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I would like to go an extra step ahead of fulfillment i.e. i don't want to sell through the given shop of fulfillment services. But I still need someone to take care of the printing and shipping for me. I am a web developer graduate and I'm sure I can sell through my website effectively.

What I want to know is, how do you actually do this? What components will I need? Apparently, I need a merchant account, and a printing + shipping service. This is how I think I'll work it out:

- Customer fills up his/her cart with the t-shirts from my website

- Once checkout is done, the customer is taken to my merch account section where he/she can pass on shipping and credit card information

- Once the amount is in my account, I will purchase the custom printed shirts from the printer with MY VISA but with the customer's shipping address

- Finally, I transfer funds from my merchant account back to my VISA/Bank account to recover the costs.

Will that work?

Finally some questions:

- Is it possible to find a printer which prints on demand my custom designs without having to set up shop (i'm sure part of the "base price" in such fulfillment services includes the hosting part of the shop!)? if yes, do you know of any?

- What's a good merchant account provider (don't mention paypal, they don't send cheques to Malta) which will allow me to request a certain amount of money from my shopping cart?

- How about a free, customizable cart which connects automatically with a merchant account provider?

- Finally, if my above scenario could work, I will charge the customer (for example) for $20 but the t-shirt would cost me $15. Will the customer receive his invoice with $15 on it?!

Does anyone do business this way? Or am I just a crazy, lonely guy? :p

Sorry for the long winded post :) Thank you for your time!
 

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I dont think its as complicated as it sounds.

You can use a custom checkout script (java/php) on your site that will send the email order to you and the company that will be making the shirt. It will send the order details (attributes) and also an image of what the shirt etc... looks like.

For the payment transaction, you simply choose what account the money will go into. Usually it would go to the person making the shirts and the balance to you. You can use the company that makes the shirt paypal, credit cards etc merchant account.

So if the shirts on your site sell for $ 20, the person that makes it gets $ 10 of that "wholesale type price".

You can choose what you want as far as delivery. Ship to you and then you ship to your customer or ship directly to your customer (in this case the customer gets a packing slip with your company name and retail price).

This is done a lot on the web.

Search google for manufactures that offer this type of service.
 

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i am not sure what your exactly looking for if you want a place where you can upload designs and they will print handle transactions and ship for you - but you will use your website instead of theirs to actually promote and sell your items - you can try cafepress or printfection - not sure if that is what your looking for i may have misunderstood your post
 

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m4nti said:
Does anyone do business this way? Or am I just a crazy, lonely guy? :p

Sorry for the long winded post :) Thank you for your time!
I do shirts for Two different Celeberties in the wonderfull world of Custom Motorcycles.... Usually they send me the blanks, but occasionally they will have me provide them.... I print their shirts and am paid for it as with any other customers... But the shirts never leave the shop.... As the shirts are sold from their websites I ship from here and then am paid a fullfilment charge on a per order basis.... By preprinting they know theres a stock of shirts here should they run low at one of their week long personal apperances... That happened recently at Sturgis I overnighted one of them 1,000 shirts when they ran out.... no panic no rush becasue the shirts were already printed and paid for... Fullfillment services arn't carved in stone...most will modify their services, in some way, to fit your business.... Just remember, it has to be worth both their effort and yours..... Good Luck with your venture..... Chuck
 

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m4nti said:
- Customer fills up his/her cart with the t-shirts from my website

- Once checkout is done, the customer is taken to my merch account section where he/she can pass on shipping and credit card information
These two should be pretty accurate,



m4nti said:
- Once the amount is in my account, I will purchase the custom printed shirts from the printer with MY VISA but with the customer's shipping address

-I transfer funds from my merchant account back to my VISA/Bank account to recover the costs.

-If my above scenario could work, I will charge the customer (for example) for $20 but the t-shirt would cost me $15. Will the customer receive his invoice with $15 on it?!
But you should be able to skip over some of this.

I suggest finding a printer and setting up a deal with him that works well for both of you. I know a guy that does something like this so he can offer shirts in the US (he's based on the UK). He found a good printer and got a deal set up between them where he can basically give the shirt orders to the printer every week, and the printer gets them all printed and shipped out.

It will be better to work things in a block of time/orders rather than per shirt I think, if at all possible. Makes things a LOT easier to keep track of, causes less loss from transaction fees, etc.

What type of invoice the customer recieves should be worked out with the printer. You should be able to (especially if you're doing enough bulk) have invoices with your company name/price/etc. on them rather than the printer's.



m4nti said:
- Is it possible to find a printer which prints on demand my custom designs without having to set up shop?
There are some out there, and some members of this board may even be willing to do this sort of service for you. You will have to be doing enough bulk or have a special deal set-up with a company if you are looking to do semi-print-on-demand (say, every week, like I mentioned above) with screen printing, however. Other printers may require larger orders too, but with the set-up required for screen printing very few will do any sort of print-on-demand like that.



m4nti said:
- How about a free, customizable cart which connects automatically with a merchant account provider?
Zencart is what I use. Cube Cart and OSCommerce have also been pretty highly recommended.



m4nti said:
Does anyone do business this way? Or am I just a crazy, lonely guy? :p
As I mentioned briefly above, I do know one guy who does quite well with this style. He has his own site (which he's got ranking pretty well) and outsources all the printing/shipping. So the idea is plausible, but it still takes some work to get everything sorted and settled.
 
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