How to Start a Printing Business with No Equipment
Everyone in any business, especially mail order, needs printing. But being a printer takes huge, expensive printing presses, long hours and messy work, right? WRONG. YOU can make money without the mess and expense by being a PRINTING BROKER.
A printing broker is, basically, an order taker for one or more commercial printers. You take orders for anything from business cards to circulars to large printing orders, take your agreed upon commission, then pass on the order to the printer. The printer then does the job and ships the order back to you or your customer, depending on your arrangements. Because the printer won't insert any of of his or her literature in with the job, YOU will get the return orders and commissions. You can even insert some of your circulars for your other products and services with the job, saving your mailing costs.
Here's what you need to do... Prepare a letter explaining your desire to become a broker and mail it to all the printers in your area. The smaller printers seem to be the most likely to work well with you on this. Set up a time to meet with any printers who are interested. During this meeting, explain exactly what you will be doing (selling printing jobs by mail through advertisements in mail order publications). You won't have to explain much because almost all printers are familiar with brokering. Usually, you should be able to get a 20% - 30% commission agreement, though it may depend upon the competition in your area between printers. You should be able to find printers interested in working with you, though, even those who already have brokers.
Printing is a very competitive business and printers always want more work. So, you should have no trouble setting up connections. One good printer is all you need, though being set up with more than one may be an advantage (one may be cheaper for business cards than the other, who may be cheaper at single sheet printing).
Try to get a price list of YOUR costs drawn up by each printer. This will help you if someone needs a price quote on a job. Also, you can check the mail order publications and see what other printers are charging. If you can undercut them and still keep a good margin (which you should be able to do, easily), you can make good money in this business.
Another good idea... Instead of a commission, you may want to set up a "work account" with the printer, and get your printing done for free! Printers hate to have "down time," where their presses aren't printing anything. Work out an arrangement where you will have flyers, circulars, ad sheets or whatever, ready to be printed whenever the printer has down time. Turn over the full amount of orders you receive, instead of taking your commission, and get your printing done free during this down time! Most printers will be more than happy to take this arrangement, and you can get great benefits from it!
Be sure your printer will be able to deliver QUALITY products ON TIME. These are the two biggest considerations to keep in mind when selecting a printer or printers to work with. Get samples of their previous work. Talk to them about the importance of being timely with the orders you bring in. Most printers will be understanding of your concerns, and will do their best to keep you happy, as you will be bringing in orders they otherwise wouldn't have. You have the capability to bring your local printer orders from across the country... building their business while building yours! Printing brokering is an easy way to expand your profits while expending little extra work.
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