Opinions will often differ on the best way to run your print business and turn a profit but one aspect that will generate almost universal agreement, is the fact that you can probably expect to make a sizeable investment in equipment and supplies in order to be able to trade successfully.
From an envelope printer to design software, your equipment list may well be extensive to be able to offer your customers what they want, which is why you have to employ some savvy tactics to keep startup costs under control.
Targeted shopping list
The general description of running a print business doesn’t narrow down exactly what equipment you will need and your shopping list of equipment will be driven by what type of print services you intend to offer.
Printing is an extremely diverse field and you therefore need to decide what sort of printing services you will be offering your customers, as this will dictate what equipment you will need and create a targeted shopping list of what will be required.
Modern print shop
As a good example, here is a look at the basic equipment that you will need to buy or lease for a commercial print shop, so that you can offer the sort of print services that your customers will probably ask you for.
Computers and software
Modern print technology dictates that you need to invest in a good quality computer together with a scanner and a suitable graphic arts software package.
This will enable you to offer basic design and typesetting and although some might argue that graphic design is a specialized skill in itself, being able to offer an in-house design service at reasonable rates, will help you to win some customer on price alone.
If you take on a more demanding instruction that requires a more specialist approach, you can always contract the work out to a professional designer, but investing in computers and a good software package is a must in many modern print shops.
Look for some industry standard-setting graphic design and typesetting software like Adobe Creative Suite and Quark Express, for ease of use and also because you should hopefully be able to acquire these packages at a good price if you shop around.
Color copying capability
When you are first starting out, investing in a full-color offset printing press is going to prove prohibitively expensive and you always have the option of contracting work out to a wholesale color printer anyway.
A sensible low-cost alternative that makes sound business sense is a color copier. Having one in your shop will enable you to satisfy smaller volume customer orders and can create an opportunity for further work and increased volumes.
A good cutting system should be an integral part of your equipment list as you will regularly be required to cut things like sheets and business cards, so look at acquiring a hydraulic cutter, which will complete the tasks quickly and efficiently.
A successful print shop starts with having the right equipment to meet the demands you will face, so make sure you plan your list carefully and remember all of the essential items needed to trade efficiently and profitably.
Josephine Stuart has worked her way up to a senior role in a commercial printing organization. She likes to share her insights online and has already posted across a variety of relevant websites.