Ink, Paper, Profit-Essential Tips for Launching Your Printing Business

If you are wondering “ how to start a printing business in 2021” or “is the right time to start a printing business. Well, then you would be happy to know the printing industry is expecting growth at a CAGR of 4.2% by 2025.

No matter what type of printing business idea you have, you are surely going to establish a successful printing business or shop if you start right now. We have brought you a complete guide on “how to start a printing business”. 

It will help you to make an aggressive business plan and find out Key Result Areas or KRA’s to define your business profile and strategies. Another important fact is you don’t have to be a skilled printing worker because most of the printing tools and equipment are digital which can be accessed with proper knowledge only.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Starting a Printing Business? 

As we all are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to adjust to the new normal lifestyle. Many people have lost their jobs or have been underpaid. 

Many small businesses have struggled with fate and lost the battle. On the other hand, many new ventures have been launched to meet the demand of consumers at the right time. According to recent studies, 1.5 million Americans applied for new business licenses in the third and fourth quarters of 2020.

The key to using these adverse circumstances in your favor is knowing which business to launch, When, and how. The printing industry has faced some serious damage at the time of the pandemic. 

Therefore, before you start planning your business you must make yourself familiar with the pros and cons of printing business ideas.


  • Supply is low and demand is high in the printing industry especially if you choose your niche carefully. You can make a decent and continuous earning.
  • The printing industry is very vast. From the food on your table to your medical supplies everything involves the printing and packaging industry.
  • The printing business works closely with other industries, so you have plenty of business opportunities.
  • Now, most printing equipment and tools are digital, so you don’t need to hire only skilled and experienced staff. You can reduce the cost of staffing by investing in good machinery.
  • Commercial printing has overcapacity. You can print huge quantities of products at a very low price.


  • There is cut-throat competition in the market.
  • Prices are very competitive, so the chances of failure are relatively large.
  • Though managing a printing business is easy, it involves huge startup costs.
  • The economy is still very uncertain right now. Thus, you have to be very careful regarding the services you offer in your area.

What Tools Do You Need to Start a Printing Business In 2021? 

The most essential area to learn “how to start a printing business” is to start knowing what type of equipment you will need to launch your printing business idea and from where to get your printing business supplies.

Every niche has some different requirements but most of the equipment is very common and necessary to operate any printing business. A large sum of your start-up cost goes to buying this equipment, so you better get your knowledge straight.

Few types of tools and equipment you will need.

1. Printers 

It is the most important machinery; you will need to start a printing business. You can opt for different types of printer based on your requirements.

  • Professional-grade Laser or Inkjet printers
  • Wide-format printers for banners and posters
  • A garment printer for customized t-shirts etc
  • A large-scale commercial print run
  • Or A 3D printer

2. Laminator

Lamination isn’t a requirement for every printing business idea but many need printing businesses to offer lamination services to their clients to gain an edge over the competition and get more returns.

3. Cutting System

Every printing business requires a cutting tool. As you are going to deal with papers and sheets of different kinds. 

  • Manual cutter
  • Semi-automatic cutter
  • Fully automatic cutter

You can opt for a manual cutter at the beginning if you don’t have enough budget and then move upward.

4. Computer and Graphic Design Software

You will need a high-end computer with a graphics card and large-capacity RAM. You also need to invest in graphic design software to execute your ideas into reality such as Adobe Spark.

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5. Binding Equipment

Like laminators, Binding equipment is also important but not essential for every printing business. Still, if you require one based on your services. There are a few types of binders.

  • Comb binders
  • Wire binders
  • Thermal binders are the most expensive

What Are the Basic Setup Costs For Starting a Printing Business? 

The basic startup costs you will need to start a printing business according to the leading industry experts fall between $140,000 – $400,000. you will need professional or commercial-grade tools and equipment to launch your business successfully and meet the client’s requirements.

Besides that, you need to establish a website and hire some staff for accounting or other purposes. You need to get the proper license and registration for your company, rent for the location depending on the size of your business, and other tools that are necessary for a niche.

How Do You Prepare for Launching a Printing Business? 

The printing industry has a close working relationship with other small and large-scale businesses. There is a definite boom in the printing industry but that doesn’t ensure your success. 

You need to work through your printing business idea and opportunities to achieve your goals and start a printing business successfully. 

COVID-19 has given birth to many new small-scale businesses. Instead of competing with them, start collaborating! Search for your local printing businesses, their niche, and the demand of the customer then plan your strategy accordingly. 

