small print shop services?

YourCastle

Well-known member
hi all!

I joined my company two months ago and finally got it all running smoothly -- i had to make small adjustments, eg. hot folder tweaks, color consistency, duplo feeding well, etc.

I want to offer more services to my team, but the only thing I can think of that wasn't offered previously was variable data, so I thought I'd see if any of y'all offer a unique or interesting products that i could add?

We have xerox v80, v180, finishing/booklet maker in-line and duplo dc-616. I was hesitant on offering variable until I got my duplo to stop jamming.

Thanks for any ideas on some unique marketing print pieces that I can offer my real estate agents! We have about 700, but only about 100 use our services, so I want to try to encourage more of them as I only have about five hours worth of work per day.


My next project is to make envelope printing consistent. At my previous shop, we had ricoh 7100s and xante impressa and I never enjoyed envelopes. So help me procrastinate on envelopes :)
 

YourCastle

Well-known member
We have xerox...
i forgot, we also have a canon TA-20 "large" format printer. It can do roll feed of 24" wide, so I was thinking of offering banner printing, something like 72"x24" banners.

Anyone have a Canon TA-20? (mine is used on a few hours a week)

Ever do "large" format on the small poster maker? I'd hate to invest in the items (substrates, coroplast/aluminum, tools) to do banners, yard signs, A-frames, if it won't work well... especially since we already out-source it. But I'd like to do more in-house, if possible.
 

Craig

Well-known member
So the envelope printers are all based on print quantity and how much you are willing to spend. iJet has some nice products and we have the 1175 Pro with the HP heads. Works like a champ, cost is +$60,000.

The wide format is going to be a challenge. The Canon is an aqueous printer and will have a high cost for printing. You'll also need aqueous coated materials to print on and they cost more. Now it will be enough to get started, but if you get something going be ready to look at an ecosolvent or latex printer.
 

Lorenzo lab guy

Well-known member
You have about 80% of what you need to be a photo services provider, assuming the Canon printer can provide photo quality. You can offer customized photo greeting cards and related products. A couple of points:
You need to willing to be "retail" to do this. Small, but high margin orders. You need front end ordering systems that let consumers place orders from the web, media cards and mobile devices. Systems from Dakis or Photo Finale would accomplish that - photo oriented. Your entry into this type of market would be eased by joining the cooperative association that I have belonged to for about 15 years. IPI Member Network .
 

YourCastle

Well-known member
So the envelope printers are all based on print quantity and how much you are willing to spend. iJet has some nice products and we have the 1175 Pro with the HP heads. Works like a champ, cost is +$60,000.

The wide format is going to be a challenge. The Canon is an aqueous printer and will have a high cost for printing. You'll also need aqueous coated materials to print on and they cost more. Now it will be enough to get started, but if you get something going be ready to look at an ecosolvent or latex printer.
thanks! I'm hoping to expand services by first using only the hardware that we currently have as my v80/180 run maybe 50% of the time and my poster printer maybe 10%.
 

YourCastle

Well-known member
You have about 80% of what you need to be a photo services provider, assuming the Canon printer can provide photo quality. You can offer customized photo greeting cards and related products. A couple of points:
You need to willing to be "retail" to do this. Small, but high margin orders. You need front end ordering systems that let consumers place orders from the web, media cards and mobile devices. Systems from Dakis or Photo Finale would accomplish that - photo oriented. Your entry into this type of market would be eased by joining the cooperative association that I have belonged to for about 15 years. IPI Member Network .
Thanks!

I print exclusively for our agents, so I'm unclear by what you mean by "retail". I don't sell outside. As for high margin, my dept is a Not Profit Center. We only charge our agents enough to cover total cost. As such, the agents understand there's no slick user interface, i often just receive emails from them.

IPI... is that like a group that share projects with each other internally when a company is too busy or has broken machines so they'll send it out to a "competitor" in order to complete the project? Something like a shared trade-vendor only partnership situation?

I have thought that I would eventually offer services to local print shops as a trade only vendor since my machines are not running as much as I'd like, but the idea of opening up to a consumers/retail is not on my radar. However, before going B2B, I want to expand just to my agents first.

