If your print business is to be a success you’ll need a certain amount of equipment from day one. But what, exactly? Here, we explore the essential equipment needed to start a printing business.
What equipment do I need to start a printing business? The definite essentials
Let’s be honest, no print business worth its salt is going to get very far without a printer or two. But which printers?
In truth, there’s no one printer that is going to be right for every business. It depends on what you’re printing, what materials you’re using and where your print will be used. Ask yourself these questions to focus your search for printing business equipment:
i) What’s the scale?
Obvious, but essential, if your print business is going to be dealing in large format print, you’ll need a printer with the scale to cope.
ii) What’s the material?
The printer you need to start your printing business will be dictated by what you print.
- Outdoor banners? You’ll likely want a printer that’s suited to printing on vinyl using long lasting solvent or eco-solvent inks.
- Fabric for hanging banners and banner flags? You’ll need a dye-sublimation printer that can easily manage the lighter weight polyesters used for the banner material, while still delivering vibrant visuals.
- Mesh banners? A banner designed to cope with the full force of the weather (you’ll often see mesh banners on the outside of sports stadia or wrapping building redevelopments) will need a printer and inks capable of creating a strong bond with the mesh fabric.
iii) How fast can it print?
Achieving the right balance between print speed and print quality is important. Printing equipment that works faster will enable you to print more and therefore earn more. So print speed is directly linked to your business’ profit.
The ‘might-be essential’ equipment needed to start a printing business
Most large format printers will have an integrated cutting tool which should comfortably handle most papers and light vinyls.
That’s good news when working out the equipment needed to start a printing business because it means you only need to buy one piece of equipment rather than separate printer and cutter. Also, you have only one set of running costs, one piece of equipment to fit in your print shop and one carbon footprint.
Perhaps the greatest advantage in a combined printer cutter is that you can leave the printer to do its job of printing, cutting and rolling up the completed jobs while you get on with something else.
Sometimes though, there may be reasons to make a cutter a standalone part of your equipment setup. These might include:
- Where you need greater cutting heft because you use thicker print materials; or
- Where you want the widest possible colour range. Some (although not all) printers compromise on the colour scope to fit the cutting tool in
2. Hemming machines
But if the banner or your workload requires some degree of automation, you may need a sewing machine or hemming system that can heat weld you banner seams and make it easy to add grommets.
3. Binding machines
You won’t need a binding machine if your print work is strictly large format. But if you print books, brochures, reports or similar in any great quantity, you’ll need to look at machines capable of binding in a range of formats from stitching and spiral to wire-o.
The ‘additional’ equipment needed
So far in our tour of equipment needed to start a printing business, we’ve focused on the ‘hardware’, but there’s plenty more to consider from both practical and production efficiency perspectives:
- Inks: You’ll need something to print with, so you’ll need to source inks suitable for your printer and the materials you’re printing.
- Software: You’ll want to invest in print management software that can help streamline processes, optimise servicing and help you manage the workflow, because all of that can help turn a print business into a profitable print business.
- Print materials: You’ll want something to print on. Which is where we come in. From textiles to self-adhesives to PVC and PVC-free materials, talk to us.