Good or bad idea in my situation? (Only selling posters with mounts/mattes)

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PrintingInLincs

Guest
Hello,

I have real problems with trimming down posters. I often waste a lot of paper due to it.

The recent cost rises including energy means I'm thinking of only selling prints with mounts ("mattes" to u.s folks)

I'm trying to either totally remove the cutting down process or make it so it doesn't need to be so accurate.

This isn't as crazy as it sounds as at the peak of my business we weren't cutting down our prints at all.

(I get frustrated if a print is a fraction of a mm larger on one edge & have quite extreme quality demands, perhaps print-related ocd)

Are there any "cons" that I've not considered? It seems a little too good to be true to an extent.

The pros & cons seem to be as follows:

Pro's

1. Able to control how the print looks when framed. I tried framing but I was always fighting dust particles & glass smears...again, maybe ocd)
2. Cost saving as less wasted paper due to not trimming down.
3. Can print in bulk, rather than print & trim because there won't be any loss during the trimming down process.
4. Will be able to ship quicker due to point 3 above.
5. Will barely need the printer on to fulfill orders so will save greatly on energy costs.
6. Selling with a mount /matte could be seen as "added value" & a differentiator.
7. Many buy my items as gifts, buyers can be more certain the print will look right when framed due to the mount.
8. I will be selling prints to fit 20 x 16, 14 x 11 & 10 x 8 with A3, A4 & A5 apertures which I believe are the most popular U.S frame sizes.

Cons

1. Shipping internationally might be more tricky due to having to ship flat.

Have I missed anything or is it a solid plan?

I use a versant 180 & only print posters. This is the last hoorah for me really...2022 has seen turnover drop by 75% so trying to think differently.

PS: let's try to avoid the "you should have an inkjet"...it is what it is :)
 

joshlindsay

Well-known member
Not what you have asked but for jobs where I know I have a tricky border to hit and it's short run I chuck it on my digital die cutter. It reads registration marks and the cut is generally bang on.

You could probably get away with the Auto sheet cutters
I know of some similar machines that have been purchased on Alibaba but software makes the word of difference on the cutters.

Biggest pro to this, I think, is you can also expand into printing kiss cut stickers super easy of the V180. Make the most of that investment.
 
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PrintingInLincs

Guest
Sadly space is an issue as well as the financial aspect of it but I looked at the link & one of those would be great someday.
 
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PrintingInLincs

Guest
I had an ideal 4305....moved to a Dahle 554. I've tried other Dahle models.

Looking to remove trimming down completely, however.
 

pippip

Well-known member
Sorry am I missing something or are you overlooking the fact that the mounts cost money?
Are you not just about comparing cost of a mount versus how much your wasting currently per print?
 

SoggyWinter

Well-known member
My team burns a lot of time trimming wide format prints and I'm hoping to add a flatbed digital die cutter to the fleet. We use a Duplo 646 for 13x19 and smaller prints. How many impressions or finished sheets per month are you running and what is your budget for an automated cutting solution (either purchase outright or a monthly payment for financing a machine)?
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
It appears you've already run with this idea.

Some free business advice... change your Etsy homepage which currently reads; "Due to the UK energy price crisis, we will be switching to selling only mounted prints soon. For us, this will make orders quicker to prepare, save on waste when trimming down to size, save tons on energy costs & we'll be certain that your order will display properly when framed which has always been a consideration."

This is really poor. Change it to something like "Buy early for Christmas, free personalised Xmas cards with all orders up to 31st Oct, Buy 3 get 1 free Halloween promotion", in fact anything or nothing is better than talking about wastage & trimming precision, which mean nothing to your target demographic.
 
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PrintingInLincs

Guest
Sorry am I missing something or are you overlooking the fact that the mounts cost money?
Are you not just about comparing cost of a mount versus how much your wasting currently per print?
I can bulk order & get them at insignificant prices really. There seems to be so much time, energy & paper to be saved by not having to cut down it's a no-brainer, but maybe I'm missing something.
 
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PrintingInLincs

Guest
It appears you've already run with this idea.

Some free business advice... change your Etsy homepage which currently reads; "Due to the UK energy price crisis, we will be switching to selling only mounted prints soon. For us, this will make orders quicker to prepare, save on waste when trimming down to size, save tons on energy costs & we'll be certain that your order will display properly when framed which has always been a consideration."

This is really poor. Change it to something like "Buy early for Christmas, free personalised Xmas cards with all orders up to 31st Oct, Buy 3 get 1 free Halloween promotion", in fact anything or nothing is better than talking about wastage & trimming precision, which mean nothing to your target demographic.
Not gone through with this yet but the intent is there, I'm working out the best way to switch the store over to this method of doing things & a small part of me is still wondering if it's a crazy idea. I do think some people care about businesses wasting paper but yes I'll change it a bit.
 
