  

Use GIMP to retouch photos, create illustrations and animations, and access even more features through free third-party plugins. 

Try Inkscape to make scalable graphics and illustrations for logos, icons, and vectors.

Set Up Your Online Store

Once you’ve chosen a dropshipping supplier, products and designs are ready, it’s time to create a store to start dropshipping.

Choosing a platform for your store will depend on the required skills, price, target audience, and personal preferences. 

Let’s look at some of the most popular options.

Features Costs
Printify Pop-Up Store
  • Instant store setup
  • Sell through a unique link
  • Printify manages all customer support
Completely free with no additional hosting, subscription, or transaction fees.
TikTok Shop US
  • Nearly 150 million users in the United States
  • Quick setup
  • Free analytics tools
Free, but charges 6-8% transaction fees.
  • Around 132 million active buyers worldwide
  • Easy setup
  • Auction-style and fixed-price listings
Free to start, 250 listings per month without insertion fees, but charges a final value fee of $0.30 or $0.40.
  • 92 million active buyers
  • Easy setup
  • Built-in marketing tools
$0.20 listing fee on every product (renews every four months), 6.5% fee of the total order amount. May require a one-time store opening $15 fee.
  • Over 700 million buyers
  • Free themes and apps
  • Integrated payment gateway
3-day free trial and $1 for the first month. The starter subscription plan is $5/month.


  • Instant store setup
  • Sell through a unique link
  • Printify manages all customer support


Completely free with no additional hosting, subscription, or transaction fees.


  • Nearly 150 million users in the United States
  • Quick setup
  • Free analytics tools


Free, but charges 6-8% transaction fees.


  • Around 132 million active buyers worldwide
  • Easy setup
  • Auction-style and fixed-price listings


Free to start, 250 listings per month without insertion fees, but charges a final value fee of $0.30 or $0.40.


  • 92 million active buyers
  • Easy setup
  • Built-in marketing tools


$0.20 listing fee on every product (renews every four months), 6.5% fee of the total order amount.

May require a one-time store opening $15 fee.


  • Over 700 million buyers
  • Free themes and apps
  • Integrated payment gateway


3-day free trial and $1 for the first month. The starter subscription plan is $5/month.

Optimize Your Store for Conversions

If you’re running a stand-alone online store, encourage potential customers to interact with your business by signing up for newsletters, following you on social media, and, ultimately, buying your products.

Here are some ways to turn more browsers into buyers:

Market Your Dropshipping Business

A woman working on her dropshipping business marketing plan.

If you don’t have a big marketing budget to spend on ads and want to start dropshipping with no money, there are plenty of free ways to attract shoppers to your online store and boost sales.

Here are some free marketing strategies to consider:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Include relevant keywords in your product titles, descriptions, and meta tags to improve your website’s visibility in search engine results.
  • High-quality product images. Use high-resolution images that show your products from multiple angles. Add alt text with relevant keywords to enhance accessibility and improve SEO.
  • Social media marketing. Engage with your audience on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, X, TikTok, and Pinterest. Post photos and videos, share product updates, and interact with your followers to build brand awareness.
  • Content marketing. Create niche-related content, like blogs and informational videos, to establish yourself as an authority in your industry and attract potential customers to your store.
  • Email marketing. Build a mailing list of subscribers to send them exclusive deals, regular updates, promotions, and content related to your products and niche. 
  • Social proof. Display customer reviews, ratings, and user-generated content to build trust and credibility with your audience.

Manage Orders

A dropshipper managing their orders in a room full of boxes.

Streamline tasks like customer communication and shipping to provide excellent service and grow your dropshipping business. 

Use efficient inventory management tools like Zoho Inventory or Sortly to manage your stock and orders.

Streamline your shipping process with tools like  ShipStation to ensure a smooth and reliable experience for your customers.

Printify has many helpful order management features:

  • Automatic order approval. We automatically process each order within 24 hours. You can also set automatic approval within one hour, at a specific time of day, or switch to manual approval.
  • Order routing. If you enable order routing in your store, we’ll select the best Print Provider for each order to help you save on production and shipping costs.
  • Multiple shipping options. We have strong partnerships with reliable shipping carriers like USPS, FedEx, and DHL to bring you the best prices in the industry.

Provide Good Customer Service

A man wearing a headset and talking to his customer.

Excellent customer service will build a loyal customer base, boost customer satisfaction, and significantly increase revenue for your eCommerce store.

Here’s how to ensure customer satisfaction that leads to repeat business:

  • Speed. Try to respond to all customer messages within the first 24 hours.
  • Friendliness. Address customers by name and use language that creates a welcoming and positive atmosphere.
  • Proactivity. Anticipate customer needs and address any possible issues before they happen.
  • Consistency. Maintain high standards of service across all channels.
  • Gratitude. Reward your new and existing customers by offering free shipping or adding small gifts and branded packaging inserts with thank-you notes to their orders.
  • Feedback. Ask customers to rate your store and products and use their input to improve your business.

How to Dropship for Free With Printify

An example of Printify's cost calculation showing how one ends up with $18 profit after selling a shirt for $30.

Printify makes it easy to start your own dropshipping business for free. We offer features like free design tools, order management, and integration options for entrepreneurs who want to break into the eCommerce industry.

Create a Printify Account

Sign up with Printify to gain access to free design tools, 900+ products, and excellent dropshipping solutions.

Pick and Design Your Products

Browse our Product Catalog to find dropshipping products to sell online. Choose from our selection of Print Providers and click Start Designing.

Open our Product Creator to upload existing designs or make new ones. Use our free design tools, graphics, fonts, pattern creator, and AI Image Generator to create unique art for your dropshipping products.

Connect Your Online Store

Dropship private label products through our integrations with popular eCommerce platforms and marketplaces like Shopify, Etsy, Walmart, TikTok Shop, and eBay.

If you want to launch a completely free online store to start dropshipping, open a Printify Pop-Up Store.

Set Prices and Publish

Calculate your production, shipping, marketing, and other costs before setting a retail price for your products.

We recommend and automatically set a 40% profit margin on every product you create, but you can set your margins and prices higher if you want.

FAQ: How to Start a Successful Dropshipping Business for Free

It’s possible to start dropshipping with no money, although you may see faster results by investing a bit in your store.

Printify lets you create custom products, list them on a free store, and start selling online with zero upfront investment.

As you learn how to start dropshipping with no money, opening a Shopify store might not initially seem like the best idea because it’s a paid platform. However, this sales channel offers low barriers to entry and great potential for scaling your dropshipping business.

Shopify offers a 3-day free trial and your first month for just $1. Subscription plans start at $24/month.

Quick Tip: Check out our blog to learn more about dropshipping with Shopify.

How quickly you start making money from your dropshipping store depends on your time and effort to find your niche, products, suppliers, store platform, and the best marketing strategies.

Check out our webinars if you’re looking for good, free dropshipping courses.


Is dropshipping free to start? Yes, it can be. If you carry out market research, find the right product suppliers, eCommerce platform, and design tools, you can start your dropshipping store for free.

Join other online business owners who’ve learned to dropship with no money by partnering with Printify!

Make It Happen Today!

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