Most printers, including many small town newspapers have a problem with very small (less than 1,000) orders because their system is geared towards large orders. With a small printing press in your garage, basement or shop accept printing jobs that are too small for your competition.
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Starting a Small Printing Business From Your Garage

With a small printing press in your garage, basement or shop - accept and contract (at first) for printing jobs that are too small for your competition. The possibilities include doing jobs for stationery stores, advertisers, sub- contract work for larger printers and the local newspaper, as well as custom retail orders such as wedding announcements, personalized greeting cards, advertising flyers and the like.

Most printers, including many small town newspapers have a problem with very small (less than 1,000) orders because of their set-up costs and the fact that their system is geared towards large orders (small ones can actually be a nuisance).

They have acquired presses, typesetters, computer oriented equipment at a very high cost - so they can do the big jobs efficiently. In most cases, their fancy equipment requires a lot of work, time and expertise just to set up a job regardless of how many copies are to be printed.

Offset printers may waste several hundred copies just getting their equipment properly aligned! That's why they may charge $250 for 100 copies and only $300 for a thousand.

Some commercial printers would be happy to sub contract their small jobs. They can probably make more profit - and keep their customer too! Of course, you would return the favor by referring or sub-contracting jobs that are too large for you.

Actually, there are three basic types of "printing". Although our concern here is with the printing press (the old-fashioned way), we should be aware of the basics of the other two methods.

Copy centers nowadays offer "printing" services - they can print in several different colors, reduce and expand, and they can provide excellent master copies by the "cut and paste" system (glue text, illustrations, logos, onto "masters" and then copy them).

Desktop computer systems are also fast coming onto the scene. A computer system costing as little as $5,000 can produce finished pages that look almost like magazine pages. Although both of the above are used to produce "copy ready" masters for copiers and photo-offset printers, these are normally very large jobs that a small printer couldn't handle anyway.

The smaller printer's only real competition (aside from other small printers) is the copy service and desktop publisher, both of which are fairly expensive.

A desktop publisher would probably charge $25 to $50 to design a master for a single page flyer. The customer would take the finished flyer to a copy service and pay about 5 cents per page to have them copied ("printed"). Total cost for 1000 flyers: $75 - $100.

In contrast, a small printer could set the type in a few minutes and run off 1,000 copies in an hour - at a total cost of about $5 (paper and ink) plus labor. Obviously, the small printer can do the job for considerably less, therefore, he can charge less and still make a good profit. And, the customer only has to make one stop!

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