How to Start a Print-on-Demand Business in Canada: An Easy Guide for 2023

How to Start a Print-on-Demand Business in Canada: An Easy Guide for 2023

As the eCommerce industry keeps growing, launching your own print-on-demand business is an excellent way to make money and be your own boss.

With the print-on-demand model, anyone can easily start their own business without any upfront costs, inventory, or logistical hassles.

It may seem difficult at first, but don’t worry – Printify provides all the tools, advice, and resources aspiring entrepreneurs need to confidently join the world of eCommerce.

Our guide shows you how to start a print-on-demand business by taking you through all the steps to start your entrepreneurial journey.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Understanding the Print-on-Demand Business Model

While anyone can start a print-on-demand business, success requires an understanding of this business model’s mechanics.

Print on Demand is an order fulfillment method enabling anyone to design, create, and sell custom products nobody else has. The print-on-demand company fulfills and delivers orders only after a customer makes a purchase.

In addition to starting a business from scratch, print-on-demand is great for:

  • Promotional products. Whether it’s for a business event, trade show, or conference, Print on Demand is a cost-effective way to produce custom t-shirts, mugs, or tote bags with your company’s logo or message.
  • Testing business ideas. Grow a business faster, more efficiently, and with fewer headaches – create and test new products and markets without any financial risk.
  • Monetizing a following. Connect with an audience by creating merchandise for your fans. A great option for YouTubers, TikTokers, and other content creators who want to unlock a new revenue stream.

Whether you want to monetize your following, start a new, or scale an existing business, Print on Demand is a powerful way to do so without investing in any inventory or storage space.

Advantages of Print on Demand

Disadvantages of Print on Demand

If anything goes wrong, the online store owner relies on the company for assistance, so make sure it provides excellent customer support.

If you build a strong brand identity that people recognize, you can set your own prices – the perceived value can justify a higher price point. There are a lot of resources that will help you learn how to price a product in order to increase your profit margin.

Lessen this drawback by setting clear expectations and offering expedited shipping options. In addition, by using a local print provider, a business can reduce both shipping costs and delivery times.

Quick Tip

Advantages and disadvantages vary depending on the print-on-demand companies, so thoroughly vetting them is vital.

Start a Print-on-Demand Business Today!

Step 2: Research the Market

Woman working at her laptop and taking notes from her market research findings.

With market research, businesses can gain insights into the industry, competition, and consumer preferences.

A few tried-and-tested ways to conduct market research:

Analyze this information to customize your print-on-demand products to fit your target audience’s needs.

  • Study the competition. Start by browsing eBay, Amazon, and Etsy. What kind of products do other sellers offer? What’s the average price? What’s their pricing strategy?

Take a look at what sells best, but don’t stop there – try to find a specific niche you can cater to.

  • Analyze publicly available data. Industry publications and market research reports are useful for understanding the market size and current trends.

For example, Statista and IBISWorld provide up-to-date market research data on various topics.

  • Follow social trends. Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter can give you insights into ever-changing customer preferences.

If you’re willing to invest time and effort, with thorough knowledge of the market, you can find what it’s missing, filling the gap with appealing products that won’t leave any customer feeling indifferent.

Step 3: Pick a Niche

Person working on customer persona research for their dropshipping business.

A niche is a product that appeals to a certain group of people. With a specific niche, it’s easier to stand out from the competition, attract customers, and increase profits.

As a guiding principle, it’s always easier to follow your passions and pursue trends that truly excite you.

People won’t resonate with your products if a niche is too broad, but if it’s too narrow, finding potential customers may be challenging. Strive for a healthy balance and look for a niche not many sellers are targeting.

Try Google Trends to see whether a particular idea is trendy enough to invest time in creating designs for it.

Quick Tips

Increase the likelihood of success by learning what a niche is and building a business around it. Afterward, you can explore the most profitable print-on-demand niches to save time and effort.

Step 4: Register a Business and Navigate Taxes

Person filling in a registration form to start a dropshipping business in Canada.

