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Knowing Your Print on Demand Numbers Is Crucial

This post is also available in: German

Lots of people in the POD (print on demand) community are spreading out to other print on demand services. This is a great way to increase the amount of revenue streams you have for your business and is something that you SHOULD be doing. For most, one of the biggest steps is moving onto Etsy! However, there is one GLARING problem I keep seeing pop up over and over again….

No one knows their numbers!

This is apparent with both AMS ads (with sales on Merch by Amazon) and running ads on Etsy. You see big number screenshots, think you are doing great, making sales… life is good. Or so you thought!

I was talking to an Etsy seller the other day that was doing around $800 per month starting out with their first few designs live.

This all looks great on paper, but this seller never actually took the time to run the numbers of what they were bringing in for profit. Let’s go through what you need to do.

Running Your Print on Demand Etsy Numbers


Go to your finances page in Etsy to see the daily sales and open an excel spreadsheet at the same time. Make 2 columns in excel. One of them will be your revenue generated, and the second one will be your expenses.

On your finance page in Etsy, add up your sale amount for each day, add this to the first column. This is your revenue.


You will see 4 things: listing fee, shipping transaction fee, sale fee, then sale transaction fee. Write these 4 fees down as they are EXPENSES.

If you are using Printful, head over there and look at the daily cost for whatever day you are writing down. Look at the Printful fulfillment costs (this includes taxes and shipping). Write this down in the second column as these are EXPENSES that you paid to Printful to fulfill and ship your orders out to your customers.


Head back to Etsy, and go to your marketing tab if you are running sponsored ads. Add the daily spend to your spreadsheet as this is an EXPENSE that you are paying to Etsy.

Calculate Profit

Now that you have your spreadsheet filled out for a single day, do the math. Take your total revenue for the day, and subtract all your fees. The total should go in a new column and THIS is your PROFIT!

Do this each and every day (not weekly, not monthly, every damn day!). This data will show you exactly how you are performing and not leave you guessing how well your business is running.

In terms of the person I was talking to, their $800 dollars on Etsy per month actually ended up being a $40 loss for the month. They were essentially paying money for people to buy their shirts (instead of the other way around). This could have all been avoided if they ran their numbers daily.

Make Some Etsy Tweaks

This is especially important if you are running Etsy ads. Once you have run your numbers, you should also go back through and edit keywords, edit pricing, and titles. This is going to be extremely important to getting your system up and running properly where you are turning a profit each and every day.

Let’s talk about tweaking Etsy ads:

Go into your dashboard and look at the performance of your ads.

Start your ads at a low CPC (cost per click). I would not start them anywhere above 10 cents per click.

You want to take a look at your stats once your ads start running. If a particular product is getting a lot of impressions and clicks, but resulting in poor sales, turn off that listing.

If you are spending $10 to make a $25 Etsy sale, you might think you are making money. Once you run the numbers, after fees and fulfillment costs, you are actually LOSING money. Turn those ads off!

If you are going to run paid traffic, you MUST stay on top of it every day. If you do, you can optimize the ads properly to turn into an absolute money machine. If you are not going to stay on top of your paid traffic and just eyeball how you are doing, do yourself a favor and just turn them off!

Wrapping It Up

After reading this article if you still do not know your exact numbers and your exact profit after expenses are taken out, there is a problem!

You really cannot just rely on eyeballing it and winging it when running a business. You have to know your numbers and you have to constantly be testing and optimizing so that you can get the best out of your campaigns.

If you have ever had a good month, or thought you had a good month and the numbers said otherwise we want to hear about it! Drop your stories in the comments below.