The products you produce on your wide format printer can have a major impact on your business’ profitability. Here, Soyang, the print media specialist, explores why ‘profit’ isn’t always an easy calculation, and looks at the print products most likely to bring you financial reward.
The challenge in optimising print profit
The right wide format printer can help increase your profits by ensuring you print more products faster. It’s a simple enough statement, and yet it hides a world of complexity.
As we’ll explore in a moment, interior wall graphics are one of the most sure-fire ways to drive profit from your large format printing. Yet ‘profit’ isn’t set. Depending on the printer, the substrate, the ink and the level of automation, the specific level of profit in wall graphics and decals can vary hugely.
FESPA, the global federation for the print community, illustrates the point well by looking at the nesting capability of print automation software when applied to a 48 x 48-inch sheet onto which 100 graphics are placed.
The best performing printer/software combination in its sample managed to nest the 100 images on just five sheets in one minute. The worst took 3x longer to nest the products across 11.5 sheets, that’s 130% more media than the most efficient option.
And that’s just nesting.
Multiply that difference across every other stage of the print process and it’s easy to see how even the most profitable large format print products can be made vastly more profitable still with the right print materials, equipment and technology.
The wide format printed products that can help you maximise profit
Even with the above caveat in place, however, it’s fair to say that some products will be inherently more profitable than others, although for varying reasons.
When Keypoint Intelligence and Big Picture magazine carried out a web-based survey of owners and employees of wide-format print businesses, the five most produced products within those businesses were:
- Fine art
Yet when asked about the most profitable print jobs for their wide format printers, the situation changed:
- Window graphics
- Interior décor
It’s a powerful message for any print business about the value in identifying margins. The businesses in the survey focusing on banner printing enjoyed a 48% gross profit margin (gpm) on those products.
For those businesses applying their large format printing capability to interior décor, gpm shrunk to 36% – and that was still the fifth most profitable product.
For some of the other most produced products in the survey profits, gpm was half that of banners.
Interior wall graphics
Second on Big Picture’s profitability list was interior wall graphics. GraphicsPro quotes Kitt Jones of printer manufacturer Roland who said: “It’s important to understand what type of projects will yield the highest profits and keep your printer busy. One of the most undersold applications is interior wall graphics.”
Kitt contrasts the relative simplicity of wall graphics (flat surfaces and easy installation) with the fiddly complexity of vehicle wraps, often a go-to product choice for print shops.
How do you get your client base excited about the potential in wall graphics?
“Interior decorators, architects, contractors are great prospects, as are museums and activity centres,” says Kitt. “Be sure to wrap your own lobby, too, as this will make for a great conversation starter and help you promote your services.”
As we’ve already seen, with the right software, interior wall decals (one of the most frequently printed products in Big Picture’s study) can also become far more profitable.
Metal, leather, stone
Sometimes, profitability comes from a choice not to follow the mass market, but to appeal to the specialist niche.
New UV-cure wide format printer technologies are increasing the capability of printers to layer inks, bringing a whole new range of materials into play such as stone, leather and metal.
How do you find out about the latest substrate and understand how to make them part of your large format print offering?
Dan Johansen, senior manager, Wide Format, Commercial & Industrial Printing Business Group, Ricoh USA told GraphicsPro: “I cannot recommend highly enough having regular meetings with your substrate providers.”
A final route to profit lies in making money or opportunity from waste.
Could the scraps of paper, vinyl or metal that form your print waste have a new life as luggage tags, mouse mats or notepads? If so, either look for opportunities to sell them or brand them up and use them as promotional materials that showcase your print capability.
They may not deliver immediate returns, but they could prove the most profitable products of all.
Talk to Soyang
Soyang understands print materials. Talk to us and we can help you match the latest print substrates to your wide format print equipment, so you drive greater profit from your products.
Talk to us now.