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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    In America

    Start Up Expenses for starting a Digital Print Business?

    Hello, an associate and I are working on a Start-Up Expense business plan for starting a short run digital print business. I am a designer and have had very abundant requests for short run digital print orders over the last couple of years but have had to refer all of my designs to 3rd parties.

    I would plan on leasing a space,
    How much square footage OR what type of space would be necessary to acomodate a digital printer (i.e. Heidelberg Quickmaster or similar).
    (garage, warehouse, office space?)

    What would be the average annual utility for running the machine?

    How much should I expect to spend for a digital printer such as a Heidelberg QuickMaster QMDI 46 or equivalent? Feel free to give me some advice on printer options

    Also how much would it cost to run a machine similar to the QMDI 46-4 per month/annually? (Example: materials, inks, parts, labor, insurance)

    Are there any type of city permits/fees that are associated with starting this type of business?

    If I hire a Press Technician to operate how much would be his/her average annual compensation be?

    Sorry for all the questions Im really a newbie but I am genuinely passionate about starting this business.

    ANY help or advice you can offer will be appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    I think a better solution would be to find a trade printer, if you have lots of work I'm sure that they would provide you with a very nice price and despatch goods with your paperwork etc.

    I would of thought you would be able to get a 20% discount from the printers then add the 20%, and submit to your customer that way the price should be ok you don't have to worry about making the stuff and all the costs that go with running a production facility.

    This is definitely something I could sort out for you if your based in the UK.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    I agree with Tom, at least for the initial phase. As a commercial printer, I can tell you that just having the printing device is only a small part of the equation. For example, finishing equipment is essential as well. You probably have a supply of front end computers, so that is likely not a big concern. The type of products you plan to provide would dictate the type of finishing equipment you would need. A cutter is going to be essential, and probably having a method for scoring cover stock for folded cards is going to be high up on the scale. You have to be able to produce basic products in house to avoid turnaround issues and the task of shipping small jobs around town to have them completed. Beyond that, booklet makers.. ie saddle stitcher, perfect binding, Wiro Binding would come into play. You could likely send perfect binding and wiro binding to a trade bindery, but having the ability to at least fold an invitation or greeting card without cracking is pretty essential. On top of that, the type of digital printing device you select may have other implications. A QMDI will likely force you to have a proofing device, as plates need to be imaged. Running a hard proof from that device is a costly endeavour. The DI presses are great for the longer run spectrum of the digital market. Xerox and HP may be better choices for short run scenarios. They all have their pros and cons. We have an assortment of machines from a 40" 6 colour to an HP Indigo, with smaller conventional presses in between. Having people with skill set to deal with the variety of product requests is most likely the most important factor. The amount of knowledge your company has as a print supplier will become evident to your clients in short order.

    I our corner of the world, I believe the market is over supplied. If you can start out by designing and managing print projects through a trade shop or two, you can probably earn a reasonable price structure and end up with a better margin than you would if you produced in house. To justify the physical entity of a print shop, you will need steady revenue and lots of it. If that is your goal, you could grow into it, or perhaps purchase an established entity.

    Wait a sec... I may have something for you in that regard... Ha Ha!

    I am happy to help with any other questions you may have.

    Good Luck

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Winnipeg, Manitoba

    There are many printers out there in need of work and have the equipment to finish the job. If you early want to be a printer I would suggest you need a easy $300k to $400 to start-up an DI shop with the basics and you will need 3 phase power and at 3000 sq ft with a loading dock. An operator that knows everything from the press to the shipping will need to pay that person $22-$26 per hour or you end up with someone that won't make the grade and you will be doing alot of reprints, very costly.
    Good luck

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