Talk to local suppliers, and get an idea of the initial investment. Get as much knowledge as you can regarding the legalities of your business. Work on your marketing and advertising skills, distribute printing business flyers, and also post them on social media platforms. 

It is very essential to create demand before you officially launch the printing business. It will also help you to attract investors. Now, let’s talk about these scenarios one by one and make an effective and innovative business plan.

Market Research

Market research includes everything there is to learn about your printing business idea. Start by familiarizing yourself with business standards, finding a profitable niche, researching your competition, and the equipment you will need.

You also need to choose your area of business. It is not necessary to have a business location nearby your residence. Find an area that is in your budget and has a continuous and growing demand for your printing business. 

Thorough market research will give you clarity on how to start a printing business successfully.

Business Name and Logo

There is huge competition in the printing industry. Being a startup, you need to come up with a catchy and innovative business name and logo.

Remember you are not just competing with established printing businesses but newcomers as well. Thus, your name and logo should be something that imprints on your potential client’s mind. 

It should also show your creativity which is one of your basic skills to start a printing business. Your target market should feel impressed when they read or listen to your business name and logo.

Niche Selection 

If you don’t have any idea what types of niches are available in the printing industry, which one of them is profitable? 

Here are a few printing business ideas and opportunities to start a printing business.

  • Digital Printing Service- It is one of the cheapest yet most popular printing business ideas. It requires very little equipment and skills but the returns are very high due to the quality of the print.
  • Flex And Sticker Printing- banner and sticker printing is the most profitable idea as it involves the marketing and advertising industry. You will have a constant demand.
  • T-Shirt Printing- customized t-shirt printing is on-demand and if you can offer it locally instead of shipping from far away places. You could become an authority in your niche.
  • Wallpaper Printing-  here you are targeting a whole new commercial market like real estate or interior design. Now, people are using PVC and non-PVC wallpapers for their home and office decoration.
  • Xerox Shop- If you live nearby a school, college, or university area. Opening a Xerox shop with lamination is the smartest idea you can ever have. Investment is low and returns are high.
  • Visiting Cards, Birthday, And Invitation Card Printing- here is another profitable printing business idea where you don’t require high printing business supplies. It is evergreen and you can get new customers on a referral basis.
  • Textile Printing- If you want to start a medium or large-scale printing business then textile or handloom printing is your niche. Textile printing has a huge target market and returns are also very high and constant.
  • Sublimation Printing- if you want to target online customers to address their customized printing needs which is quite popular right now. You can opt for a sublimation printing business that allows you to print on fabrics, metal, or ceramics.
  • Mug Printing- mug printing is similar to sublimation but it involves whole other target markets as well such as printing customized mugs for companies, events, seminars, hotels and resorts, and many more.
  • 3D Printing- this technology belongs to the 1980s but now it has more commercial and innovative use. Now you have the means to access your designs in a 3D model. It has a very high demand in the medical and jewelry industry.
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Select Target Market 

It is always a tricky question. What should you select as a first niche or target market? If you select your niche then you might end up with a smaller or seasonal target market. But if you select a target market then you might be stuck with a business idea that doesn’t compliment your skills.

In both cases, you are set to DOOM!

This is why we suggest thorough market research. Most of the skills that you need to start a printing business are transferable or you can hire people to deal with those aspects of your business. Shortlist 2 or 3 niches then compare their target market, demand, competition, the growth rate in your area, and then invest.

Types of the target market for printing business are:

  • Corporate 
  • Household
  • Students
  • Handloom industry
  • Interior designer and real estate
  • Fashion industry
  • Film making industry
  • Restaurants
  • Marketing and advertising firms
  • Manufacturing and retail
  • Healthcare industry and so on.


As we told you earlier, there is no specific skill set one needs to learn how to start a printing business successfully. If you have experience and knowledge first hand it could give an additional benefit but you can learn those skills and knowledge as well.

The printing business is all about producing quality goods, attracting clients, and making conversions.

Therefore, you might need these basic attributes or skills to run a profitable printing business.

  • A good color vision and hand-eye-coordination
  • Basic design skills
  • Basic computer skills
  • Knowledge of handling your machinery
  • Salesperson skills
  • Local SEO skills
  • Ability to perform in a limited time frame

How To Source Raw Materials and Tools?

Besides your basic tools and equipment, there are ink, paper, fabric, PVC and Non-PVC wallpaper sheets are a few important raw materials that you need to start your printing business. 

Sourcing your tools is not difficult for you the professional or commercial grade equipment which you can either source locally or go to the top commercial printer manufacturers to buy high quality yet affordable printers such as HP Inc.

