I am planning on setting up my own greeting card company... I'd like to know if getting your greeting cards printed by commercial printers is cheaper than buying your own printer and doing the printing yourself. I keep reading and hearing contradictory answers in that one.In deciding between in-house and off-site printing you need to consider several things.
Also I'd like to know if you could tell me roughly what percentage from the sale of your cards would shops make, if I sell my cards at £2.50, how much from that would the shop that sold the card make.
In no specific order:
- Quality. Do you have or can you afford to purchase the equipment needed to print your cards at the quality that is needed to sell them at the price you want? Cheap printing can affect how much you can get for your cards. Desktop printers designed for small offices won't generally produce the same results as commercial printing equipment and commercial equipment is expensive and generally takes up a lot more space than a desktop printer. The quality of paper counts too. Can you get a printing setup that will use the quality or type of paper you need to use?
- Quantity. For very large runs, an established commercial printer can probably print your cards much more inexpensively. Some printers will give a good price on short runs. I'd recommend talking to several printers, get some quotes both locally and over the internet to see what kind of per card price is normal for the type of cards and printing you want. If you're wanting large runs, can the printing equipment you're considering for in-house use handle that quantity?
- Upfront Expense. Can you afford to buy your own printer that can handle the quality and quantity you need? Don't forget to calculate the cost of supplies (like ink). If you go the commercial route, you'll have to pay for the printing before you get money for the cards, but is that initial cost more or less than purchasing your own equipment?
- Time and Expertise. Printing a card or two from your desktop printer is quite different from printing dozens or hundreds or thousands of cards. Do you have the time to devote to the process? There's more to it than just loading the print tray. And don't forget about scoring and folding the cards. If you're purchasing equipment that goes beyond the usual desktop setup, do you have the time to devote to learning to use the equipment or can you afford to hire help?
- Special Printing Needs. Will your cards incorporate die cuts, foil stamping, embossing, varnish, or elaborate folds? How many colors of ink? A commercial printer is set up to handle these kinds of printing and finishing needs -- are you?
As to the second part of your question, it's not really my area of expertise. But I'd suggest doing some research through these resources for Self-Publishing Greeting Cards.
Readers, what advice do you have? Have you set up your own in-house printing operation? Share your experiences.