How to Start an Invitation Printing Business
Many people are looking for invitations with a personal touch for their events, and more customers are turning to professional invitation designers and printers for help. Invitation printing is a business that requires creativity and style. However, an invitation printing business also requires some software and technical experience for correctly setting up the invitations for printing. An invitation printing business can be done from home or from a storefront location. Invitations can be pre-designed templates or can be custom designed for each client. The following steps will help you to start an invitation printing business.
Steps to How Start an Invitation Printing Business
- Research the invitation market
- Check other invitation businesses for ideas and to see where your skills will best fit. Decide if you will focus on any particular niche of invitations, such as weddings, birthdays or babies.
- Determine the type of printing you will be doing. Invitations can be printed on inkjet printers, laser printers or you can use a printing press if you plan to offer formal invitations such as wedding invitations.
- Write your business plan.
- The business plan should include an overview and description of your business, the research information on the market and competition, a description of your products and services, your budget, location (storefront or online), equipment and marketing plans.
- The business plan will help you focus your ideas for your business and give you a reference to work from as you move through the steps.
- Choose your business name and form the business entity.
- Apply with your Secretary of the State to form your business entity (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation). File with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is how you will identify your business for tax purposes and when working with vendors. You will also need to apply for a resale certificate through the Department of Revenue in your state in order to collect and submit required sales tax.
- Apply for a business license.
- This is done locally and will vary based on your local and state regulations.
- The Small Business Administration website at www.SBA.gov provides information about required business licenses and permits based on location.
- Finalize your funding sources.
- Make sure funding is available to cover your projected start-up costs and budget.
- The amount of money required to start an invitation printing business will vary based on your plans for the location and equipment.
- Purchase equipment and supplies.
- Decide on whether you will outsource to a print shop or purchase your own equipment.
- Printing equipment can vary from laser printers to a printing press, depending on the type of printing you will be doing.
- You will need a graphic design software program such as Adobe Illustrator to design your invitations.
- You will also need to purchase different types of paper, envelopes, printer ink, paper cutters and decorative embellishments, if desired.
- Set your pricing.
- Your pricing will be determined by the type of invitations you are creating and how you are printing them. It can also vary by location if you have a storefront. Use the market research from your business plan to help you decide on appropriate pricing.
- Create designs or samples to build your portfolio and attract customers.
- Show off your creative skill by designing invitations that can serve as samples or templates.
- You can also show off your design talents in the creation of your own business cards, letterhead and logo.
- Create a website and/or establish your storefront.
- Register for a web page address and choose a host, such as Yahoo’s Small Business Solutions, that will allow you to design your own website. You can use your business name or something related to your invitation business for your web address.
- Even if you will have a physical store, you should design a website to showcase your work and potentially reach more customers.
- Establish your own e-commerce capabilities through your website host or use a professional website designer if you will be using the website as your main platform.
- Market your invitation printing business.
- Advertise you business through other party vendors. For example, if your niche is wedding invitations, market at local bridal shows, bridal shops, florists and bakeries.
- Word of mouth is an important marketing tool for the invitation business, so encourage satisfied customers to share their positive experiences.
- Ask customers if you can use their final invitations for your design portfolio.
- Offer pre-designed templates and custom design options.
- Finding good local and/or web-based suppliers will allow you to set reasonable pricing that will attract more customers.
- Provide proofs for customers to approve. This can be done in person or via email.
- Include your time and creative effort in the cost analysis.
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