There's a high chance that you've found this article because you want to create an extra income online, but you don't have that much money (if any).
And then you've found the term “dropshipping” somewhere on the internet and thought, “This is it.” I will dive deep into starting a dropshipping store with no money!
But is that really the case?
Can you start dropshipping without any upfront investment?
In this article, I will go in-depth on everything you need to know about starting dropshipping without any money!
Do you need to invest money to learn about dropshipping?
Let me start with this one.
There are a lot of “internet gurus” out there claiming that you will be rich the next day (or very soon) if you purchase their course and follow them step-by-step.
Maybe you have met them before. They are mostly found on YouTube.
The only goal that these gurus have is to sell you something, like a course. And trust me, a lot of people purchase these courses.
They make these people believe that they need their course in order to succeed with their dropshipping store.
No course? You can’t be rich!
I’m here to tell you that that’s absolutely not true. In fact, I can prove it.
I wrote two awesome articles with so many free resources to learn dropshipping for free in 2023:
If you want more information about who these “gurus” are and why they are selling courses, I suggest reading: Are Paid Dropshipping Courses Worth the Money in 2023?
Plus, I think this article is interesting for you as well:
Total money needed to learn dropshipping:
– Learning dropshipping costs: $0; there is so much information regarding dropshipping available on the internet for free! Just look at the articles I've linked above.
How much money do you need to start selling products on your dropshipping store?
Now you know that you can learn dropshipping for free, there is no need to purchase any courses from these gurus.
But what about the rest of the costs, like platform costs?
I will give you an easy to follow guide below on the most recent costs of starting a dropshipping store. Let’s see if you can start dropshipping without money in 2023!
Ecommerce platform costs
You will need a platform to open your dropshipping store.
See it like this: have you ever been to something like a flea market?
Opening a dropshipping store on an ecommerce platform is basically the same as renting a stand at a flea market.
There are three main options for you here.
Another option is to use Sell The Trend Shops, a new ecommerce platform that already includes a lot of features you would normally have to pay for!
Upsides and downsides to using an ecommerce platform like Shopify
The big upside is that you don’t have to worry about a lot of things, like hosting. And a lot of things are pre-made for you and are easy to use for beginners.
But the downside is that it is expensive, definitely when you’re just beginning. You’re looking at around $39 per month for the cheapest Shopify plan:
Another upside is that there are a lot of Shopify apps available, but you will need money for a lot of these apps (except if you read this article).
Tip: Did you create your Shopify account already? If not, sign up by clicking this link here to get a free 3-day trial + pay $1/month for the first 3 months!
Shopify app costs
If you decide to use Shopify (or maybe you’re already using it), then I've got a great article for you that will give you the 13 best Shopify apps for dropshipping beginners. I will give you both free and paid options to choose from.
The free options are great because this means that if you choose Shopify as your ecommerce platform, you won’t have any extra costs for apps at the beginning.
You can always use paid Shopify apps later on when you’re getting more and more sales. This will definitely help you with a lot of things.
Total money needed if you're going to use an ecommerce platform like Shopify:
– Shopify monthly costs: $39 per month, but you can get a free 3-day trial + pay $1/month for the first 3 months here!
– Shopify app costs: $0, if you choose the right apps! I suggest reading the article that I linked to above.
Is Sell The Trend Shops a better alternative?
Sell The Trend Shops is a free ecommerce platform that allows you to start a dropshipping store in just a few minutes.
That's right, it's currently free to use!
With Sell The Trend Shops, you will basically have the following features without any cost:
- A dropshipping store ($30 per month value at Shopify)
- A complete store automation tool (+/-$50 per month value)
- A customer reviews app (+/-$10 per month value)
- A currency converter app (+/-$10 per month value)
Note: Interested in learning more about Sell The Trend Shops? Check out our complete review here!
Hosting a dropshipping store yourself
This will be less expensive per month, but you will need to take care of a lot of things yourself.
I suggest you take a look at the AliDropship plugin. It’s one of the best options to start dropshipping with AliExpress while not having so many monthly expenses (like the Shopify monthly subscription).
If you're interested in the AliDropship plugin, you can click on the link below to read my full review!
If you don't want to do dropshipping with AliExpress, then another great tool is Spocket. I've talked about them a lot already as a perfect Shopify dropshipping app, but they also have a WooCommerce version available.
In case you don't know what WooCoomerce is, I suggest watching the video below.
It's basically an ecommerce platform for free! Although they have a lot of paid extensions available, they run on WordPress, so you can use any WordPress plugin (if they are compatible with WooCommerce) that you want. (More information about that here)
If you want to see more WooCommerce plugins like AliDropship and Spocket, then I suggest reading this article of mine. That article contains 11 plugins that help you connect your WooCommerce dropshipping store to various dropshipping suppliers!
The costs of hosting your dropshipping store
The other thing you will need is hosting. I suggest you search around a bit to see what fits you most, but I do have a few great suggestions for you:
Hosting will be, depending of course on which hosting company you go with, around $50 – $100 per year. I say depending on which hosting company because some are way more expensive than $100, but I personally don't think you need that yet if you're only expecting a few visitors per day.