Important note

This chapter is solely for informational purposes. To prevent any confusion and legal issues, we advise consulting a legal professional who can provide guidance tailored to your business needs.

While registering a business is fairly easy, each province has different requirements and regulations.

Before registering a business, an aspiring entrepreneur should consider the following.

Business Structure

When starting a print-on-demand business, selecting a legal structure that fits your needs is vital.

In Canada, the three main business structures are:

  • Sole proprietorships
  • Partnerships
  • Corporations

Study the main business structures. Carefully weigh their pros and cons, as each has distinct characteristics.

Whenever you’re ready to make it official in the eyes of the law, check the government’s instructions on registering a business.

You should be able to find specific information on the individual provincial government websites – it’s best to contact them for guidance.

Business Name

In Canada, typically, businesses must register their business name with the government.

However, if a sole proprietor operates a business under their legal name – Jane Doe, for example – generally, registering a business name isn’t necessary.

In any other case, a business needs to register its name.

A good business name should reflect the heart and soul of the brand, clearly conveying what it does. Three hallmarks of a great business name are simplicity, originality, and memorability.

If someone is already using a name, you can’t legally use it. Search Canada’s business registries, the Canadian corporate names and trademarks database, and databases of specific provinces and territories.

When ready, follow the government’s instructions to register a business name.

Quick Tip

Since each province has different requirements and regulations, it’s best to contact your local government for more information.


Woman working on her taxes, using a laptop and a calculator.

When learning how to start a print-on-demand business, taxes often cause confusion.

If you use Printify’s print-on-demand services, there are fewer tax worries – all products printed and shipped within Canada are automatically subject to local taxes, making accounting much easier.

In Canada, there are two types of taxes: one is imposed by the provinces and the other by the federal government. These can be broken down into four separate taxes; they appear on invoices like this:

  • Goods and Services Tax (GST). A federal tax. Applies to all sales in all provinces of Canada.
  • Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). A combination of the Goods and Services Tax and the provincial portion of the sales tax. Applies to all sales in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland.
  • Provincial Sales Tax (PST). A tax levied by the provinces on orders shipped to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.
  • Quebec Sales Tax (QST). A provincial tax levied on shipments to Quebec.

The applicable tax rate depends on where a business ships the order to – each province has its own tax calculation model. Our article on Canadian taxes clarifies the topic further.

Quick Tip

Easily find answers to all the frequently asked questions about taxes in Canada in our Help Center.

Step 5: Pick and Design Products

A clothing rack full of black and white t-shirts.

In the Printify Catalog, we have more than 850 print-on-demand products anyone can easily personalize, add to their online store, and sell all across Canada.

With a wide selection of products – from apparel to home decor to pet accessories – finding your favorites won’t take long.

In our Mockup Generator, designing is effortless. You don’t need to be a professional designer to make your own designs – easily add an image, text, or logo to create your next bestseller.

Afterward, our tool creates realistic mockups that you can use in your online store and on social media channels.

Whatever you decide to sell, our Canadian Print Providers will swiftly print, package, and ship the order directly to your customer’s doorstep.

While merchants who use our print-on-demand service have access to over 80 Print Providers and 110 printing facilities worldwide, choosing a local supplier is a great way to reduce shipping costs and delivery time.

What’s more, if an item is out of stock, our automatic order routing feature streamlines order management, saving you time and trouble.

Quick Tips

Without any experience, creating a design may feel overwhelming – hiring a graphic designer is a great way to save time and get a beautiful result.

Always order samples to see whether the print and product quality matches your expectations.

Design, Create, and Start Selling Custom Products Today!

Step 6: Select Where to Sell

When launching a print-on-demand business, finding the right sales channel is vital since it can greatly influence your reach, sales, and overall success.

Every sales channel has its own features, capabilities, and limitations. Choose based on your niche, target audience, and personal preferences.

eCommerce Platforms

With eCommerce platforms and website builders, entrepreneurs can build their store from scratch and sell online easily. They can customize their store with ready-made templates, add content, launch promotions, and manage everything a business needs.

