Looking to setup a print press in the UK

vbpuk

Member
Hi Guys,

Looking for advice from experienced printers.

I have a large format printing business in Manchester, UK which has been established for over 10 years and part of our growth plan, we have decided to print on paper, to offer our existing customer add on products.

We serve over 200-300 customers per day for large format print, as the most other product asked for is flyers and leaflets by our existing customers, we think its a good idea to make more revenue from each order.

We believe 20-25% customers will happily add short runs of 500-1000 A5 flyers to their orders, as an average, but also anticipate larger orders as we serve alot of restaurants and takeaways.

So if approx 50 customers a day ask for 500 A5 leaflets, which is 25,000 A5 flyers to get an idea of min production capacity to start off with, which digital print press would you recommend? and what other equipment would be required to run short print runs? I am thinking a guillotine would also be required.

Which machine would be a work horse for this setup? something very reliable with minimal down time? whats your experience?

I have a budget of around £10k-25k to set this up, would you recommend to lease the machine for operational purposes? or buy a used machine outright? would I face too many problems? and which option would be best to maximise profit margins?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. And any recommendation of vendors to buy the machines from will be a bonus, especially if they are based around the North West of the UK.

Many thanks in advance.
 
Just some thoughts.
Have to considered partnering with another printer to handle this kind of work?
To lease or outright buy is first an accounting issue. Speak to your accountant about which makes best financial sense.
 
Second for Gordo recommend outsourcing the flyer workload for a few months to get an idea of what capacity you'd actually need.

If your projections are accurate, you'll probably need 150k-200k with of press and bindery equipment, but you'd be making great cashflow, so the lease or loan payments wouldn't be intimidating.

When you are confident in making 25k A5 flyers / day you'd want
A guillotine
A Duplo 648 or Horizon Smartslitter- these give you a huge range of automated cutting, creasing, and perforating for making all kinds of products
If you outgrow the above machine's capacity, get a rotary diecutter
Imposition Automation like Fiery Jobflow, Ultimate Impostrip, Enfocus Switch, etc
website features for accepting files and preflight workflow
Digital Press: One or two Ricoh C9500, C7500, Canon V1000, or KM 7100

You might also consider
Rotary diecutter
folding machine
book binding equipment for spiral and perfect binding
foil equipment


Also plan for
staffing skillset needed and staff recruitment/retention
insurance
electrical load
storage for paper
workspace for equipment
shipping
documentation for new employee on boarding
documentation for customer file submission
pricing strategy
further growth and diversification of your offerings
contingency planning for business downturn, employee departure, etc
 
@vbpuk welcome to the forum. A few things...

  • The market for A5 leaflets/flyers is very saturated, with a lot of ridiculously cheap offerings available. We've often looked at this and when you add in all the costs, carriage, etc. there's a lot of busy fools out there competing to make very little. Unless you're operating at Bluetree's scale, buying paper by the lorry load, running multiple presses 24/7 and have the best W2P front end and stupid money to throw at Adwords, then it's not going to happen (or at least not going to make you any money).
  • This piece of business advice may come across as harsh... you already know there's margin to be made in the large format work you offer, but you're reliant on getting things right first time >95% of the time! In the print industry, every new customer is a likely repeat customer in the future, when you leave them delighted, or even just satisfied. However looking at your online Trustpilot reviews and Yell reviews, that clearly is not happening for you. If in your shoes, I would be honing in on the detail and correcting the operational issues that are clearly leaving a very high percentage of dissatisfied customers on your core work - and driving this for two or three years, before even considering diversification.
 
Just some thoughts.
Have to considered partnering with another printer to handle this kind of work?
To lease or outright buy is first an accounting issue. Speak to your accountant about which makes best financial sense.
thanks for your comments.

I find it difficult to test partnerships at the expense of my business reputation, a bit old fashioned, but I think its best to learn and earn
 
Second for Gordo recommend outsourcing the flyer workload for a few months to get an idea of what capacity you'd actually need.

If your projections are accurate, you'll probably need 150k-200k with of press and bindery equipment, but you'd be making great cashflow, so the lease or loan payments wouldn't be intimidating.

