A commercial printing business serves other enterprises with all their printing needs. Such a business handles everything from print designs and artwork optimization to printing, binding, and lamination.
You can think of a printing business as a critical part of any company’s marketing and branding efforts. If you want to start a commercial printing business, there’s a lot that you need to keep in mind.
Besides researching your local market and formulating a business plan, you need to acquire the right printing equipment and inventory. We have highlighted some of the must-have equipment for commercial printing below.
Once you are ready to start or expand your commercial printing business, your next move is to invest in a set of reliable printers. The printers are available in various types and designs, and the right choice will largely depend on your unique needs. Ideally, there are three main types of printers: inkjet, multi-function, and laser printers.
Multi-function printers are all-in-one printers that come in varying sizes and are often cost-effective, considering they can print, scan, and photocopy documents. Inkjet printers are considered the best equipment for commercial printing since they are fast, flexible, and easy to use. Some inkjet printers can take on bigger jobs and are pretty economical for large-scale production.
On the other hand, laser printers are used when very high resolution is required. While Inkjet printers can print documents up to 600dpi, laser printers can handle a resolution of up to 1200dpi. The main difference is that this printer uses toner instead of ink; hence they produce no smears at all. They also deliver fast results and can handle high-volume printing.
Computer and Graphic Design Software
Your printing business is never complete without a high-end computer designed specifically for graphics design. Before printing a piece of creative art, image, or marketing material, you must ensure that the final product is visually appealing. More often, the graphic design work requires a machine with a powerful graphics processing unit (GPU), CPU, and onboard RAM. The ideal specifications would be 8/16 GB RAM, 2GB GPU, 3.5 GHz, and a monitor resolution of 1280 X 1080.
As far as the graphic design software is concerned, choose a software package that allows you to do more in one environment. A perfect example is the Adobe Suite, which is considered the standard software for graphic design work. Depending on your design, you may need to mix and match different software products to get the best results.
Cutting System and Binding Equipment
Another set of essential equipment that you’ll need in your printing business is a cutting system and binding machine. Depending on the type of print material, you need to choose a compatible cutting system. If you’re just getting started, a manual cutter that can handle both paper and plastic would be a good pick. As your printing business grows, you can upgrade to a semi-automatic or a versatile, high-performance fully-automatic cutter.
When it comes to binding equipment, the right choice depends on what you will be binding and the respective workload. Wire and comb binders are ideal for everyday binding work where cost is an important consideration. However, thermal binders would be perfect if you offer high-end binding services to corporate clients. Always weigh your options and go for a rugged product that will last.
Not all your customers will need lamination services, but having all the necessary equipment is advisable. Whether you are printing posters and flyers or certificates and employee IDs, the customer may or may not want their documents laminated. The right laminator will result in a quality finish that’s durable and visually appealing.
There are different types of laminators, each designed for specific use cases. Some of the most popular are hot pouch, cold pouch, and roll laminating machines. Hot pouch laminators use heat to activate the adhesive, which binds to the paper you are laminating. Cold pouch laminators use pressure to activate the cold-laminating pouches.
Roll laminators such as the cold roll feed and double hot roll feed laminating machines are designed for commercial and industrial applications. They handle large prints and posters, and since they don’t use pouches, they are relatively fast and efficient.
Now that you know some of the must-have equipment in your printing business, you want to compare the different models and brands before buying them. A rule of thumb is to do your research by comparing their typical use cases, prices, warranty, and, most importantly, customer reviews. The latter will tell you much about the manufacturer’s reputation, product quality, customer support services, and more.
Where possible, ask the vendor or manufacturer to give you some references whom you can talk to directly and ask more about the respective equipment. This will cushion you from several risks, such as buying a substandard product or one that doesn’t meet your customers’ needs. You can also seek guidance from a trustworthy and knowledgeable third party during the selection process.