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PrintingInLincs

Guest
My team burns a lot of time trimming wide format prints and I'm hoping to add a flatbed digital die cutter to the fleet. We use a Duplo 646 for 13x19 and smaller prints. How many impressions or finished sheets per month are you running and what is your budget for an automated cutting solution (either purchase outright or a monthly payment for financing a machine)?
Ideally, I'd have something that does all this, but finances don't allow investment nowadays. We barely do any print lately. Lucky if we get to 100 sheets since I've moved further away from movie posters & the economy has nosedived on top of this.
 

SoggyWinter

Well-known member
Ideally, I'd have something that does all this, but finances don't allow investment nowadays. We barely do any print lately. Lucky if we get to 100 sheets since I've moved further away from movie posters & the economy has nosedived on top of this.
Outsource your printing and fulfilment until sales volume justifies equipment investments.
 

tngcas

Well-known member
It's a terrible idea - most of your pro lists are actually cons (my opinion down below)
If you look through your customer photos on etsy most of them are framing/matting them differently than how you would do it. Forcing them to pay more for shipping a mounted product to display in a way they don't want is going to ruin your existing customer base which is for $8 posters and not for $25 mounted posters. You'll have to start over with creating a customer base and it will be a limited customer base. You'll sell 100 $8 posters for every 5 $25 posters you sell. I'm familiar enough with etsy to know that there's always someone who will do it for cheaper. If you open that window a competitor will swoop in.

Better option.
Print the posters and make ALL of them be full bleed by simply adding enough of a background content that none of the "core" elements are ever cut off whether the customer choose to mount them or not. You're already restoring the artwork, just do a better job by adding extra background content to them. Don't sell any posters with a white border that requires perfection. This will satisfy both your OCD issue and give the customer the option to do whatever they need/want to do to the final piece. If they really want a white border they can mount it. If they don't they don't have to.

Better option that satisfies your OCD problem:
Offer a LTP option. "Less than perfect" - Charge $10 for perfect posters and $8 for posters that "may be off by up to 1mm in either direction." Explain somewhere that LTP posters are a byproduct of how the printing process works and how it's better for the planet blah blah blah. If you word it right the customer who buys the LTP product will think they're saving the environment by rescuing a product that would get tossed for no good reason.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Able to control how the print looks when framed. I tried framing but I was always fighting dust particles & glass smears...again, maybe ocd)
  • Customers can't make it fit their decor style for their space and you're still going to be fighting dust particles and glass smears - also time it takes to mount is a lot - how many mount colors are you going to offer LOL
2. Cost saving as less wasted paper due to not trimming down.
  • You're spending more in time than you're saving in paper.
3. Can print in bulk, rather than print & trim because there won't be any loss during the trimming down process.
4. Will be able to ship quicker due to point 3 above.
  • How is mounting less time-consuming than print & trim. Make your prints full bleed and it takes minutes to full bleed a stack of them
5. Will barely need the printer on to fulfill orders so will save greatly on energy costs.
  • Why aren't you just ordering 100 prints of each design from a trade printer anyways - that would also save on your printer needs and be so much cheaper and less time consuming.
6. Selling with a mount/matte could be seen as "added value" & a differentiator.
  • Only if you have the customer base for it.
7. Many buy my items as gifts, buyers can be more certain the print will look right when framed due to the mount.
  • Your customer base probably doesn't mount the posters before they gift them. They let the end person decide how to display them to fit their space.
8. I will be selling prints to fit 20 x 16, 14 x 11 & 10 x 8 with A3, A4 & A5 apertures which I believe are the most popular U.S frame sizes.
  • I cannot even begin to imagine how you'd keep your mounts from getting damaged during shipping unless the UK postal system is much better than the US system. Those mounts are fragile as heck. You're going to be dealing with SO MANY refunds/replacement requests. LOL
 

AP90

Well-known member
We’ve went over this time and time again about the trimming. Your equipment is very capable of creating perfect prints in 1 sheet. I even demonstrated it for you. I downloaded your file, printed a print with a 3mm border and trimmed it in about 10 minutes. Did you ever consult anyone in the printing industry about this?
 
P

PrintingInLincs

Guest
It's a terrible idea - most of your pro lists are actually cons (my opinion down below)
If you look through your customer photos on etsy most of them are framing/matting them differently than how you would do it. Forcing them to pay more for shipping a mounted product to display in a way they don't want is going to ruin your existing customer base which is for $8 posters and not for $25 mounted posters. You'll have to start over with creating a customer base and it will be a limited customer base. You'll sell 100 $8 posters for every 5 $25 posters you sell. I'm familiar enough with etsy to know that there's always someone who will do it for cheaper. If you open that window a competitor will swoop in.

Better option.
Print the posters and make ALL of them be full bleed by simply adding enough of a background content that none of the "core" elements are ever cut off whether the customer choose to mount them or not. You're already restoring the artwork, just do a better job by adding extra background content to them. Don't sell any posters with a white border that requires perfection. This will satisfy both your OCD issue and give the customer the option to do whatever they need/want to do to the final piece. If they really want a white border they can mount it. If they don't they don't have to.