When you are confident in making 25k A5 flyers / day you'd want
A guillotine
A Duplo 648 or Horizon Smartslitter- these give you a huge range of automated cutting, creasing, and perforating for making all kinds of products
If you outgrow the above machine's capacity, get a rotary diecutter
Imposition Automation like Fiery Jobflow, Ultimate Impostrip, Enfocus Switch, etc
website features for accepting files and preflight workflow
Digital Press: One or two Ricoh C9500, C7500, Canon V1000, or KM 7100

You might also consider
Rotary diecutter
folding machine
book binding equipment for spiral and perfect binding
foil equipment


Also plan for
staffing skillset needed and staff recruitment/retention
insurance
electrical load
storage for paper
workspace for equipment
shipping
documentation for new employee on boarding
documentation for customer file submission
pricing strategy
further growth and diversification of your offerings
contingency planning for business downturn, employee departure, etc
really appreciate you detailed response!

I am looking at a RICOH C7200S, but everyone I have spoken to has recommended a KM, is there any clear winner between the two?
Will look into the Duplo 648 for sure.

Seems like I tick all the boxes on the other aspects you have mentioned.


Greatly appreciated! Thanks
 
@vbpuk welcome to the forum. A few things...

  • The market for A5 leaflets/flyers is very saturated, with a lot of ridiculously cheap offerings available. We've often looked at this and when you add in all the costs, carriage, etc. there's a lot of busy fools out there competing to make very little. Unless you're operating at Bluetree's scale, buying paper by the lorry load, running multiple presses 24/7 and have the best W2P front end and stupid money to throw at Adwords, then it's not going to happen (or at least not going to make you any money).
  • This piece of business advice may come across as harsh... you already know there's margin to be made in the large format work you offer, but you're reliant on getting things right first time >95% of the time! In the print industry, every new customer is a likely repeat customer in the future, when you leave them delighted, or even just satisfied. However looking at your online Trustpilot reviews and Yell reviews, that clearly is not happening for you. If in your shoes, I would be honing in on the detail and correcting the operational issues that are clearly leaving a very high percentage of dissatisfied customers on your core work - and driving this for two or three years, before even considering diversification.
Brutally honest and sincere comment, really appreciated.

I am already spending silly money on Google Ads, and understand the market is saturated, its the repeat customer lifetime value I am focusing on and increasing avg basket value. My main business model focuses on selling the design service, the design service we offer is the fastest and the core reason why customers keep coming back.

Regarding the reviews, your right, we need some brand management, the vast silent majority is very happy and business has been growing at more than 25-30% YOY for the last 10 years. So yes, focusing my energy on brand reputation this year and will cook up schemes to offer incentives for reviews.

I have 4 other brands in the same space, and all are doing well in their own verticals.

I aim to scale up to Bluetree's level, as I am all too familiar with how things shape up quickly when we get things right, in terms of profit and the challenges that come with it. Although I feel we wont be 'competing' for business, its more like a matter of having the item on the menu, especially when we have designed the artwork.

Really appreciate your advice.
 
Hi Guys,

Looking for advice from experienced printers.

I have a large format printing business in Manchester, UK which has been established for over 10 years and part of our growth plan, we have decided to print on paper, to offer our existing customer add on products.

We serve over 200-300 customers per day for large format print, as the most other product asked for is flyers and leaflets by our existing customers, we think its a good idea to make more revenue from each order.

We believe 20-25% customers will happily add short runs of 500-1000 A5 flyers to their orders, as an average, but also anticipate larger orders as we serve alot of restaurants and takeaways.

So if approx 50 customers a day ask for 500 A5 leaflets, which is 25,000 A5 flyers to get an idea of min production capacity to start off with, which digital print press would you recommend? and what other equipment would be required to run short print runs? I am thinking a guillotine would also be required.

Which machine would be a work horse for this setup? something very reliable with minimal down time? whats your experience?

I have a budget of around £10k-25k to set this up, would you recommend to lease the machine for operational purposes? or buy a used machine outright? would I face too many problems? and which option would be best to maximise profit margins?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. And any recommendation of vendors to buy the machines from will be a bonus, especially if they are based around the North West of the UK.

Many thanks in advance.
OK, following up from this, can you let me know your thoughts and this, and let me know if I am on the right track!


So after comparing machines, speed capabilities etc, I have narrowed my search down to two machines:

RICOH C7200S with a folder and book binder (no maintenance contract)
RICOH 9200, this has no additional modules added for folding/creasing etc. (has maintenance contract with a click rate)

I have been advised its best to get separate folder machine, a Morgana or Duplo, in the UK, both are easily available.

In addition, a range of guillotine SRA3 size are readily available.

I have put the question to RICOH if they would put a non contract machine back onto a maintenance contract, and awaiting a response.

The price difference between the two is not significant, so if anyone has experience with either machine, it would be good to hear from you.