Most of the printer manufacturers also provide ink and paper but it can cost you a lot. Therefore you can look for local wholesale or commercial suppliers to get the large quantity at the lowest prices. For example, Sun Chemical is the top commercial ink supplier to many printing businesses in North America.

How To Setup Your Price Structure? 

To set up your price structure, you need to calculate your Cost-Per-Print. It is just not something that you can offer a competitive price to attract customers though it is a considerable factor.

First, you need to determine your yield-per-cartridge. This means finding out how much ink or toner cartridge your printer consumes to print a certain quantity of end product for both color and black and white.

Calculate the price of every cartridge to print a certain amount of papers or other products till completion. Consider outside factors like ongoing expenses, equipment rates, cost of maintenance, cost of raw materials, etc.

By calculating these factors you will be able to set up your price structure. If your prices are high then you can offer complementing services to give an edge to your business. Many book publishers provide laminating services for durability. 

If additional services are not possible then you need to reassess your raw materials cost to lower your cost-Per-print and increase your revenue.

Do You Need Office Space? 

Every printing business requires a printing area. However, it is not necessary to establish your warehouse or factory with your office space. If you could get a good place for printing at a low cost at a secluded place and establish your office at a location that is easy to access and centrally located.

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If you want to open an online printing business then you can just work from home at the beginning until you start getting good returns. Focus more on establishing an online presence instead of a physical presence because many people won’t even consider you legit without an official website.

Finance Arrangement? 

Starting a printing industry requires a huge amount of funds for machinery and equipment. If you already have the amount we would still advise you to look for an investor instead of pouring all your money in.

Ask your family and friends for a small amount. You can either take a loan. Consult your local printers. Look for online fundraising websites.

As the initial investment is huge and competition is cut-throat, finding an investor can be a bit challenging. You can ask or join the Chamber of Commerce which will not just help you with the funding but also provide you the valuable connection to grow your business.

Do You Need To Hire? 

Yes, to run a successful and uninterrupted printing business you require support. You would be surprised to know most of the small and medium-scale printing businesses only have 10 employees at max. 

Depending on the type, size, and business requirement you can start a small-scale printing business with a minimum of 2 employees. Based on the growth of your business you can hire more as per your needs.

What Could Be The Possible Hurdles In Starting a Printing Business? 

  • Finding New Business

Approaching businesses who have a long-term relationship with their printers and publishers as a newcomer might never work out unless they are looking for one due to their history. It is better to make an online presence to attract customers while approaching local or small-scale businesses in your locality.

  • Maintaining The Quality

Surviving in the printing industry needs some major management skills and discipline. It is necessary to provide high-quality print work at a consistent rate. If not, you can damage your brand reputation and lose your client simultaneously.

  • Calculating The Cost-Per-Print

It can help you to set up the lowest yet most profitable price structure while maintaining your brand’s integrity, values, and product quality. However, calculating the cost-per-print is a very complex process that includes several considerable factors.

  • Sourcing Right Equipment And Raw Materials

Sourcing high-quality equipment and raw materials in your budget is a complex and mind-blowing task. It could take months to find the right supplier and equipment to run a 21st-century printing business.

  • Collecting Funds

Unlike other small businesses, you need thousands of dollars to start a printing business. Arranging finances for a startup always includes several risk factors and especially when you are asking for such a big amount without any history of your company. You must give some kind of assurance that you will repay their amount with interest.

Finale: a Complete Guide- How To Start a Printing Business? 

We hope you find this article effective and have helped you to cover all aspects of “how to start a printing business in 2021”. The printing industry is recovering from the effects of the pandemic. Demand is increasing. There is also a significant change in the methods of printing that has helped to reduce the incurred cost and skills of professional technicians.

Moreover, COVID-19 has given a new perspective to businesses. Many new small-scale businesses are being flourished and they all have some printing requirements. Thus, it is the right time to fill those gaps with cutting-edge technology and innovative printing business supplies and ideas.


Is Printing Business Profitable?

On average, every printing business can make a profit of 2.4% on their printing business idea. The printing business works in close relationships with other businesses. Therefore, you have plenty of opportunities.

What Do You Need To Start a Printing Business?

you need:

  • A professional-grade printer
  • Cutting and binding tools
  • Laminators
  • Ink. Toner, paper, and other raw material
  • Computer with graphic card and large capacity RAM
  • Graphic design software
  • Or customized solutions

What Is The Basic Startup Cost To Start a Printing Business?

Generally, the basic startup cost to start a printing business is between $140,000- $400,000.