New Commission Model Part I: The Affiliate Commission

New Commission Model Part I: The Affiliate Commission


With the commission model changes slated for the beginning of May, Spreadshirt Shop Partners will experience much greater Shop flexibility, a significant decrease in administrative work and new ways to earn on the global market. We are pleased to announce phase one of the commission model change: the Affiliate Commission.

The most important information at a glance:

  • With every sale, the Affiliate Commission pays you 20% of the sum of product type price and print price.
  • The new Affiliate Commission will replace the previously-used Shop Product Mark-up.
  • Design price will not be affected by this change.
  • This change only applies to the Shop Product Mark-up of our Shop partners.
  • You have the option to choose between an Affiliate Commission of either 20% or 0%. You can change this option at any time.

The implementation of the new commission model will take place at the beginning of May. You will be notified before your Shop is switched to the new model.

The following info graphic illustrates the changes by means of an example:


Important: The change in commission model will come with a new pricing structure. What used to be a mark-up on Shop articles will become a commission percentage payment based on the combined product and print price. Adjusting our prices will increase your commission earnings.

Together with the Affiliate Commission, we will be introducing a sales performance-based Volume Commission where you can earn up to an extra 40% of the product type price + print price (excluding taxes and discounts). We will inform you in the next few weeks about the details of the Volume Commission and of upcoming improvements in payout frequency.

What you should consider through the transition

  • You do not need to do anything leading up to or during the commission changeover, but you are welcome to adjust your design price, thereby changing the final purchase price for your customers.
  • If you haven’t set a design price up to this point and have earned entirely from Shop Product Mark-up, you may experience a slight loss in earnings at first. Should this be the case, we recommend adjusting the design price.
  • All final sales prices will end in .99 or .49 in the future, regardless of the settings you make. Customers find this pricing structure more attractive, and you won’t need to make any further adjustments.

These are the most important aspects of the Affiliate Commission. You can get even more detailed background information and a thorough explanation in our interview with Product Owner Robert Schulz.

An Affiliate Commission calculation tool has been developed to give you a hands-on way to see how the new structure will affect your product prices and income. Try the commission calculator now!

We hope this post has given you a good overview of the upcoming changes to the Shop Product Mark-up. Have any questions? Leave a comment below!

55 comments Write a comment

  1. you guys are ripping us off, the base price of one of your shirts is $10.99 and once I put a design on it bumps up to $18.99 my design reads as $8 instead of $5.00. Who gave you the rights to my art that you can jack up the price. You kill our chance of even being able to compete with other brands. Secondly, that $20 Base price shirt plus our art and whatever scam you got going on turns that shirt into a $35 shirt. You are not being transparent.

  2. How come one tshirt (spreadshirt premium tee) in my shop shows up as $20.49, but another using the same printing method and shirt product shows up as $28.48?

    Is Spreadshirt always going to have the prices changing randomly from now on?

    I’ve already noticed a downturn in my sales since the change, and I can’t find any options in the control panel to set prices to something consistent across all my tshirts in one shop.

    If I can’t sell all my tees at the same price, what’s the point of any of this?

    • Hi Patrick,

      Thanks for your feedback. The reason for the higher price is the fact that you set a 7.99 design price for this one design.
      I suggest you review your design prices in your user account. Let me know if you have any further questions.


  3. Hi Sergio,

    With the improvements to the commission model, we had to adjust the prices of shop products to match those of the marketplace. In recent years, we’ve continuously adapted prices due to the changes in the market conditions. Until now, we have been able to avoid these price fluctuations for our shop partners, but the changes in the commission model will make that unavoidable moving forward. These new prices are the basis for the payment of Affiliate Commission and the Volume Commission. Partners who do not choose to set their Affiliate Commission will see a 20% decrease in their product prices.


  4. So let me get this straight. Before I use to charge $20 for a basic t-shirt. $12 went to Spreadshirt and $8 when to me in the form of a commission.

    Now, to get to $20 price point, that same t-shirt starts at $12.99 + $5.50 for printing + I charge $1.51 for the Design Price.

    What I now take come is the Design Price ($1.51) + 20% Affliate Commision which is $3.70 ( 20% of $12.99 + $5.50 which).

    So my new commission based on this model is now $5.21….