Many thanks in Advance
 
OK, following up from this, can you let me know your thoughts and this, and let me know if I am on the right track!
Abdul, for what it's worth IMO you are completely on the wrong track. As I've already indicated, I believe you should become excellent at the potentially profitable large format work you currently do. In your shoes, until my online reviews were >95% I would be concentrating all efforts on this, certainly not diversification / dilution (take your pick) into a less profitable remit.

I'm also struggling with how you are approaching this as your angle of seeking advice doesn't befit a business currently processing up to 300 large format print orders per day. That is a most serious, bordering unbelievable volume! We have large format supply partners with >£3m of P&M inventory, >50,000sq.ft. floorspace and around 30 staff who don't process that many orders in a day!

Operating at this level, you must be familiar with industry standard procurement process... which generally excludes sourcing second-hand bits of kit from auction sites with whatever attachments they happen to come with and expecting the OEM or a dealer to put it on a CPC. Instead I would expect you to invite 2 or 3 of the "big four" to pitch to your business and for your line of questioning here to be more around garnering experiences of levels of support others are receiving in your part of the country. After all, the OEM/model is one of the least relevant points here.

Nor can I get my head around your 25-30% year on year growth for the past ten years - I've known a lot of businesses over the past 40 years and don't know of any that can claim that. I can see the pandemic could have given you massive growth over just two years, conversely I can't see how any large format business that made hay during 20/21 could be 25% up YOY in 22/23 etc. Being a curious creature, I have looked at your accounts, as these are a public document and again, there's a huge disconnect. Sorry this isn't going to be what you want to read, I'm just keeping it real.

To answer a few of your specific questions:
  • Before any OEM or dealer puts a non-contract machine back on contract, they will charge you to thoroughly inspect and test the machine and give a comprehensive list of the work you need to pay for to bring it up to contract spec. Then you may be offered a CPC contract, which will still be heavier than if you opted for a new machine. You'll need two machines anyway, for redundancy.
  • Personally I agree with you in favouring off line finishing as opposed to inline and indeed we have product from both Morgana and Duplo
  • We do have an SRA3 guillotine as our space is so limited, however if you have the space, do get something larger, so you can cut parent sizes down. Ideally something like a Polar / Mohr 66, which has a back stop deep enough to trim the short edge of 3-panel A4 brochures.
 
Abdul, for what it's worth IMO you are completely on the wrong track. As I've already indicated, I believe you should become excellent at the potentially profitable large format work you currently do. In your shoes, until my online reviews were >95% I would be concentrating all efforts on this, certainly not diversification / dilution (take your pick) into a less profitable remit.

I'm also struggling with how you are approaching this as your angle of seeking advice doesn't befit a business currently processing up to 300 large format print orders per day. That is a most serious, bordering unbelievable volume! We have large format supply partners with >£3m of P&M inventory, >50,000sq.ft. floorspace and around 30 staff who don't process that many orders in a day!

Operating at this level, you must be familiar with industry standard procurement process... which generally excludes sourcing second-hand bits of kit from auction sites with whatever attachments they happen to come with and expecting the OEM or a dealer to put it on a CPC. Instead I would expect you to invite 2 or 3 of the "big four" to pitch to your business and for your line of questioning here to be more around garnering experiences of levels of support others are receiving in your part of the country. After all, the OEM/model is one of the least relevant points here.

Nor can I get my head around your 25-30% year on year growth for the past ten years - I've known a lot of businesses over the past 40 years and don't know of any that can claim that. I can see the pandemic could have given you massive growth over just two years, conversely I can't see how any large format business that made hay during 20/21 could be 25% up YOY in 22/23 etc. Being a curious creature, I have looked at your accounts, as these are a public document and again, there's a huge disconnect. Sorry this isn't going to be what you want to read, I'm just keeping it real.

To answer a few of your specific questions:
  • Before any OEM or dealer puts a non-contract machine back on contract, they will charge you to thoroughly inspect and test the machine and give a comprehensive list of the work you need to pay for to bring it up to contract spec. Then you may be offered a CPC contract, which will still be heavier than if you opted for a new machine. You'll need two machines anyway, for redundancy.
  • Personally I agree with you in favouring off line finishing as opposed to inline and indeed we have product from both Morgana and Duplo
  • We do have an SRA3 guillotine as our space is so limited, however if you have the space, do get something larger, so you can cut parent sizes down. Ideally something like a Polar / Mohr 66, which has a back stop deep enough to trim the short edge of 3-panel A4 brochures.
Hey, really appreciate the time you took to respond, especially the last part of your previous post!

I am in talks with RICOH, and quite rightly, that is exactly what they have prescribed. I just cant justify buying the machine new from RICOH due to the price difference. The C7200, they quoted £65k, which you can find for £12k on auction websites. And its the same story with every new machine. The difference is just too big!

