How to start your own printing business

What do you need to set up a printing business?Many people dream of starting their own business, and a commercial printing business can be a great option for entrepreneurs who are passionate about communication and design. There are a few key things to keep in mind when starting a commercial printing business.

First, it is important to have a clear understanding of the printing process and the equipment required. Second, it is necessary to build strong relationships with paper suppliers and other vendors.

Finally, it is essential to create a marketing plan that will attract potential customers. With careful planning and execution, starting a commercial printing business can be a rewarding experience

If you are looking to establish yourself as a commercial printer, you should have some experience in both traditional and digital printing methods. Here are some tips to help you get started. 

What do you need to set up a printing business?

Before you can start printing business cards, flyers, and brochures, you need to invest in the right equipment. A quality printer is essential, and you’ll also need to purchase paper, ink, and other supplies.

In addition, you’ll need to invest in a computer and design software so that you can create high-quality print materials. Once you have the necessary equipment, you’ll need to find a reliable supplier of print materials.

You should also consider investing in a mailing list so that you can reach your target market. With the right equipment and supplies, you can easily set up a printing business that will help you promote your products or services.

Starting a printing business can be a great way to tap into a growing industry while also providing a valuable service to your community. However, there are a few things you’ll need to get the business up and running.

First, you’ll need to invest in some quality printing equipment. This can be anything from a desktop printer to a more commercial-grade press. Next, you’ll need to stock up on supplies like paper, ink, and toner.

And finally, you’ll need to create some marketing materials to let people know about your business. With a little investment and some hard work, you can soon have your very own printing business up and running.

Most printing businesses initially subcontract out work until there is an adequate amount of revenue flowing into the business.

Estimating demand

In order to successfully offer printing services, you need to know if there is a demand for them. If there isn’t a need for your business venture, then it will never succeed.

Your advertising campaigns will be most effective if you target a local market. For instance, there will be dozens of businesses nearby who will need printing services regularly if your work is in a town or city. Also, local authorities, colleges, and other organizations may be able to put you to work. A reliable printer is often the first choice for graphic design companies looking to build up a long-term relationship.

Make some samples of your work, along with a price list, and advertise your new business and your services to as many businesses as possible. It will be important to demonstrate to them that you are a superior service provider to those who are already working with a printing firm. Digital printing equipment, for instance, may allow you to offer short runs economically and fulfil orders quickly.

Additionally, you might consider contacting businesses that provide assistance to start-ups – for example, accounting firms – so that they pass your details onto new businesses that require letterheads and other stationery.

What is digital printing technology?

Digital printing technology has revolutionized the printing industry, providing a more efficient and cost-effective way to produce high-quality prints. Using digital files instead of traditional printing plates, digital printers can print directly onto a variety of substrates, including paper, vinyl, fabric, and even wood.

This print-on-demand capability means that businesses can produce prints in smaller quantities and without the need for costly setup fees. In addition, digital printing technology provides a greater range of color options and can even reproduce photographs with accuracy.

As a result, digital printing has become the preferred choice for businesses that need high-quality prints in a hurry.

What equipment do you need for a print shop?

In addition to printing for business purposes, individuals want to print for personal reasons, for instance, for invitations to weddings, for function tickets, for raffle tickets, and so forth. You will need to locate your business in an area that receives a lot of passing trade if you hope to attract this type of customer.

Besides website design and creation, consider offering other services to customers, like database management.

If you want your business to be profitable, you need to persuade your clients to choose you over your competition because of the excellent service, reliability and quality you provide. You might highlight the sustainable nature of your papers.

You may want to discuss the following with your prospective customers when you are demonstrating your samples:

  • Minimum order quantity or value (if applicable)
  • Determine what their needs are – this will allow you to find trade printers or finishers who can handle work that you may not be able to handle in-house
  • How often they will need printing services
  • The timeline for completing the order
  • If a delivery service would be welcomed

Alternatively, you could ask them:

  • How they feel about your proposed services
  • How they feel about your pricing and terms
  • Are there any suggestions they have for improving the service you have described to them?

You can identify the following through your market research:

  • How likely it is that your printing services will be in demand
  • How much people are willing to pay for printed materials
  • The average order value

Consider how many customers you are likely to have and how much each customer will spend every time they order.

Your market

Based on the market segment you plan to target and the services you intend to offer, you will determine your customer base. For instance:

  • Small businesses and non-profits
  • Outsource printing work to other printers
  • Designers of graphic materials
  • The general public

You may have customers from all over the country if you offer web-to-print services.

Payment method

You will likely receive payment by cheque, credit or debit card from most of your customers, but you might also get BACS payments if you supply a major customer on a regular basis.

It’s important to keep on top of late payments as the print industry is known as a slow payer.

If you perform work for the public, you may receive some payment in cash. If you deal with cash regularly, you should ensure that your security systems are in place.

For web-to-print services, you’ll need either a merchant account online that accepts cards, or you’ll need a third-party company that processes the payments on your behalf.

If you are offering commercial terms for your series and products, it maybe worth looking into different types of printing finance.

