huge printing machine

Digital Printing: Starting a Business at Home

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You’re still employed and earning some decent money. But you wonder if you can do business on the side. You want one that doesn’t require too much capital. You’ve saved some money, and you want to make sure that you will be able to grow it.

You’ve asked friends for advice, read materials online, and watched videos on YouTube. The digital printing business caught your attention. You have a small shack at the back of your house, and you figure that that can be your place of operation. You’ve seen different companies using large format machines and eco-solvent ink. There are also businesses that incorporate photocopying and laminating services. What do you need to do?

The Printing Business

In March 2012, Encyclopedia Britannica announced that the 2010 version would be its last printed edition. In the same year, Newsweek terminated the printing of the news magazine, although the company gave the print version a reboot in 2014. Mad Magazine pulled the plugin July 2019 after a 67-year run on the newsstand. These are just some of the paper printed publications that have shut down because of digital technology.

The printing business is perhaps one of the most disrupted industries following the advances in digital technology. The traditional offset printing’s total revenue for 2019 is trending down with just $77 billion and a whopping -2.3% growth rate.

In its place is the digital printing industry, with its 7,000 businesses across the country combining for total revenue of $11 billion as of February 2019. Globally, the value forecasted for digital printing by 2026 is $33.49 billion. It’s looking like a good business prospect with its relatively small market size.

man in his printing business

Getting Started

As with any business, you need to start by doing your research and writing a business plan. Learn more about your business, like who your target audience will be. Digitally printed products like photos, documents, and brochures will have an audience.

You can also print on promotional products like tote bags, t-shirts, or mugs. These two would have a different audience. Likewise, each approach will require different levels of operation, from the space to the necessary equipment.

Your Options

You can enter the digital printing business with minimal capitalization. But as you scale up or add more services, your investment will likewise increase.  Here are some options:

  1. A small print shop. With a computer and a printer, whether colored or laser, you can easily print materials like documents, photographs, brochures, business cards, flyers, and even large formats like posters. Your initial investment for a home office operation could start at just $2,000.
  1. Scaled-up print shop. You can do the first option with a desk and printer. But if you want to scale up to print on items like mugs or big formats like posters and tarpaulins, you will need a bigger space and a different kind of equipment.
  1. DTG. Evolution is inevitable. The silkscreen printing of yore is passé. Direct to Garment printing is now the rave for printing on garments like t-shirts. There’s no limit with what you can print on your shirt. This will be heavy on investment, but your pricing would be very flexible because designs can be customized. You can charge for what clients are willing to pay for. The price range for a DTG printer is $10,000 to $500,000.

Get your backyard shack ready and enter the digital printing world.

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