They’re easy to personalize, control customers’ data, and offer useful features.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Beginner-friendly customization
  • Easier to re-target customers
  • Control over customer data
  • May take time to set up
  • Higher marketing costs
  • Some require technical skills
  • Beginner-friendly customization
  • Easier to re-target customers
  • Control over customer data
  • May take time to set up
  • Higher marketing costs
  • Some require technical skills

Noteworthy examples:

eCommerce Marketplaces

In online marketplaces, all stores are hosted on one website – people simply list their products for sale.

While the setup is quick and maintenance easy, it’s much more difficult to build your own brand because marketplaces don’t allow much customization, so there’s limited control over the store’s design and content.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Easy and quick setup
  • Pre-existing traffic
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Easy maintenance
  • Less customization, creative control
  • Highly competitive
  • Strict policies
  • Various fees
  • Easy and quick setup
  • Pre-existing traffic
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Easy maintenance
  • Less customization, creative control
  • Highly competitive
  • Strict policies
  • Various fees

Noteworthy examples:

If none of these suit your needs, try our Printify API. Integrate it in your own website to develop personalized functionality and automate the workflow. A great option for businesses of all sizes, but coding experience is essential.

Quick Tip

To learn more, our overview of the best sites to sell online explores their characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages.

All these sales channels connect with Printify, allowing anyone to launch an online store easily. For additional help, explore our integration guides.

Step 7: Set Up a Store

While the steps are different for each sales channel, there are a few universal aspects to remember.

When setting up a store, consider the following.

  • Establish credibility. If visitors feel like your website isn’t trustworthy, they won’t buy from you.

For example, on an eCommerce platform, include About Us, Contact Us, Terms and Conditions, and other pages people expect from a legitimate business.

  • High-quality images. When creating product pages or listings, use only professional images that accurately represent the product the customer will receive
  • Thorough product descriptions. In addition to images, descriptions are important too – they demonstrate your expertise. Try to cover all the questions customers may have: available sizes, care instructions, and other information they might find helpful.
  • Clear store policies. Set realistic expectations and avoid trouble down the road. What are the shipping costs? How long does it take? Do you accept returns?

A welcoming storefront creates a positive shopping experience – it encourages customers to browse through your print-on-demand products and increases the likelihood of sales.

Quick Tips

While it’s not difficult, creating and designing your own online store may take a while. Hire a storefront-setup expert to save time and energy.

Take a look at the most successful Shopify stores to gain inspiration for your own online store.

Step 8: Market Your POD Business

Person holding a phone surrounded by graphics of shopping cart symbols.

Whether you want to start selling t-shirts, hoodies, or mugs, marketing plays an important role. A good marketing strategy makes it easier to outshine the competition, attract customers, and drive sales.

A few effective ways to market a POD business.

  • Social media platforms. A cost-effective way to promote a business. Try establishing a social media presence on various platforms to drive traffic to your store.

Generate interest in your brand and build a loyal following by posting great photos of your print-on-demand products, offering giveaways, and running engaging contests.

  • Paid advertising. Try Google, Facebook, or Instagram ads to reach a wide audience and increase brand awareness.
  • Content marketing. Whether you post on Facebook or Instagram, consistently delivering useful content is a good way to build trust, authority, and a loyal customer base.
  • Email marketing. Great for both informing existing and attracting potential customers. Try tools such as Sendinblue or Mailchimp to automate the process.

In eCommerce, competition can be fierce, so consider cross-channel marketing to reach the target market more effectively.

Quick Tip

Whether you need Shopify or Etsy marketing advice, our blog’s Marketing Hints and Tricks section has everything to increase the success of your marketing efforts.

The Importance of a Marketing Calendar

Never miss an opportunity for profit by creating a marketing calendar – an easy way to keep an eye on important events, celebrations, and holidays.

In addition to marketing for widely-known occasions like Mother’s or Father’s Day, it’s a good idea to create campaigns for celebrations specific to Canada.