So, hosting yourself will cost you a bit more upfront (because you will most likely need to pay per year), but will save you money later on.
Total money needed for hosting your dropshipping store yourself:
– Plugin to process your orders: $89 (AliDropship), or starting at $25 per month for the basic plan. (Spocket)
– Hosting costs: Around $50 – $100 per year, depending on which hosting company you choose.
How much is a domain name?
If you decide to go with Shopify, you can use their subdomain for free. This will be: store-name.myshopify.com
This means that you won’t have to spend anything on domain costs, but if you have a bit of budget, I highly suggest you buy a domain name for your store.
Preferably a .com domain, which is one of the most popular domain extensions. (Source)
You will gain so much more trust with mystore.com instead of mystore.myshopify.com, and it looks so much better!
But don't forget that there are other extensions out there – a great example is a .store domain:
I suggest you check out Namecheap. It's got one of the cheapest prices for domains, and it offers free privacy protection.
This will keep your name and information private for anyone searching who owns the domain.
So, yes, you can use a free domain, but for less than $11 per year, you can have your own professional domain name! (Which you can then use as a custom email address as well.)
Don’t forget to check for coupon codes on something like Honey! This could bring the price down even more.
Another option is Porkbun. This is a great option if you're looking for a domain registrar with cheaper renewal fees. (Usually, the second year is more expensive than the first year)
If you're not sure yet what to call your dropshipping store or how to name your domain name, I suggest going to a domain name generator like this one.
Plus, I suggest reading 10 Tips to Choose the Best Name for Your Dropshipping Store
But what if you decide to host it yourself?
Some web hosting companies, like Bluehost, offer a free domain when you purchase one of their hosting plans.
Otherwise, you will need to purchase a domain yourself, as I talked about above.
Total money needed for having a domain name for your dropshipping store:
– Using the free domain name from Shopify: $0
– Purchasing a domain name: Less than $11 per year (and this could be even less with the use of coupon codes!)
I've got good news for you.
You can advertise your dropshipping store or your products for free. No need to invest money into that, but do keep in mind that these methods will take longer and will take more effort.
I suggest you read my other article here to learn 8 amazing ways to get free traffic to your dropshipping store.
It will include all the things you can do to get free traffic to your dropshipping store. This is perfect for you to get your first sale or sales!
So, yes, you don’t need any money to advertise your dropshipping store, but if you want to get sales faster, and if you want to quickly see if a product is selling or not, then you will need to have a budget for marketing.
Paid marketing strategies
I've got four great articles for you regarding advertising your dropshipping store so you know how to start (when you're ready).
- 10 Ways That You Can Advertise Your Dropshipping Store – This one covers everything – except Facebook Ads because a lot of people think Facebook Ads are the only way to advertise a dropshipping store. With this article, I hope to open your mind to the idea that there is so much more possible!
- How To Quickly Test Products With Dropshipping? – I will go over a tactic that you can use to quickly see if your product has the potential to sell a lot or not!
- Influencer Marketing and Your Dropshipping Store in 2023! – If you're interested in using influencers, for example Instagram, to promote your products, then I suggest reading this article. It contains everything you need to know about influencer marketing when dropshipping!
- Facebook Ads for Ecommerce Stores: A Beginner’s Guide – In case you want to use Facebook Ads for your dropshipping store, then this article is great for you. It contains everything you need to know as a beginner.
The budget that you will need for marketing all depends on your experience.
If you have a lot of experience already with things like marketing, ecommerce and creating ads, then a great budget to have is around $250. You can read here why in a guide that Oberlo made.
But what if you don't have any experience yet in any of these things?
What then? What if you still want to do paid advertising? Well, I do then suggest you save up some money because you will need to learn a lot.
You will make a lot of mistakes, but you will learn from them (hopefully).
Some people will need the same budget as I said above (the $250), but some people will need way more than that, like $1000-$2000, before they see any success. Or even more.
So, do think that through if you don't have that much money yet. If you don't have a big budget yet, you can start, for example, with free traffic while learning more about paid advertising in the meantime.
This is great for you to do while you save up a bit for your marketing budget and while you learn more about how to do paid advertising correctly.
I've got one more great article for you. It answers one of the biggest questions people have when starting with dropshipping:
I will also give you in that article an easy-to-follow guide on what to do with the products that you’re testing and how many products I advise to test at the same time.
Total money needed for advertising your dropshipping store:
– If you start with free traffic only: $0
– If you want to do paid advertising: $250 – $2000 (It depends on your skill levels and it depends a bit on luck because if your first product is selling well, you can pay the upcoming advertising costs with the profit that you've got from selling that first product).
Testing dropshipping suppliers
This depends. I suggest you test your products by shipping them to yourself before dropshipping them to your customers.
This way you know how it will get delivered, how it looks like, how the quality is, and how long it took before it was delivered to you.
You can even use the product now to make your own unique advertisements, or you can use it for a giveaway!
But if you don’t have any money, you can skip this step if you want, but don’t forget to do this before scaling to more sales!
Because if your product is low quality or something is wrong with it, you will want to find that out rather sooner than later.
I suggest reading this here if you want to learn more about this.
