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How to Start a Printing Business

by Administrator

According to the U .S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most printing business enterprises employ fewer than 10 people. As more printing business owners utilize digital printing equipment, fewer skilled technicians will be needed to operate this machinery. Modern digital printing equipment is smaller and more affordable than ever before and practically anyone with capital can purchase and operate digital printing equipment, even from a home office.

Part 1. Finding a Printing Niche

1. Find a niche within the printing industry. The most successful printing entrepreneurs start a printing business by finding a niche in a specialized area, such as digital printing. Instead of trying to be all things to all people, success is more attainable by targeting a need and fulfilling it.

  • One of the best examples of this strategy can be seen by the success of franchise sign printing businesses, which target budget-minded business owners who only need occasional signs and banners, which can be spotty (inconsistent demand) or loaded with competition. They do not attempt to offer anything but quick-turnaround signs and leave brochures and envelope printing to traditional offset printing businesses.

2. Familiarize yourself with the business standards. Realize that the niche for color printing and the better quality grade of printing may be in a certain number of dots per inch (DPI), which can be very demanding and tricky to match.

3. Be careful with your words. Remember, as a business owner, you will be responsible for the timely completion of jobs to your customer’s satisfaction. Caution: Any verbal or written agreement like You [the printer] know what looks right, so you can okay the proofs for color and quality is loaded with the danger of customer rejecting the finished product. For example, they may require:

  • Product match, excellent quality – very precise color, hue, and tone for high end products.
  • Color match, excellent quality – usually precise Process Matching System (PMS Colors) by screen values (tones created by dot sizes) of the 4 process colors (cyan, magenta, process yellow, and black).
  • Or just pleasing color, of medium quality – which is not so precisely matched. Caution: that means pleasing to the customer, not to you.
  • Commercial quality printing is probably a cut above desktop publishing, done in your-office (above typical office printer, copier, or duplicator quality). It requires sharp line art and text – fineness of line work does not vary from page to page, screen color or halftone detail is consistent.
  • Any choice of printing process (or brand of paper) shown on a quote to your customer is for them to choose. No, you can not substitute a more profitable method or material. Unless they agree in writing to a change, they can demand that it be redone at your expense -- if you did not follow written specifications precisely.
Part 2. Determining What Equipment You’ll Need

1. Research the competition and their equipment. Once you find out who your target market is, research the printing businesses who are currently attempting to fulfill the needs of this audience. Visit these printing businesses' websites and learn all you can about them to find out what services they are lacking. Draft plans to start your printing business by researching ways you can offer those badly-needed services and improve upon the printing business as a whole within your specific niche.

2. Research available printing equipment from manufacturers. Once you determine what your competitors are using in their printing businesses, start looking to purchase your own printing equipment. You’ll need to find the highest quality, yet still affordable, equipment for your niche. The wrong equipment can make or break your business.

  • At the very least, you’ll need a desktop computer, some design software, and a high-quality digital printer that is able to handle jobs up to 11in x 17in.

3. Research and obtain any necessary approval or documentation. This includes any licenses, certifications, permits such as a state sales tax permit (in the USA, under the United States Constitution guarantee of "freedom of the press" -- printers, printing companies, writers, editors and publishers can not be required to be licensed to be able to perform such work or services). You will need fire department certificates, fire extinguishers and other safety equipment, safety procedures, safety rated chemicals, zoning, building use and occupancy permits and other items required for your specific operating location. Even if you start a home-based printing business, you will likely need some kind of permit or license from your particular national, state and local governments. Call or meet with your local economic development agency to find out where to go next.

  • You should familiarize yourself with Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requirements, including their and other agencies such as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) “postings” (required posters about safety and employment opportunity, etc.).
  • Record keeping, tax withholding, reporting, and paying taxes and social security quarterly for employees (including part-time) are necessary.
    • If you only use independent, outside printing contractors to do occasional printing that you cannot do personally, then you could be a "printing broker" (non-affiliated, wholesaler) and not have employees.

4. Secure funding. Starting a new printing business will take several thousand dollars in capital. If you cannot finance this equipment on your own, contact your chamber of commerce to learn who can help you apply for a small business loan.

  • After you become established and have enough credit and show volume and potential, you might be able to lease equipment, which can bring flexibility, but leases may have penalties and balloon notes, etc. to return or to keep the item, respectively.
Part 3. Offering Profitable Services

1. Choose a business location. To start a profitable printing business, you’ll need to choose a location that works for you. Look for a place that is within your budget and that is easily accessible so customers will be able to find you with ease. You don’t want anything to deter you from getting clients, and choosing a good location is a big part of that.

