Print still makes money. With the work of artists, photographers and local print shops, the print business continues to thrive. In fact, many in the industry are now beginning to use their homes to set up their very own print businesses – something which was too expensive to attempt a decade ago. If you’ve ever wanted to create your own home printing business, there’s never been a better time to start than with the help of our three-part guide!
If you read through our first part of this guide, then you’ll now know the first key steps of starting a printing business within your home (if you haven’t, then you can get yourself up to speed here). Once you’ve picked up some printing terms, created room spacing and researched into your niche, it’s time to start the practical work! Read on to learn why picking the correct equipment is crucial to your business and why sample print testing will be vital before gaining your first customers and clients.
Purchasing the Right Equipment
As the age old saying goes, a worker is only as good as the tools they use. This couldn’t be any more accurate than when deciding on the equipment you’ll be using for your home printing business. According to industry experts and many print freelancers, the most important pieces of equipment for a home printing business are:
- A design software suite or photo editing programme
- Some merchandise inventory (this could include plain t-shirts, blank vinyl signage etc. all the way down to simpler items such as paper and card)
- Cutting equipment
- A paper-based accounting system or computer-based accounting software
- A printer (arguably the most important piece of equipment required!)
Let’s break some of these down into simpler explanations:
If you are going to be designing print-based items for customer and clients, you’ll need to make sure you have the appropriate design software for the task at hand. Depending on the type of print you’ll be producing, you should pick the best software to suit the purpose. For designing business cards, documents and flyers, a simple desktop programme such as Scribus or Inkscape will be sufficient. However, for more complex design work such as t-shirt printing or creating custom graphics from scratch, consider subscribing to Adobe Creative Cloud – specifically Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator (which are included in the overall software package)
This is simply the stock for your business. Depending on the print niche you’ll be following, you’ll need to ensure you have ample stock of any t-shirts, signage or paper you’ll be printing onto. The Find My Supplies website contains a wide range of printing paper perfect for producing photos and other design work onto, whilst other printable merchandise is readily available from most clothing companies or retailers.
The type of cutting equipment you’ll need to use for your business is once again dependant on the type of print you’ll be creating. For business cards and other paper-based designs, a hydraulic cutter or hand operated cutter is generally advisable. Whilst this can be initially costly, they are likely to last a much longer amount of time than you would expect. If you’ve chosen to create a printing business that specialises in custom signage, then it’s wise to invest in a cutter capable of cutting out graphics and lettering from vinyl.
The crux of your printing business. Purchase a poor quality printer unit and you can expect to produce poor quality prints as a result. For high quality photo printing, there are some great options available from Find My Supplies, including a selection of HP Inkjet printers capable of creating impressive results no matter the task at hand. For keeping track of your business outgoings, such as keeping tabs on your costs and pricing structure, be sure to take advantage of a Laser printer to help keep your paperwork in check.
Once you’ve kitted yourself out with the equipment that will be instrumental in driving your new printing business forward, it’s time to get to work on creating and evaluating some test print outs!
Testing your Prints
This is arguably the most important step in setting up your business printing once all your equipment has been purchased and paid for. If you want to make an instant impact and the right impression on prospective customers and clients, then your print quality needs to live up to the hype. Start by printing out a test page from your computer in order to monitor ink levels, printing speed and initial print quality – a guide on how to do this is located here. If your test page looks up to par, then the next step is to print two versions of a design onto paper or a piece of your inventory. Print the design in both monochrome (black & white) and full colour. Once the print has completed, start considering these key questions:
- Is the print faded? Do some of the colours look washed out?
- Are the dimensions correct? Does the image/text look visibly stretched?
- Does the design fit within the bleed area? Is it correctly centred?
- Have you set the correct print resolution? Does the image look blurry or pixelated?
If you are confident that you have covered all these points and are happy with how your sample print looks, then you are ready to start producing regular print designs. Otherwise, if you experience any of the issues listed above, then make the necessary tweaks within the design software you’ve chosen to use and keep trying until you get the best possible result.
Keep an eye out for the final part of our guide later this week where we’ll cover how to effectively market and promote your new business to generate customers!
Northlight Images – Printer Test Images: Colour and black and white images to test printers