Have you been looking for how to start a profitable printing press business on a low budget? I have worked in about 2 printing firms over the years and having risen to become a manager at one, I assure you there is this big potential to make some good money in it – if done well.
There are a lot of misconceptions about the printing business in the Nigerian printing ecosystem that one needs to understand before launching into the deep and tricky waters of printing business.
How much does it cost to start a printing business? We will definitely get there but first, let us take a look at a few important things.
Guaranteed, it is a capital intensive business, meaning that it requires a lot of money to maintain but when over-head cost is drastically reduced and optimum use of staff and equipment is implemented, you should be on your way to the bank for good.
But how do I start a profitable printing business on a low budget? First, understand that a printing press or a printshop is simply a shop where printing activities are carried out; it could be a kiosk or a mansion (like Vigan Press had in Umuahia Abia State, Nigeria those days I rose from an intern earning
N5,000 to a very important staff member), either ways, getting the job done is what really matters!
Quickly, let us consider a few things that would lead us into starting a low budget printing business in Nigeria.
Understand The Market Standard For A Printing Press Business
Digital printing in Nigeria is a wide niche. Every business has a market, call it a standard. The printing press business in Nigeria is not a structured one and as such, anybody can rise and control the pricing system without apologies. This is why you should take a deep look into the system to understand the standard pricing system before you kick in. Standard market price
- Standard market price
The popular notion of “the higher the quantity, the lower the price” holds true but not in all cases. I see clients come to BONELHAM ( a Port Harcourt based Printing Press I manage for now) to argue about the relationship between quantity and price without a deep knowledge of it and so, if you as the intending business person do not understand this before you launch in, that may be your first bait to failure.
For instance, the standard industry price for flyer is between
N30 to N40 (quantity dependent). You must understand for a fact how much you would be making from each flyer so you can adjust YOUR price accordingly.
From critical study, it costs about
N15 to print an A3 Art Paper (which contains 4 flyers). This means that it would cost you less than N10 to print one flyer giving you above %100 profit.
Understanding the standard market price for Flex banner, Flyer, Souvenir, Product Packaging and other printables IN YOUR AREA would be a life saver for you if you must succeed.
- Cheapest place to buy materials
One of the biggest challenges in the printing industry is over-head cost. In order to run a profitable print business, it is of a great importance to find out or yourself where to get your printing materials at the cheapest prices while looking out for quality.
If your competitors buy a roll of flex material at
N48,000 and you buy at N50,000, it means that you are already on the losing side of the business and by the time you buy inks and toners and the likes, you profit margin is diminishing gradually.
Get quality materials at the cheapest prices they are sold for in the market, it is of a very great importance.
- Third party jobs
You are looking at starting a printing business on a low budget. It is key to have a sort of partnership with another firm. This guarantees that you would be able to execute some of the jobs you do not do in-house for lack of machineries. It is profitable because you actually don’t do anything other than receiving the job and CODEDLY outsourcing it to a third-party press who does the job and you take credit for it. This is how those printing freelancers operate.
Figure Out Your Market
I know for sure that every market is not your market, every customer is not your customer. Figure out who you can serve with the little equipment you have and focus primarily on them. You can do other jobs but let your primary customer be the ones that puts your machines to good use.
If you have a Direct image (D.I) Machine for D.I Printing, you should focus on the jobs that put it to good use, this keeps your staff (if any) to optimal use and rakes in more profit for you. Large Format Machines used for printing product packaging materials is also a big catch if you can afford it.
There are several ways to reach your printing market. Explore every option in your reach, after all, your job is to sell your services. I have used campaigns, flyers and even Instagram as marketing tools. You should explore all options!
What Machines You Need To Start A Printing Press Business
This is where your low budget kicks in. how much do you have? What machines can you afford outside rent? Below are a list of low budget machines you would need to start
- Di-cutting Machine
- Stitching Machine
- D.I machine
The most expensive in the above list is the Direct Image (D.I) Machine with the most affordable sold for about
N180,000 (or more). How much do you have? You can actually start a printing business without any machines and while you grow, you start buying little by little. The key is in finding out how much you have and how to put it to good use.
A 10 feet Large Format Machine is sold for above a million if you have it. How about the price of Kord machine? Your budget speaks for itself. I manage a press that was started with millions but that does not mean I cannot start one with 500k.
Budget varies! Reach me let us look at your budget and decide what machine it can help you start with.
Set Your Price
It is foolishness to engage in price war with other established firms simply because you want to attract and keep customers. I understand that place because I have been there but from experience, I have gathered that wisdom demands you do what works for you at the location you are.
You must not print flex for
N55 because everybody is printing that amount. Consider your location and decide what works (reasonably). Let you price be competitive but not to your own detriment. Maximize your profit center so much that you are known for it.
Can you go alone?
It is very important that you consider this before you even start. Can you run it alone for a start? Is it so big that you need a start at kickoff? Because you are starting small, I would advise you employ a person or two that knows how to do more than one thing.
For instance, a graphic designer that can use the D.I Machine, a Large Format Operator that can export work to the machine or handle the Heat Transfer Machine. This makes it easier for you to start with a slim staff strength while you expand.
Always Reduce Overhead Cost
Avoid unnecessary expenses. Avoid starting off on a wrong foot with no implementable growth plan. Over-head costs are those costs that does not bring anything in return, avoid them as much as you can. Try your best to reduce errors to the minimum.
With so much error, materials are wasted and client jobs are reprinted, that is not good for your infant business. I have lost so much money and clients for just one simple avoidable error. I have made silly typo mistakes in jobs (like “May she have a painful rest”) that costs thousands to fix, you don’t want that!
Be well versed in giving quotations such that it is not too high for a client to run away and not too low for your business to sink. When you make mistakes in quotations, clients do not always understand and would capitalize on it to punish you.
Never make the mistake of assuming that it costs the same amount to print 1000 A3 paper and 1001 A3 Paper on a Kord Machine. Since it is more than 1000, the price doubles! Learn well.
What Pro Printing Press Business Owners Do Well
They collaborate effectively!
Sometimes, your machine may be faulty and you must deliver a job. If you do not collaborate effectively, you cannot print it at their offices cheaper than the regular customer would. Collaborate effectively!
They maximize profit and expand cautiously. You should not rush into acquiring a new machine without having a market ready for it.
Let us go over it all again.
- Understand the printing ecosystem in your area
- Figure out who your market/customer is
- What machines can you afford?
- Will you employ?
- Collaborate and grow cautiously.
What do you think? Do you agree or have an objection? I would like to hear from you in the comment section. I reply every comment!