Better option that satisfies your OCD problem:
Offer a LTP option. "Less than perfect" - Charge $10 for perfect posters and $8 for posters that "may be off by up to 1mm in either direction." Explain somewhere that LTP posters are a byproduct of how the printing process works and how it's better for the planet blah blah blah. If you word it right the customer who buys the LTP product will think they're saving the environment by rescuing a product that would get tossed for no good reason.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Able to control how the print looks when framed. I tried framing but I was always fighting dust particles & glass smears...again, maybe ocd)
  • Customers can't make it fit their decor style for their space and you're still going to be fighting dust particles and glass smears - also time it takes to mount is a lot - how many mount colors are you going to offer LOL
2. Cost saving as less wasted paper due to not trimming down.
  • You're spending more in time than you're saving in paper.
3. Can print in bulk, rather than print & trim because there won't be any loss during the trimming down process.
4. Will be able to ship quicker due to point 3 above.
  • How is mounting less time-consuming than print & trim. Make your prints full bleed and it takes minutes to full bleed a stack of them
5. Will barely need the printer on to fulfill orders so will save greatly on energy costs.
  • Why aren't you just ordering 100 prints of each design from a trade printer anyways - that would also save on your printer needs and be so much cheaper and less time consuming.
6. Selling with a mount/matte could be seen as "added value" & a differentiator.
  • Only if you have the customer base for it.
7. Many buy my items as gifts, buyers can be more certain the print will look right when framed due to the mount.
  • Your customer base probably doesn't mount the posters before they gift them. They let the end person decide how to display them to fit their space.
8. I will be selling prints to fit 20 x 16, 14 x 11 & 10 x 8 with A3, A4 & A5 apertures which I believe are the most popular U.S frame sizes.
  • I cannot even begin to imagine how you'd keep your mounts from getting damaged during shipping unless the UK postal system is much better than the US system. Those mounts are fragile as heck. You're going to be dealing with SO MANY refunds/replacement requests. LOL
Thanks for your detailed response. Really appreciated & I do agree that posting mounts internationally is the biggest issue. Maybe I can just say it's sized for a certain mount aperture & test it before I send it off & then not worry about the margins etc.

Regarding point 5. Using a trade printer wouldn't be great for someone that gets frustrated about a fraction of a mm difference on a border or something similar. (I tried outsourcing with large format prints)

Also the printer cost a ton so going back to outsourcing seems silly when I have the equipment.

I'll reply more tomorrow, long day :)
 
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PrintingInLincs

Guest
We’ve went over this time and time again about the trimming. Your equipment is very capable of creating perfect prints in 1 sheet. I even demonstrated it for you. I downloaded your file, printed a print with a 3mm border and trimmed it in about 10 minutes. Did you ever consult anyone in the printing industry about this?
Yes, I had a high up xerox tech out about it, basically said it was me not being accurate enough when cutting down & I was reminded of the tolerance of the machine. I accept this.

The thread isn't about trimming down though, it's about removing the process altogether which is how I used to do it when I was making the most sales & what perhaps suits my needs better.
 

AP90

Well-known member
Yes, I had a high up xerox tech out about it, basically said it was me not being accurate enough when cutting down & I was reminded of the tolerance of the machine. I accept this.

The thread isn't about trimming down though, it's about removing the process altogether which is how I used to do it when I was making the most sales & what perhaps suits my needs better.
Having a “high up Xerox tech” come out isn’t someone in the printing industry really. They don’t run these machines day in and day out or handle any other part of the printing process. Unless that tech ran a print shop for years he’s unlikely to know anymore about the printing process than a 2nd year tech.

And I get that this thread is about changing your process. All I’m saying is that there have been numerous people on here, myself included, who have offered to come and help you figure out your trimming issues. Most of us could all but guarantee you a printable product in 1 day. Your previous business model seemed like it worked for you. But you are now wanting to switch to a new and less proven model because of the trimming issue.
 

pippip

Well-known member
I just see a 3mm border as being trouble from the start no matter how good your equipment is.
I'd also see shipping frames as a nightmare.

If it was me I'd just work on adjusting the artworks so you can print borderless and reap the long term benefits.
 
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PrintingInLincs

Guest
I do offer borderless, but having the option of a 3mm margin or borderless then 90% of people will choose the margin. We changed our options to test that.
Having a “high up Xerox tech” come out isn’t someone in the printing industry really. They don’t run these machines day in and day out or handle any other part of the printing process. Unless that tech ran a print shop for years he’s unlikely to know anymore about the printing process than a 2nd year tech.

And I get that this thread is about changing your process. All I’m saying is that there have been numerous people on here, myself included, who have offered to come and help you figure out your trimming issues. Most of us could all but guarantee you a printable product in 1 day. Your previous business model seemed like it worked for you. But you are now wanting to switch to a new and less proven model because of the trimming issue.
I see your point about the xerox tech. The previous model which you say seemed to work for me involved no cutting down at all so that was my sweet spot I feel. I appreciate the offer to fly out & help but it's not really viable for someone that's selling about 50 posters on a good month nowadays & has considered refinancing the equipment recently lol.
 

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