Please give me advice for starting a printshop
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** * * I have been browsing and researching for printshop businness and I came across this site. It seems like this is the best place for me to start learning. I am not sure, whether I am posting at the right place or not. This post is about mix education and business. Please forgive me if i did something wrong.
** * *Me and my friends are college students. We had worked for private printshop company before. We did design, business card, bootlets and other things that tipical printshop would do. It not super busy shop. We pretty much can run the whole shop alone. *We quit due to our school work load. But now we are thinking about starting printshop. We don't have a lot of extral money as most of you but we do know how to run a shop and had a lot of experience in that field.
** * *What do you guys think? You guys think, this is not the best time to start? Should we start from our garage and start online printshop first? I was thinking about that but I don't think I will get a lot of customers from that. If you are willing to give us advice, we are very happy to hear from you.*
** * *Also, I was told that there are a lot more printer carriers out there that we can choose from. Can you guys name a few company which will suite for our case? I know in the beginning it will be tough and we will not be able to run a lot of job. Also, someone told me that leasing a couple mechines will not only give us a deal but also worry free? I would like to know where would be the best place for us to get mechines and equiments? Is there like a convension I can visit? I will be needing printers, mechines cutter, binding mechines, large format printer, paper, and etc.
** * * How much will it cost to start a printshop. I have abot 5 -7 friends who will work with me.
Thank you guys
Welcome to the board, There is TONS of good people and information on here for the picking. This is a tough question you ask. I don't think there is any right or wrong answer out there. You're going to have to decide what type of print business you want to go after. Do you want to do stationary products, B.C.'s, letterhead, Envelopes, Note Cards ect. If thats the case a small duplicator or digital copier (would not possible be able to print envelopes than) may be right for you. a digital copier would also allow you to do short run brochures. I would say the digital be of think may be easier to get into, but thats not to say its going to be easy. you need to think about things like computer software, finishing equipment(Cutter, Folder, sticher) and SPACE!. The nice thing is they do make alot of table top versions of finishing equipment but remember you get what you pay for. You can buy a table top folder and wander why it won't fold consistently. Also you need to think about Working Capital. If you are going to start a small shop like it sounds like your talking about most likly all your customers would be walk in and COD. in most cases major printers are only getting paid in 30-45days if their lucky. So all the materials you bought for that job you won't get paid for, for 30-45 days. It really all depends on just want type of services you want to offer. If your going to be working or designing customer files, you're going to need to have every version of creative software out there ex. photoshot, quark, indesign ect. Best advice i can give you is PLAN PLAN and then PLAN some more. do you have a budget on what your going to put out to get your shop up and running. the good thing there is that, there are tons of printers closing up shops (not to detour you) so there is an excess of used equipment out there at bargin pricing. if you have any more specific questions just post it or PM me and i'd be happy to answer.
Please give me advice for starting a printshop-
The overhead and capital/labor intensiveness of a print business can crush you, your line of credit and - in the process - possibly wipe you out personally as you will be forced into signing personal guarantees in order to secure funding.
If you and your friends are convinced that you want to do this, then get a book of business first and be a broker. Establish a client base. Send your work to trade printers. Get a good looking balance sheet and P&L then go get your own stuff. At that point it will be a business decision that will increase your overall GP and allow you to grow. you will also know exactly what you need instead of guessing.
There is over-capacity in the market right now. Be careful. You will be competeing with VistaPrint and FedexOffice. What makes you think you can steal $1M+ of business from some other compnay and call it your own?
Could always try and carve out a niche somewhere. Mainstream print is just cut throat these days.
You might want to subscribe to this website: Social | Print Experiment — Building a digital print company from scratch it's a few guys that are publishing all the details of the startup of a digital printing company - including the financials.
After 3 months in business they are some $5,000 in the hole. They are not paying themselves any wages and there are other expenses, like utilities, accounting etc., they are not including so, they are actually down more than they say. But they are ever hopeful.
You can buy most of what you might need at print equipment auctions - unfortunately there are many of those.
You can watch one for what was one of the country's best printers, Graphic Center, Inc., that will start at 10:am PST today here: http://www.bidspotter.com/catauction...ting+Equipment
I think Ian's advice of starting as a broker first is very good advice. If you can't make sales as a broker, at least you won't have the costs of a print shop sitting idle to drag you down.
best, gordon p
Last edited by gordo; 04-27-2010 at 11:54 AM.
I do really appreciate for quick reply guys. I have learned a lot from just these posts. Especially NGA, Ian and Gordo.
We are planning provide as much services as we can to customers but we are aware that we will need more money and equipments for doing so. What I am planning to do was (I may be wrong, please direct me to right direction if you think I m going to wrong patch). We are thinking about starting a digital printing business first with 2 B/W and 1 Color machines, cutter, binding and folding machine and some other small equipment. We are looking forward to make business card, envelopes and brochures but I believe they require special equipments to get a raise printed and card stock folding am I correct? If pricing are not much different I would like to go with those machine that can do those. I love the idea of starting out as a broker too.
Buying used machines should be the best way for us to do our business but what about printers and cutter? I had bad experience with printers even with B/W machine. Sometime some parts broken and the most issue is with coloring. What kind of options do I have? Is there other printer company out there which are cheaper then Xerox and canon? Can you please provide me with a few names that would fit our business? I am trying collect as much information as I could before I go out there and start my business.
Again, thank a lot of your guys time. I will be asking a lot of question since I don't want to make any wrong decision. If you would like to add any ideas or feedback we will love to hear those.
Wow that's a lot of plant to get all at once. I'd think you'd be better off buying one printer (say a dc242 - good entry level) and a creaser and guillotine. You can turn your hand to a lot of work with this.
As finances permit and you have the jobs to pay for them, start buying more equipment - at first send out booklets etc for finishing elsewhere.
I agree with Mark.... don't! Unless you love a high stress environment where everyone dumps their shit in your lap and expects you to fix it .... oh buy the way don't bother charging them for it, it may offend them!
You ask advice.
It is given to you.
You are ignoring it.
why should more advice be given to you?
Just do it then!
Then PLEASE do the following:
1. Write a business plan
2. Put a focus on SELLING not technology
3. And....DO NOT sign personal guarantees.
If your business fails, it will not ruin your life. I dont know how much you know about printing but it sounds like you do not know much. You are going after the lowest margin, lowest end, crap commodity printing as possible.
Maybe it would be advisable to buy a franchise so at least you have corporate support instead of blogs and forums to help you.
Good luck. You will need it.