Thanks for the heads up on the guillotine, I shall follow your advice on that, good call.

Regarding the first part, I am border line contemplating weather to prove my claims, or let you go down the rabbit hole. lol, OK, I will entertain as you have border line trust/belief concerns, I will drop you a private message to keep myself humble. :)
 
Abdul, for what it's worth IMO you are completely on the wrong track. As I've already indicated, I believe you should become excellent at the potentially profitable large format work you currently do. In your shoes, until my online reviews were >95% I would be concentrating all efforts on this, certainly not diversification / dilution (take your pick) into a less profitable remit.

I'm also struggling with how you are approaching this as your angle of seeking advice doesn't befit a business currently processing up to 300 large format print orders per day. That is a most serious, bordering unbelievable volume! We have large format supply partners with >£3m of P&M inventory, >50,000sq.ft. floorspace and around 30 staff who don't process that many orders in a day!

Operating at this level, you must be familiar with industry standard procurement process... which generally excludes sourcing second-hand bits of kit from auction sites with whatever attachments they happen to come with and expecting the OEM or a dealer to put it on a CPC. Instead I would expect you to invite 2 or 3 of the "big four" to pitch to your business and for your line of questioning here to be more around garnering experiences of levels of support others are receiving in your part of the country. After all, the OEM/model is one of the least relevant points here.

Nor can I get my head around your 25-30% year on year growth for the past ten years - I've known a lot of businesses over the past 40 years and don't know of any that can claim that. I can see the pandemic could have given you massive growth over just two years, conversely I can't see how any large format business that made hay during 20/21 could be 25% up YOY in 22/23 etc. Being a curious creature, I have looked at your accounts, as these are a public document and again, there's a huge disconnect. Sorry this isn't going to be what you want to read, I'm just keeping it real.

To answer a few of your specific questions:
  • Before any OEM or dealer puts a non-contract machine back on contract, they will charge you to thoroughly inspect and test the machine and give a comprehensive list of the work you need to pay for to bring it up to contract spec. Then you may be offered a CPC contract, which will still be heavier than if you opted for a new machine. You'll need two machines anyway, for redundancy.
  • Personally I agree with you in favouring off line finishing as opposed to inline and indeed we have product from both Morgana and Duplo
  • We do have an SRA3 guillotine as our space is so limited, however if you have the space, do get something larger, so you can cut parent sizes down. Ideally something like a Polar / Mohr 66, which has a back stop deep enough to trim the short edge of 3-panel A4 brochures.
Before you buy anything digital, I would suggest you go here, simplyinkjet.com and contact them for low cost 4/c inkjet printing equipment using print engine with up 1600 x 1600 dpi. We are looking at two of them
 
Before you buy anything digital, I would suggest you go here, simplyinkjet.com and contact them for low cost 4/c inkjet printing equipment using print engine with up 1600 x 1600 dpi.

Hi Guys,

Looking for advice from experienced printers.

I have a large format printing business in Manchester, UK which has been established for over 10 years and part of our growth plan, we have decided to print on paper, to offer our existing customer add on products.

We serve over 200-300 customers per day for large format print, as the most other product asked for is flyers and leaflets by our existing customers, we think its a good idea to make more revenue from each order.

We believe 20-25% customers will happily add short runs of 500-1000 A5 flyers to their orders, as an average, but also anticipate larger orders as we serve alot of restaurants and takeaways.

So if approx 50 customers a day ask for 500 A5 leaflets, which is 25,000 A5 flyers to get an idea of min production capacity to start off with, which digital print press would you recommend? and what other equipment would be required to run short print runs? I am thinking a guillotine would also be required.

Which machine would be a work horse for this setup? something very reliable with minimal down time? whats your experience?

I have a budget of around £10k-25k to set this up, would you recommend to lease the machine for operational purposes? or buy a used machine outright? would I face too many problems? and which option would be best to maximise profit margins?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. And any recommendation of vendors to buy the machines from will be a bonus, especially if they are based around the North West of the UK.

Many thanks in advance.
I forgot to mention they also can retrofit to existing presses. We are converting a Halm Jet 2 color press to 4 color without having to spending cost for whole new press.
 

PressWise

A 30-day Fix for Managed Chaos

As any print professional knows, printing can be managed chaos. Software that solves multiple problems and provides measurable and monetizable value has a direct impact on the bottom-line.

“We reduced order entry costs by about 40%.” Significant savings in a shop that turns about 500 jobs a month.


Learn how…….

   
Back
Top