In the past, printing business was not very easy to start as it was mainly handled by those who were trained as printers, or by those who have printing presses with trained workers.
But in these days of computer technology, the business has become easier for more people, including those with very little income, to engage in.
With a small amount of money say, between Five Thousand Naira (N5,000.00) and Ten Thousand Naira (N10,000.00) a serious-minded person can start a printing business without owning an office. The address of one’s home or the address of a friend/relative’s office could be printed on one’s complementary card as a contact/business address.
Let us now discuss how to go about the business.
Background Knowledge and Arrangement
For one to do printing business as a non-printer, one needs the services of a graphic artist and a printing press operator. The graphic artist will be needed to do the graphic designs on whatever printing jobs are secured, while the printing press operator will be needed to run the sample-impressions as well as to do the final printing.
Starting Off on the Business
As a beginner without an office, one needs to make some self-advertisement by moving round various offices and firms to seek for printing business.
The search for printing business can be extended to schools (where some proprietors may give contract on the production of school-printed books, diaries, and calendars), to private hospitals/clinics, to restaurants/hotels, to fast-food joints and recreation centres, and many other business outfits.
Another way of self-advertisement as well as publicity, is to put classified adverts (costing little amount of money) into newspapers.
One good thing about a small-scale printing business (from experience) is that the operator will give quicker service-delivery, and that is desirous to many clients than the delayed services of bigger printing companies. Thus, a beginner who is time-conscious will easily succeed in the printing business.
Knowledge of Current Prices of Materials
To succeed in this kind of business, the printer should do a very good market survey to know the sizes and current prices of the different materials commonly used for printing, and keep the information handy when going for contract-hunting.
Usually, any client giving out printing job would want the printer to submit a quotation. Once such opportunity is given, the printer should quickly look at the information at his disposal to see if such could give him enough guidance to make on-the-spot quotation.
But if more information is needed, or consultation with experienced people is required, he should go about it quickly and turn in the quotation as soon as possible, bearing in mind that there could be competitors.
Charging for Jobs / Submitting Quotations
Having known the total cost of any job enquired of — the paper, the graphic design, running of sample-impression and final printing — the printer should add his profit, transportation and other contingencies, before summing up the quotation for submission.
Some clients may require a sample of the job before giving approval; and if such happens, the printer should take it as a challenge and make all efforts to provide the sample.
If the quotation is approved, it would be advisable at this stage, to ask for an advance payment which would be used to execute the job and also serve as a bond for the contract.
As a guide, if a job would cost about Twenty Thousand Naira (N20,000.00) it is advisable to charge or quote about Thirty Thousand (N30,000.00) so that the difference will take care of public relation for pertinent staff, contingencies and net profit.
Execution of the Job
With advance payment or a soft loan on hand, the printer should scout for papers or cards or other needed printing materials to buy at the cheapest prices (without compromising quality) and take to the printing press to run the impression.
After that, the items would be cut/trim to size and neatly packed into desired quantities for delivery.
Collection of Payment or Balance Payment
After delivering the job satisfactorily, the next and final stage is collection of payment or balance payment (if advance had been given). The printer should be pleasant to all the staff connected with the job so that his payment would be easily processed. And after collecting the payment, he should remember to gratify the staff as such will make it easier for him to get more jobs later.
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