Operating a printing business requires few specialized pieces of equipment, and can be operated as a home-based, storefront or Internet business. Printing businesses can be specialized and cater to different needs. Types of printing businesses include vinyl sign printing, screen-printing T-shirts, printing of business cards, brochures and documents, election ballots. Know what type of printing you want to specialize in and plan accordingly.
Probably the most important investment you can make for your printing business is the printer. The type of printing you plan on performing will dictate the type of printer you need. Basic printers are divided into inkjet, laser, screen and offset. If you are wanting to print vinyl signs, you may want an extra-wide sign and label inkjet printer. If you are printing business cards, it may be better to select a laser printer while an offset press will lower your costs if you are printing a large volume of high-quality documents. A screen printer is necessary if you plan on printing to fabrics, such as shirts.
To design print items for clients, you will need a design software and a computer that can run it. Your choice of software and computer will depend on the type of printing that you intend on specializing in. Your options can range from simple desktop programs—good for designing business cards and documents—to high-end specialized design programs—for drawing graphics. Whichever program you choose, make sure your computer can run it smoothly. Also make sure it comes with a wide variety of fonts. Customers may be picky on their font and it can lose you customers if you have a limited selection.
You need something to print on, whether it be document printing, T-shirt screen printing, vinyl signs, business cards or any assortment of items. You must have enough inventory on hand, and enough variety, to meet customers’ needs. For instance, if you are printing business cards, you should have enough variety of cardstock to allow customers to select the quality and texture they are seeking.
You will need to have a cutting system. If you are printing business cards, you will need a hydraulic cutter or a hand-operated cutter to cut the cards. If you are printing vinyl signs, you will need a cutter that can cut out letters and graphics from adhesive-backed vinyl.
Whether you are running a business from home or from an office, you need to keep track of your sales, track expenses and inventory as well as make accurate quotes. To do this you will need an accounting software program. If you choose to operate over the Internet, you should pick software that can integrate with a website, allowing you to take orders online.