    From $8.00 to $5.21 for the same design and the same basic t-shirt….

    Does that sound fair?

  5. Hi James Fox,

    Correct, if you are using a design from our marketplace in your shop then you can from now on just earn the 20% since you cannot set a designprice on a design that isn’t yours.


  6. This is very disappointing. We are a small non-profit and were looking for a way to offer multiple items to our supporters. The overall prices were higher for products than we would normally offer, but we decided a $5 mark up for items would help us and avoid the shipping/ordering hassles if we were to order from somewhere in bulk and mail out ourselves. This new scale will cut down our limited profits, which will not qualify for any volume discounts, and still increase prices for our supporters! What a disappointment. We just established our store and were excited with the possibilities it offered us, but now it just seems to not even be worth it. The costs are too high for our supporters to purchase these items, and our commission will be too low. We pay design fees for many of the items, so as far as being a solution for small non-profits to offer quality merchandise, spreadshirt has now failed.

  7. Hi Lena,
    Reference your reply 21 April.
    I don’t believe I can do this if I’m promoting someone else design for you?
    I’ve done a lot of work to make the shop prices consistent for both my designs and other people’s designs. Like prices would be consistent in a bricks and mortar shop…

  8. Spreadshirt is suffering a serious case of poor communication. Yes, customer prices are increasing quite a bit, but Spreadshirt is bringing prices in line with the marketplace, where they have experience knowing how to price things. The price increases only give Spreadshirt more of a share of the product for low volume sales. If you sell lots of items, Spreadshirt’s commission model gives you possibly the most generous commission of any POD.

    Spreadshirt, existing shop owners can see customer prices increasing dramatically. Until you address this directly, you’re leaving people feeling conned, especially because the calculator shows many products increasing in price while also reducing shop owner commission (at low volume).

    It would also do you well to fix the illustrations. The one above says that you are keeping prices the same and reducing your share of commissions to increase ours. The reality is that prices are increasing across the board and that Spreadshirt’s share only reduces relative to its current share at high volume (and at higher commissions that the 20% shown in the illustration).

    Treat your shop owners like partners. Tell them what’s going on without trying to hide anything. When we express confusion, fix the documentation. If you want us to invest a portion of our lives building big shops, you need to work hard to show that we can trust the foundation.

  9. A simpler way for shop partners to earn? HA! This is a complete mess. You know what was simple? “Shop Mark Up”. That was simple!

  10. So is the product type price increasing also?

    My calculator is saying that a shirt that use to cost 6.50$ is now 10.99$??

  11. Hi James Fox,

    If your are currently enjoying a 25% mark-up on a product then you can earn more than 20% if you add a design price.

    Lena from Spreadshirt

  12. I only realized tonight the significant changes. What’s more significant is I have worked on my project before making it go live since April 2015. After this forum, looking at my increased prices, and the new model, I’m wondering if I will stay with Spreadshirt. Again, I’ve been working since 2015 on my shirts, learning graphic design, and diligently crafting the end result. However, the price increases are just too high for customers, and I am almost 99% sure I will be leaving. I also have a few dozen friends thinking of the same thing. As well all know, this chain reaction can lead from one to potentially thousands in lost revenue. The opposite of what I believe Spreadshirt is hoping. Is this a bad thing? Yes and no. First the yes. On reflection do I really want customers of my website being redirected through another company at margins that don’t really pay me what I could with dozens of other online shirt sellers? not really! The bad thing….Spreadshirt seems to have the most intuitive set up I’ve experience with an incredible layout for customers to view your products, especially when imbedded in your website. This is good. They also have a great return policy and I’ve ordered one product for testing, and can say the shipping was fast and the shirt looked great. I would actually prefer the latter, the intuitive set up for customers, but all of these changes, and with the prices sky rocketing high (that is not what I want my customers to see), I’m afraid it’s not looking good for my loyalty.

  13. The blog post states, “Shop Partners will experience much greater Shop flexibility” – I don’t think this is true if you are taking away the ability to decide our own mark-up and chose either 20% or 0% – quite the opposite in fact?
    It also states “Adjusting our prices will increase your commission earnings.” – if I am currently enjoying a 25% mark-up on a product this is also not true either is it?
    Unless I am confused? Sorry if I have misunderstood?

