A printing business may not be the first idea that jumps to your mind when you are thinking of a new venture to start, but it’s definitely a promising one. The printing industry has evolved a lot in the last decade, but it’s still a type of business that doesn’t require specific training or a lot of expensive equipment.
Before we go on to discuss the steps of starting a printing press business, let’s establish what this venture actually is. A printing press business is a small business that allows you to produce all kinds of printed materials for your customers. These materials include flyers, leaflets, restaurant menus, visual aids, branding materials, souvenirs, T-shirts, mugs, and so on.
The range of potential customers is also virtually unlimited for a printing business. You can always work with individual customers who want to get a mug with their favourite image on it, but it goes without saying that you can get a bigger income and a steady flow of orders when you work with major customers: shops, companies, and even artists who produce their merch. Here are the steps to start your own printing press business.
1. Choose Your Niche
When starting a printing business from scratch, you cannot expect to cover every niche on a limited budget. You will need to pick up to three, although for most new businessmen, one or two niches is enough. The possible niches to choose from include:
- Screen printing
- Offset litho printing
- Large scale printing
- Sign printing
- Digital colour separation printing
Each of these niches requires its own type of equipment and some training to get successfull at it. So before you make any decisions, make sure to research the situation in your local market to see which services are in the highest demand. In fact, research is a crucial step of the whole process, especially if you’ve never worked in the printing business before. You need to familiarize yourself with different techniques, types of equipment, and what customers need from a printing company.
2. Register Your Venture
After you’ve made the decision to join the printing business as a newcomer, the next step you need to take is registering your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission. This should be done well before you receive your first order from a customer. Being registered at the CAC gives your customers a sense of your credibility and also helps you build a more trusted relationship with your suppliers.
3. Pick Your Business Type
A printing press business is often associated with high costs due to the printing equipment being fairly expensive. However, there is an easy way to cut costs, and that is to cooperate with a company that already has a printing press. That way, you can find customers, take their orders, have a graphic designer create the mockup, and then get it printed at your partner’s shop. However, while this is a more affordable way to join the printing industry, you will need to give a significant part of your income to your partner, so there is definitely a lot to consider.
4. Get A Location And Equipment
When you don’t actually own any heavy equipment, you can do your printing business from home. But if you plan to operate the equipment yourself, you will need a suitable location. Unlike grocery stores and kiosks, printing press shops don’t rely too much on foot traffic, but you will still need a location that is easily accessible and surrounded by potential customers. As for the equipment, the minimum setup includes:
- 201 Impression machine
- Kord machine
- Cutting machine
- Personal computers
- Office furniture
- Graphic software
5. Hire The Personnel
A small-scale printing press business can be started with just two individuals – or three if you plan to own some printing equipment. You will need a skilled graphic designer who can go from a customer’s idea to a ready-made print in a short period of time. You will also need an experienced machine operator who is used to working with complex and expensive equipment. As a small business owner, you can handle customer operations, accounting, and everyday management on your own.
6. Market Your Business
You may have the most brilliant idea, the most cutting-edge equipment, and the most skillful personnel, but without the customers, your business is doomed. A printing press business can only survive with a steady flow of orders, so you need to use all of your marketing knowledge to get your venture out there. Use all advertising channels, from social media to handing out flyers, to spread the word about your new business.