  • Victoria Day (May 22). It’s one of the most ​​distinctly Canadian celebrations to look at and a royal opportunity to start selling print-on-demand products such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hoodies.
  • National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21). A day celebrating the nation’s indigenous communities’ heritage, culture, and outstanding achievements.
  • Canada Day (July 1). A public holiday commemorating a milestone in Canadian history – the colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec joining together into a single dominion. In essence, it’s a celebration of the formation of the Canadian state.

Following the ebb and flow of seasons, holidays, and current market trends, you’ll always find a great occasion for a marketing campaign.

Is It Worth Starting a POD Business in Canada?

In Canada, the business landscape for eCommerce sellers is promising. Retail revenue from eCommerce is predicted to reach $94 billion by 2027.

People are speaking and buying with their clicks. The number of online customers continues to increase, with industry experts predicting the upward trend will continue, reaching 30.5 million in 2025.

Canada has one of the world’s most connected populations – 35.81 million use social media, which means that entrepreneurs can reach the majority of their audience via social media marketing.

While the reach of social media currently stands at 89.79%, analysts expect it’ll get as high as 96% by 2026.

If you’d like to expand beyond Canadian borders, which is easy with Print on Demand, the market’s welcoming – global retail eCommerce sales will reach $8.1 trillion by 2026.

Start a Print-on-Demand Business in Canada

With Printify, designing, creating, and selling unique products has never been easier. After you make a sale, we handle everything – printing, packaging, and shipping directly to your customer’s doorstep.

  • No upfront investment. Anyone can start a print-on-demand business with no upfront costs.
  • More than 850 products. The Printify Catalog has a wide selection of products – from apparel to home decor to accessories.
  • Local Print Providers. With our carefully-vetted Print Providers – three in Canada and 80 worldwide – delivery is quick and reliable.
  • Beginner-friendly design tool. Create custom products effortlessly with our Mockup Generator.
  • 24/7 merchant support. Our Merchant Support team will gladly help with any questions you may have.
  • Streamlined fulfillment. Say goodbye to logistical worries. We do everything for you – printing, packaging, and shipping.
  • Automatic order routing. Never lose a sale again with the order routing feature.
  • CAD support. With CAD support, managing an account is easy – explore our Catalog and pay for orders in CAD.

Frequently Asked Questions

Start a Print-on-Demand Business Today!

A print-on-demand business is an easy way to enter the world of eCommerce. With this business model, anyone can design, create, and sell one-of-a-kind products without any inventory, storage space, or logistical worries.

As soon as the orders come in, the print-on-demand company prints, packages, and ships them directly to customers.

With Printify, starting a print-on-demand business has never been easier.

Take a closer look at how it works and why it’s so compelling.

To get better prices, use Printify Premium. A premium subscription fee is just $29/mo, providing merchants with up to a 20% discount on all products in the Printify Catalog.

As your print-on-demand store grows, marketing plays an increasingly important role, so here are the best ways to promote a business and get more sales.

  • Use social media, content, and email marketing
  • Try Google, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram ads
  • Offer giveaways, run hashtag contests, and engage with customers

When learning how to start a print-on-demand business, don’t skip lessons in marketing – our blog’s Marketing Hints and Tricks section provides helpful advice for entrepreneurs of all levels.

With Printify, anyone can launch a business without upfront investment – our print-on-demand services are 100% free. Sign up for a free account, create high-quality products, and start making money today.

You pay for the product only after a customer buys from you. Afterward, we take care of everything – printing, packaging, and shipping.

A Few Closing Thoughts

As we wrap up our guide on how to start a print-on-demand business in Canada, we hope you found the information helpful, providing enough insight to confidently open an eCommerce store.

While starting a business requires dedication, the rewards are worth the effort. With the right mindset, design ideas, and print-on-demand platform, anyone can launch a successful business without upfront costs, inventory, or logistical woes.

Start a Print-on-Demand Business in Canada Today!

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