  14. Hi Red Venus,

    The calculator is correct and we surely do not want to scare shop owners away!

    With the changes to the commission model, we’ll be adjusting the prices of shop products to match those of the marketplace. In recent years, we’ve continuously adapted prices due to the changes in the market conditions. Until now, we have been able to avoid these price fluctuations for our shop partners, but the changes in the commission model will make that unavoidable moving forward.

    Lena from Spreadshirt

  15. I took a look at the new calculation system today (April 13th). Is this for real? Seriously? Your increasing of the product type prices with these high new percentages will definately kill me. Instead of encouraging shop owners you scare us away. In 99% of the examples either the end price for customers is way too high or the earnings for shop owners will be way too low. And besides that you are taking away a lot of my ability to control the prices of my products. I really do hope the calculator is very, very wrong! Please explain why you want to scare shop owners away.

  16. This is interesting! It will definitely take some fiddling around with to get the options right and commission per item back to normal for my shops. The price of designs on the market will go up drastically since you will need to increase design price in order to keep profits the same. That being said, you can always upload one design with a higher price for your own shop and one design for the market for other folks to use. Perhaps I could make this work to my best interests but it seems that Spreadshirt is just doing what is advantageous for them. I’ll have to take a closer look at the math once it is finalized and in effect.

  17. Odd how spreadshirt has kept quiet for the last few days while people call them out. And by call them out I mean produce actual facts that contradict their offical “blog” as to why and what they are doing as Joe Lapp has. Something is off!! Interesting indeed…………

  18. Just stop! The “Volume Commission” is just a ploy to keep people from seeing what you are really doing. Not very many shops will hit that special volume commission. Hopefully the people who actually run spreadshirt are seriously looking at what they are doing. You can see just by looking at this blog and the spreadshirt forum, people will be taking their shops elsewhere! There is only one winner here, it’s spreadshirt! Making the shops take FAR less while increasing your profit is flat out terrible. Let’s pray spreadshirt comes to their senses….

  19. Thanks for the update Thomas. The commission diagram above makes sense to me, but the calculator is doing more than just applying that structure. As I have shown, it is also increasing base prices. So it isn’t just our “thoughts” that require consideration, but also the output of your calculator.

  20. Many thanks for sharing your concerns and feedback with us!

    We are seriously taking your thoughts into consideration, but be sure that we have discussed and calculated all the coming changes in detail.
    Together with the volume commission, the way of earning money with spreadshirt will not be more complicated than before.

    Stay tuned,
    we’ll keep you updated on this issue!

  21. It’s clear Spreadshirt is trying cover up what they are really doing. They are playing shop owners for fools, and I for one am a little upset about it. Just doing simple math you can see that they plan on increasing their shirts by a lot. They are taking a greater portion of the profit, while minimizing the overall profit a shop owner can make. That is evident by them eliminating shop owners being able to add commission on designs they pull from the marketplace. You can no longer add your own commission. You get 20% or nothing. Yes, they give you a “bonus” if you sell enough shirts but that is just a clever way to make you feel better about what they are doing. Spreadshirt won’t survive this change if they go through with it. There is no way anyone will want to pay the higher prices when you can go elsewhere and get a 20.00 shirt. What’s the point of running a shop if you can’t make money? Spreadshirt needs to seriously rethink this terrible idea. No more “Wait until April” from Spreadshirt. We all know what they are trying to do with all of that. Their new “Bonus” you have to sell 10 shirts in 2 weeks to even be considered for it. Not sure why they are telling everyone to wait. It’s easy to see the real winner in this is Spreadshirt, certainly NOT the shop owners as every owner will now be making at least 50% LESS per sale.

  22. Given that Spreadshirt didn’t announce varying price increases for everything, I suspect that the calculator is still broken. Looks like we’re not the only ones having trouble understanding the commission structure. 😉

  23. This is a really dreadful change that over-complicates the system, takes freedoms away from your shop partners, and in the end, costs us money under the guise of “a new system to make it easier for our partners”.

    I really hope that this is drastically overhauled or scrapped entirely. The fact that we need calculators just to understand this convoluted system is not a good sign.

  24. Did Spreadshirt take into account the shop owners they would lose as a result of this? You are giving us less and earning more, while raising the prices. I’d rather they just keep the prices the same and cut the commission but doing both is a killer.

