How to Start a Printing Business at Home


Starting a small business out of your home can be a great way to cut costs and experiment with whether or not the business is sustainable. A printing business at home can be lucrative and enjoyable if done right, so consider these steps as you dive into the exciting world of the entrepreneur.

Things You'll Need

  • Business filings
  • Doing business as (fictitious name)
  • Business checking account
  • Digital printer
  • Paper
  • Paper cutter
  • Toner

Go to your Secretary of State website and file for your business entity. With a home business you should consider a sole proprietorship or limited liability company (LLC).

File for a "Doing Business as" or "Fictitious Name." In most states this can be done on the Secretary of State website, however some states require it be done at the county level. A quick search on the Secretary of State website should help you find out the requirements for your state.

Open a business checking account. Always keep your business purchases and receipts separate from your personal checking account. For tax purposes this is especially important as you can be fined for mixing personal and business accounts in some situations. Better to just keep the transactions separate.

Purchase Equipment

Grab a computer and the necessary software. Most of your clients will send files via email or CD. The vast majority of files will be in some digital format. The most popular software package in the printing industry is the Adobe software suite.

Use a digital printer to get started. Prices vary from $2500 to $250,000 for digital printing presses. However, for a home business, you should be able to find a printer in the $2500 to $15000 price range. Look for a printer that will produce professional prints and still fit in the house.

You can opt for a four color printing press, but these take more maintenance, are more difficult to learn, take up more space, and can only offer competitive pricing for long run projects.

Purchase toner. Toner colors include cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (key). Stock up on toner so you don't get stuck with a project where you have to pay extra to have toner delivered overnight.

Purchase paper. You will need large amounts of standard office stock paper, but consider heavier card stock as well. You may decide to only print a particular type of product, such as business cards or catalogs, so choose paper accordingly.

Purchase a paper cutter. For a home business you should consider a guillotine style paper cutter. You can cut anywhere from 5 to 25 pages at a time, which is fine for getting started. You can upgrade to a pneumatic paper cutter at a later time; the pneumatic paper cutter cuts through several hundred pages at a time.

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