Thanks for the IPI link, I'll continue digging...
 

jwheeler

Well-known member
I want to offer more services to my team, but the only thing I can think of that wasn't offered previously was variable data, so I thought I'd see if any of y'all offer a unique or interesting products that i could add?
I don't know what you're already offering but here are some ideas that come to mind that don't require much, if any, additional equipment:

  1. Scratch pads, AKA tear pads. Real estate agents love hand outs with their name and photo on them. These are easy to produce. You can even go a step further and adhere a magnet to the back so their clients can post it on the fridge. See this link for examples.
  2. You can provide dimensional objects such as boxes that hold treats or golf balls as fun hand outs. Blanks USA offers dozens of templates that come flat and you can run through your printers. Make sure you purchase the "Lift Off" version of the templates to make it much easier to punch out the perforation after printing.
  3. Setup an ASI Central account for promotional items. This will allow you to offer pens, keychains, coffee mugs and hundreds of other items with their name printed on them and you won't have to do any of the work in-house. ASI provides a platform where you can see all of the vendors that offer pens, etc in one spot and get quotes.
  4. Are you doing wide format? Printing their yard signs and open house signs is pretty easy with some minimal equipment. You can start off easy with just an eco-solvent printer and laminator, then eventually upgrade to a flatbed printer...or just start off with a hybrid that prints on roll or flatbed material.
  5. Consider adding dye sublimation printing in house. The printer and heat presses are low cost and don't take up much space. This will allow you to easily make coffee mugs, keychains, hats, shirts, mouse pads, bags, and many other items in house.
 

YourCastle

Well-known member
You can provide dimensional objects such as boxes that hold treats or golf balls as fun hand outs. Blanks USA offers dozens of templates that come flat and you can run through your printers. Make sure you purchase the "Lift Off" version of the templates to make it much easier to punch out the perforation after printing.
neat! That's new to me. Going to explore...

Are you doing wide format? Printing their yard signs and open house signs is pretty easy with some minimal equipment. You can start off easy with just an eco-solvent printer and laminator, then eventually upgrade to a flatbed printer...or just start off with a hybrid that prints on roll or flatbed material.
that's up next. My Canon TA-20 printer is roll fed 24". I have large format experience, so I can buy rolled adhesive and apply to coro. Also looking at banner material since 120"x24" banner is do-able and eye catching. I'll use banner-ups instead of grommets.

For banners, I have experience with Scrim, but not with Polypropylene. I want to experiment (as time allows) with poly since scrim is 3x the cost!

Do any of y'all have experience with poly vs scrim?
 

jwheeler

Well-known member
neat! That's new to me. Going to explore...


that's up next. My Canon TA-20 printer is roll fed 24". I have large format experience, so I can buy rolled adhesive and apply to coro. Also looking at banner material since 120"x24" banner is do-able and eye catching. I'll use banner-ups instead of grommets.

For banners, I have experience with Scrim, but not with Polypropylene. I want to experiment (as time allows) with poly since scrim is 3x the cost!

Do any of y'all have experience with poly vs scrim?
Both medias will work - but have different feels/applications. Just make sure you get the kind that is designed for your printer since you have pigment based inks.

However, I would not recommend using your printer for outdoor banners and signs. Pigment based ink fade after only a few months in the sun. You need eco-solvent, UV, or latex inks for outdoor.
 

YourCastle

Well-known member
Both medias will work - but have different feels/applications. Just make sure you get the kind that is designed for your printer since you have pigment based inks.

However, I would not recommend using your printer for outdoor banners and signs. Pigment based ink fade after only a few months in the sun. You need eco-solvent, UV, or latex inks for outdoor.
Thanks for your insights!

Both subs I'm referring to are made for our TA-20. Not sure why scrim is so much more expensive.

I'm okay with my agents using them outside as the idea for doing them internally is for them to be cheap and customized to the individual properties. If a property is on the market that long, there's a problem.

If they want durable, we already outsource, so just continue doing it through our vendor.

I want to go as cheap as possible for signage as I want to "push the envelope" and some HOAs will tell our agents to remove signs, so, cheap.
 

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