Yes, in that article I do talk about AliExpress dropshipping suppliers, but you could also use these tips if you don't use AliExpress.
This is another one to think about.
You will be opening a business. Like I said before, you need to treat your dropshipping store like a real business and not as a get rich quick store.
You will need to find out how much it costs to start a business in your country. For example, how much does it cost to register a new business?
Also, don’t forget to think about the extra costs of having a real business, like hiring a bookkeeper if you’re not that good at doing taxes yourself.
If you're interested in learning more about this, I suggest reading the article I've linked below:
Extra costs that you could have for your dropshipping store
Below you will find some extra costs that you could have when starting your dropshipping store.
These are costs that you could have but are definitely not necessary if you don’t need them or want them.
You could get a logo for your dropshipping store
I suggest you check out Fiverr. You can get a logo there for around $5-$20. Another option is to create something yourself or to not have any logo yet.
Don't forget about other design stuff, like your Facebook cover photo on your Facebook profile (if you have one).
If you're interested in learning why a logo is important, you can read this article here. That article also contains more tips on how to get a logo for your store.
You could purchase a theme
This will be $150 on average. You can check out this article here with the best Shopify themes for your dropshipping store. It also includes the best free theme for when you're just starting with dropshipping or if your budget is tight!
But keep in mind that you don't need a paid theme when you're just beginning with dropshipping.
Email marketing is one of the core staples in digital marketing channels. It’s also one of the first to create the digital movement. The return on investment exceeds most other digital marketing strategies due to its low-cost effort.
If you're just beginning, then take a look at Klaviyo. Their free plans allows you to send 500 emails, and have 250 contacts.
If you're interested in learning more about Klaviyo, then check out this article here. Plus, that article covers seven other email marketing service providers.
And if you're interested in learning more about email marketing, I suggest reading this complete beginner's guide here.
Extra costs that you could have for your dropshipping store:
– Hiring someone to design a logo for you: Around $5 – $20 on Fiverr.
– You could purchase a theme: On average $150, but I suggest sticking with a free theme at the beginning of your dropshipping journey.
– Email marketing: This depends on the email marketing service that you go with. It's free up to 500 emails per month and 250 contacts with Klaviyo.
Well done, you've made it to the end! Or maybe you've skipped to this part, I will never know.
Let’s recap to see if you need any money to start with dropshipping in 2023:
You don’t need any money to learn about dropshipping. There is a lot of information about dropshipping on the internet for free.
You do need money if you decide to go with an ecommerce platform. The costs are different depending on which platform you choose, but if you go with Shopify (like I recommend you do), then it will be $39 per month, but don't forget to check out these Shopify alternatives.
To get you started: You will get a free 3-day Shopify trial if you click here!
You don’t need any money for Shopify apps. Most apps that you will need at the beginning are free or have a free version to use.
To get you started: Check out this article here for the best Shopify apps for dropshipping beginners.
You do need money if you decide to host your dropshipping store yourself. Hosting will cost you around $5 – $10 per month in the beginning, depending on your hosting company (keep in mind that you will most likely need to pay per year).
To get you started: Check out this article here that contains all my hosting recommendations.
You might need money to process your orders if you decide to host yourself. You will need a plugin to process your orders.
If you want to start with dropshipping with AliExpress, I suggest you look at the AliDropship plugin. It's $89 for a lifetime license, so no monthly subscription costs like with Shopify.
You might need money for a domain. You could use the free domain name offered by Shopify (if you're going with Shopify), but I highly recommend you purchase a domain name. It will look way more professional, and it’s less than $11 for one whole year.
If you decide to host it yourself, the only way to not need any money for this is to look for a hosting company that offers a free domain when purchasing a hosting plan.
You don’t need any money to advertise your products or dropshipping store, but as you'll have read above, it will be easier to get sales once you have a budget for marketing available.
You don’t need any money to test your products before dropshipping them to your customers, but I do highly recommend doing it if you have the budget because you can check so many things this way; most importantly, the quality of the product that you’re selling.
You might need money to register your dropshipping store as a business in your country. You will need to check how much it costs to register a business in your country. Don’t forget extra costs like having a bookkeeper if you’re not that good at doing taxes yourself.
So, do you need money to start dropshipping in 2023?
Yes, you do need some money to start dropshipping because you need to pay for your domain and ecommerce platform. All the other things, like advertising and learning about dropshipping, can be done without money!
I hope you now know if your budget allows it to start a dropshipping store or not (or maybe you have already started, but you just wanted to know what kind of costs you can expect).
If you've got the budget and you're motivated now to get started with dropshipping, I suggest reading my complete guides below:
- Shopify Dropshipping: A 20-Step Guide to Starting Your Store
- AliExpress Dropshipping: A 20-Step Getting Started Guide (2023)
And if you've got any questions regarding dropshipping, please let me know by commenting below or contacting me directly by pressing the “Contact Us” button at the top!
I wish you so much luck if you're going to start a dropshipping store, and don't forget that my blog called Do Dropshipping has a lot of articles that will help you on your dropshipping journey!
Also, don't forget that success takes time and effort. It doesn't come overnight!