    How in the world is this great for your partners? Did Spreadshirt not expect us to see this? And it seems my comments are not appearing. I don’t think I said anything rude…. just stating the facts. Lena, I’d appreciate an explanation or confirmation. Thanks!

  25. My prior comment showing price increases includes an error. The calculations show base price increases of 9.3% to 19.2% for the 3 products examined, not of 9.1% to 26%. The latter numbers failed to normalize the 20% commission first and so only show my shop’s price increases, while the former (correct) numbers are independent of commission.

  26. How in any way is this a benefit to shop owners? You are making more while making it harder for us to make money. Not having the ability to put a price on our shirts is absurd!!! How greedy do you have to be. I’ve never seen such an injustice to be honest. I will be taking my shop elsewhere. So long spreadshirt, enjoy going bankrupt. Anyone with a shop, I highly advise you to begin moving your stuff to another platform. Immediately.

  27. One solution you can do is make a duplicate of your design for the marketplace only and have that one marked at $4 per design. Since the Marketplace isn’t affected.

    For your shop, you’d just drop your design fee on those products by 20% and your final price for customers would stay the same. Just an idea. Some people have too many designs to be adjusting though and duplicating.

  28. Hi all,

    As far as I can see you calculations are correct. To be sure please use our commission calculator. Please also know that we will be adding a sales performance-based volume commission. Details will follow in not even two weeks time 🙂

    Lena from Spreadshirt

  29. This is also a big price increase, not just a change in commission structure. The following examples show product price increases of 9.1% to 26%, with Spreadshirt’s share of the price increasing by 9.3% to 19.2%:

    (1) I’m now selling Men’s Premium T-Shirts for $17.90 and getting $4 in commission. 50 cents of that is design commission, so normalize this to $17.40 price for $3.50 product commission. The calculator is telling me that the new price will be $19.49 for $0.30 more in product commission. Subtracting the design commission, that’s a new price of $18.99 with $3.80 product commission. The product price increased by (18.99-17.40)/17.40 = 9.1%. At the old price, Spreadshirt’s share was 17.4-3.50 = $13.90. At the new price, Spreadshirt’s share is 18.99-3.80 = $15.19, a share increase of (15.19-13.90)/13.90 = 9.3%.

    (2) I’m now selling Kid’s T-Shirts for $11.50 and getting $2 in commission. 50 cents of that is design commission, so normalize this to $11.10 price for $1.50 product commission. The calculator is telling me that the new price will be $14.49 for $1.30 more in product commission. Subtracting the design commission, that’s a new price of $13.99 with $2.80 product commission. The product price increased by (13.99-11.10)/11.10 = 26%. At the old price, Spreadshirt’s share was 11.10-1.50 = $9.60. At the new price, Spreadshirt’s share is 13.99-2.80 = $11.19, a share increase of (11.19-9.60)/9.60 = 16.6%.

    (3) I’m now selling Women’s Long-Sleeve Jersey T-Shirts for $20.10 and getting $4 in commission. 50 cents of that is design commission, so normalize this to $19.60 price for $3.50 product commission. The calculator is telling me that the new price will be $24.49 for $1.30 more in product commission. Subtracting the design commission, that’s a new price of $23.99 with $4.80 product commission. The product price increased by (23.99-19.60)/19.60 = 22.4%. At the old price, Spreadshirt’s share was 19.60-3.50 = $16.10. At the new price, Spreadshirt’s share is 23.99-4.80 = $19.19, a share increase of (19.19-16.10)/16.10 = 19.2%.

    Unless I’m misunderstanding something, it appears that Spreadshirt is also both increasing prices and taking a greater percentage share of the profit.

  30. Thank you for your response, Lena. This makes much more sense now, but I still don’t like it. If I understand this correctly, Spreadshirt is basically taking away a lot of my ability to control the prices of my products.

    For example: Right now I sell t-shirts for $20 and make $9 from mark-up, with no design commission. I also sell hoodies with the same designs for $35 and make $4.20 from mark-up, with no design commission.

    If I understand this correctly, under the new system, if I continue to have no design commission, then I will earn only $3.10 per t-shirt, and my shirts will cost my customers $15.49. If I want to bring the price of the shirt back up to $20.49, then I can charge $5 in design commission, and I’ll make a total of $8.10—slightly less than I’m making now. This slight loss doesn’t bother me that much.