Special offers and discounts

Due to the competitive nature of the printing industry, you should be aware that your larger customers will often ask for substantial discounts in exchange for volume purchases and regular orders. You may be expected to offer free finishing services in exchange for volume purchases. In cases where you have long-term contracts, it’s vital to monitor your costs periodically to ensure that you aren’t losing your profit margin to wage increases, energy costs, and raw materials prices.

Throughout economic downturns, major clients may also insist on longer credit terms – such as 60 days instead of 30 days.

Customer service

The importance of providing superb customer service to clients has been highlighted in recent research. It is important for print buyers to have a printer who takes an interest in their business and is there to assist them with the process. BPIF Vision in Print provides a number of Best Practice studies that can help you to identify ways in which your company can improve its service.

You can benefit from having this information on the paper products you print for your customers if you have achieved Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain of Custody Certification by using paper from well-managed sources. You and they both benefit from this. Visit the FSC website for more information.

Which printing services

There are numerous sub-sectors within the printing industry, and firms generally specialize in a particular sector, such as book or journal printing, carton printing, packaging work, or provide all types of general printing services that are commonly needed by businesses and local organizations. Letterheads, invoices, compliments slips, business cards, brochures, tickets, and double or triple NCR pads are all part of the services we provide.

Thousands of businesses – like eBay and Amazon Pro traders – are selling goods online. Don’t overlook them. A variety of pre-printed mailboxes in different sizes might be of interest to this type of business. Purchasing or leasing the appropriate machinery begins with determining the type of work that you will accept.


There are many small printing companies that outsource jobs or parts of jobs to other, specialist companies, since they lack the resources, skills, or machinery to complete them. Many finishing jobs such as stitching, binding, folding, and so forth, can be outsourced to subcontractors, such as graphic design, complex four-color jobs for weddings, and many other jobs.

In order to be able to rely on firms to complete work to a high standard and on time, you should establish a good working relationship with them before outsourcing any work. To make some profit per job, you also need their charges to be reasonable.

Quality standards

It is important to know that no matter what type of printing services you offer, this industry is highly competitive, and your clients will expect high standards, low prices, and fast turnaround times. If you produce jobs that are late, contain errors, are poorly printed or are carelessly packaged, you are unlikely to retain customers.

A first class service

As a printing business there is fierce competition, so it is important to provide your customers with a first-class service as well as top quality printing. The company might offer to store bulky print jobs and to deliver as much as the customer needs periodically.

Make sure your customers’ stocks of essential business stationery are not running out every few months. This tactic will keep your business in contact with them, while also helping you to avoid the last-minute panic that puts you under pressure when businesses realise that they are running low on supplies. Identify ways to use the internet so that you and your customers can make things easier and more efficient.

It is important to be proactive with your customers and to establish when and how they want goods delivered from the outset. You must then make it a priority to ensure that you meet their requirements after you have agreed with them.

Advertising your services

Your customers need to know about you no matter what type of service you provide.

To promote your business, you can do the following:

  • Mailing and sending samples to local businesses and organisations
  • Distribute leaflets to any organisations or firms (such as accountancy practices) that advise new business start-ups. An introductory pack of basic business stationery might be worthwhile for new businesses that require some printing
  • Place advertisements in local newspapers, trade journals, yearbooks, etc.
  • Announce your launch to any local associations, possibly with an introductory offer
  • Sponsor local events
  • Establish your own website – make sure you highlight the fact that you use recycled paper or responsibly sourced paper
  • Use social media to inform customers about special offers and show examples of recent projects
  • Use telemarketing to contact potential customers
  • Send Christmas calendars to customers (and potential customers)

Buy an existing business

Instead of starting your own business from scratch, you might decide to buy an existing printing company. A going concern can be a business that already has customers, a regular sales stream, staff, equipment, and a premises.

Additionally, look at the condition of the premises, presses, and equipment. Considering the move to digital printing, it is important to pay particular attention to the printing presses and finishing equipment – remember that traditional finishing equipment may not be able to handle digitally printed items.

If you don’t have the right skills and experience on your team, including legal and financial expertise, buying a business can be a hazardous, expensive process. To ensure a reasonable price for the business, establish the real trading and financial position of the business.


In conclusion, embarking on the journey of starting a printing business can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor. As the demand for printed materials continues to persist across various industries, there are ample opportunities for entrepreneurs to carve a niche and thrive in this competitive market.

However, success in the printing industry requires careful planning, investment in high-quality equipment, and a commitment to delivering exceptional customer service. By leveraging creativity, innovation, and adaptability, aspiring printing business owners can not only meet the diverse needs of their clients but also stay ahead of technological advancements and changing market trends.

As with any venture, perseverance and dedication are key to building a thriving printing business that leaves a lasting impression on customers and fosters long-term growth and profitability.

With the right blend of vision and strategic execution, entrepreneurs can transform their passion for printing into a flourishing start-up enterprise that contributes significantly to the visual communication needs of businesses and individuals alike.

Business Finance specialist at Invoice funding | + posts

Seasoned professional with a strong passion for the world of business finance. With over twenty years of dedicated experience in the field, my journey into the world of business finance began with a relentless curiosity for understanding the intricate workings of financial systems.

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