Tip of the Week: Starting a Printing Business (Part II)

By Dave King, Digital Graphics

Starting a Digital Printing Business, Part II: equipment selection, space requirements, understanding the competition, marketing tips and more.

Welcome to Part II of our series on starting a large-format printing business. If you’re reading this, chances are Part 1 didn’t scare you away and you’re still interested. If you have not read the first installment, go to your coffee table and get the January 2008 issue of Digital Graphics magazine.

(Click Here if you want to read Part I of this two-part series)

This article won’t make much sense without Part I, where we examined the business plan, sales strategies, getting money, selecting a business name and the basic functions of starting a new business. Here we will discuss equipment selection options, shop space requirements, understanding the competition, marketing tips and thoughts on automating your operation. Let’s begin with the equipment.


In Part I of this series I proposed a budget of $45,000 for equipment purchases. Let’s break it down so it’s easy to make a better decision on the purchase of a new system.

One of the first things to decide is whether to buy a flatbed, a roll-to-roll, or a hybrid printer that does both. Then, choose whether to print with UV-curable inks or solvents. How wide should it be? What brand? What options are necessary? What’s the cost of running the printer? What are its limitations? Wow, if I knew all these answers, I’d be writing for magazines – oh yeah, I do!

It seems like everybody right now wants a UV-curing flatbed printer. Yes, flatbeds are very cool, and some are exactly the right choice. But remember that no single printer can do everything. Every system has its pluses and minuses. And I’ve never purchased a printer that didn’t need something else in order to make money with it.

(To read the rest of this article, Click Here)

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