    But the bigger problem is that if I set my design commission at $5, then when someone wants to order a hoodie with that same design, the hoodie will cost them $46.49 ($41.49 + $5), correct? There’s no way my customers will pay that much for a hoodie. Please tell me whether all of my math is correct, because this all has been pretty confusing for me.

    So essentially I would need to choose between (1) having no (or very low) design commission and making almost nothing off of my t-shirts, or (2) increasing the price of my hoodies, probably putting an end to those sales. Do I have that right?

  31. Hi Steven,

    I think you misunderstood some things here 🙂
    We will replace the shop product mark-up with the affiliate commission of 20%. The design price is not affected by these changes. Can you tell me which product you are looking at exactly? Also do you for now just have a shop product mark-up of 10$? I can then calculate what you would earn.

    Lena from Spreadshirt

  32. Not sure what to really expect here. It was worded like a Kindergarten student. Essentially, we can keep the Product Markup in place, however you are now charging us a design + affiliate fee. So if you were making $10.00, you will now only make $4.80. However is the cost of the shirts going down? What type of gain can we see here? Because frankly, all I see is a loss.

  33. Hi John,

    If you have set the design price to 1.00$ then you will continue to receive the 1.00$. In addition you will also receive 20% affiliate fee of the product type price + the print price. Because of the affiliate fee the prices have been increased. If you chose to opt out of the affiliate fee the prices will more or less stay the same and you will just continue to receive the 1.00$ design price.

    Lena from Spreadshirt

  34. Hi Matt,

    The prices will be changed in order to end in 0.99/0.49. Approximately they will increase by 20%. If you chose to opt out then the prices will more or less stay the same.

  35. Hi Renee, hi Moletia Bates,

    Please be aware that we had a bug with the commission calculator. I suggest you try the tool now that it has been fixed.

    Lena from Spreadshirt

  36. Hi Emma,

    Please be aware that we had a bug with the commission calculator. So you might want to check the correct prices now that this has been fixed.

    Moreover, adding to the affiliate commission is the volume commission where you will receive a certain percentage according to the sales within a specific time period. More information will follow beginning of April.

    Lena from Spreadshirt

  37. Hi Carole,

    Please be aware that there was a bug with the commission calculator. Please have a look at it again. The prices were not showing correctly but this has now been fixed.

    Lena from Spreadshirt

  38. I have a t-shirt design where I have agreed to only mark up the price $1.00 for that person’s design that he wanted his fellow military members to pay for the shirt. I made the design fee $1.00 and my markup zero. How will this be affected?

  39. Are you allowed in New Jersey? and Cafe Press are not. Please advise. It is a sales tax thing.



  40. If this change goes into effect I will be forced to find a different printing company. I would never dream of asking someone to pay 70.00 for a hoodie they could easily get somewhere else for 20.00 less. Please let us know as soon as possible if this is really happening so I can begin searching for another printing company to link my website to.

  41. According to the calculator all my items will cost $10+ more and I will make LESS money or a few cents more on everything.

    Not sure how great this is going to work out for me.

  42. Why would you call this anything affiliate?

    I want an actual affiliate program to introduce to interested parties, who’d like to be affiliate advertisers for us.

    You named it poorly and you also don’t have an affiliate program for me to use and I think we’d KILL it.

    Do you like apples?

    How do you like them apples?

  43. Let’s not pretend there are some great benefits for the shop owners here–we’re getting completely screwed.

    I charge $20 per t-shirt, and I used to make $9 per shirt. Under your new system, that you claim benefits me so greatly, if I continue to charge $20 per shirt, I’ll get $3.90 per shirt. I’ve been loyal to Spreadshirt since I started my business 4 years ago, but I will not raise the price of my shirts to accommodate your greed. Instead, I’ll find a new platform to sell shirts.

  44. Do I understand this correctly? If a t-shirt was $11, and I priced it at $21 in my store, I used to get a $10 commission. Now if a t-shirt is $21 in my store, I get a 20% commission which is $4.20? That’s a HUGE cut in the commission. Less than half of what it was previously. Obviously I would be very upset by this.

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