  • You can look at locations online via realtor websites or hire a realtor to help you find the perfect location for your new printing business.

2. Turn printed items into products by creating a menu of what you offer. When it comes to printing, most business owners don't know exactly what they need. A food manufacturer might think they need a traditional vinyl banner for an event but they don't understand the pitfalls of using it in various scenarios. What they really need is a portable tabletop sign that can be utilized at events, sales meetings, and other public awareness activities. The more your customers understand what a product can do, the happier they will be with the finished product.

3. Offer value-added services. These are items that enhance your finished pieces within your niche, such as brochure holders. Printed brochures need something that can display them properly. If you are able to sell brochure holders along with your print job, your customer just might thank you for saving them the effort of looking for a display by purchasing one.

4. Promote your new print shop. Once you start a digital printing business, you need to get the word out to bring in sales. Join your local chamber of commerce, sponsor community events, and advertise in the local newspaper. Don't forget to promote yourself online by building an effective website, participating in industry forum discussions, and taking steps to distinguish yourself from local and worldwide competition.


  • Plan to outsource complimentary services you cannot do in-house. If you can print business cards but lack a good paper cutter, establish relationships with a local print shop who has one. Instead of competing with one another for business, learn how to work together to partner on jobs and create more prosperity for both printing businesses.

How to Print Brochures

by Administrator

Once you’ve spent hours (or even days!) creating the perfect brochure, your next step is to print it. There are a variety of ways you can print brochures: printing them on your own computer, sending the file to a local printer, or emailing or uploading the file to an online printer’s Web site.

1. Make sure you have enough ink. If you’re printing the brochures on your own computer, be sure you have enough ink and paper stock. Brochures should be printed on a slightly thick paper stock than regular copy paper.

How to Print Brochures v1

2. Open your brochure document.

How to Print Brochures v2

3. Go to File – Print and click on the Properties tab or button. Set the Quality/Speed option to the “Best” option so that your brochure prints with full ink coverage. The faster the speed, the less ink coverage you’ll have.

How to Print Brochures v3

4. Check your page layout to be sure you’re printing in Landscape mode. Also check your print layout to make sure you’re printing in Landscape mode.

How to Print Brochures v4

5. Go to the Duplexing tab and click on the “two-sided” box or “duplex” option. Duplexing means printing on both sides of the paper. If you have the option, click on a “Side Flip” duplex.

How to Print Brochures v5


6. Click OK until you get back to the main Print dialog box. Click OK to print one brochure. If you’ve got a desktop inkjet printer, you’ll need to manually turn the paper over to print the back of the brochure. If you’ve got a commercial printer, the Duplexing option you chose should take care of this for you.

How to Print Brochures v6

7. Check your brochure to ensure that it printed properly. Fold it as needed to make sure the text in the panels are correct (e.g., the back panel text is on the back panel).

How to Print Brochures v6

8. If your brochure printed properly, go back to the Print dialog box and insert the number of brochures you need. You shouldn’t have to redo steps 3 through 5 unless you close out of the document before you’re done printing.

How to Print Brochures v8

9. If you’ve decided to get your brochures professionally printed, call around to local printers to compare prices and turnaround times. Also check with online printers to compare prices with the local printers. Online printers can be cheaper than local printers because they have less overhead, but if you need your brochure in less than 24 hours, you’ll need to have a local printer print them.

How to Print Brochures v9

10. Once you’ve found a printer, you’ll need to email your brochure file to them. Be sure to ask what kind of file is preferred and/or accepted – QuarkXPress, PDF, JPEG, Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe InDesign,Word etc. Some printers only accept certain file formats.

  • Instead of emailing, you may have to upload your brochure file. Most printers’ Web sites can accept document uploads in much larger sizes than your email account can email attachments. Ask your printer which option is preferred, and use that option.

How to Print Brochures v10


  • When you work with a printer, you should either get a PDF proof or a hard copy proof, depending on your timeline. A proof is a sample file or printout of what your final version of your brochure will look like. PDFs can be emailed to you within a day while hard copy proofs can take a few days to print and mail. Check over the proof carefully to be sure that the colors are correct and that the design elements of your brochure are where you want them. Be sure to proofread the proof as well – once you sign off on it, you bear the responsibility for any typos or color corrections that need to be made.

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