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Help need advise, Please.

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by CJ's, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. CJ's

    CJ's New Member

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    I was wondering about Mutoh 64" printer & there 1400 54" plotter.
    What or would you think about buying this for New, Start up business ?
    Me & Girlfriend, thank you for your advise. :thankyou:
     
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  2. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    My suggestion to you would be to concentrate on learning your software, designing and marketing. Instead of starting out with a printer, plotter and an inventory of materials, look for a wholesale producer to outsource the production to. Once you have built a track record on successfully pleasing clients and have a better idea what they will want, then look again at what hardware is available that will best suit your needs.

    To start up a new business with no customers but a big investment in equipment and supplies is putting the cart in front of the horse. Your business is about you and your ability to sell and deliver signs and graphics that clients are pleased with. Having the ability to produce the work in-house is great but is not necessary for you to start successfully. Start your business with a good computer and good software. Buy the expensive stuff from profits instead of going in the hole in the beginning.
     
  3. CJ's

    CJ's New Member

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    IS selling graphics & product to others without making it yourself, owning a business or
    just being a farm source for others ?
    I want to make product for people at the track & have them come to our shop,
    not farm out work for others. I did'nt go buy my first race car I built it, because I wanted to learn how to do it, not just drive it. Anyone can buy something, but not everyone can make it. Thanks for advise, but that's not me.
     
  4. SignosaurusRex

    SignosaurusRex Major Contributor

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    Excellent advice and well said there Fred. :thumb: Cj's, ....Keep It Simple & Sweet is the best way to start out! Welcome Aboard!
     
  5. Mardi

    Mardi Member

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    CJ,
    Running a business is much more than owning the equipment.
    Anyone with some money (or credit) can buy the equipment. Very few of those can actually run a business.
    These forums are a good start. Figure out exactly what you want to do, whom do you want to cater to. Evaluate your skills necessary to accomplish what you want. Learn. Make a business plan.
    Take Fred's advice. Farming out is essential for most of the businesses. You will never be able to do everything for everyone by yourself. Having good vendors is as important as having good clients.
    At best, get yourself a 24" or 30" good used plotter. and start out that way.Conserve your buying power, you will need it!
    Good luck.
     
  6. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

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    Way to go CJ! Two posts and you've already identified yourself as just another racecar driver with a bad attitude.!

    You The Man!

    Dude, Fast Fred up there just gave you, by far, the best advice you'll probably ever get. Running out and buying a bunch of equipment that just think you need is a recipe for disaster in any small business. If you break down the profit on jobs you'll need to make and honestly look at the print cost (including machine cost, maintenance, learning curve, etc.) it won't take you long the HUGE amount of square footage you'll have to print to make it more profitable than subbing it out to wholesalers who print for almost the same price you'll pay to do it yourself. My shop will do close to $400,000 in sales this year (all sales, not just printing)...we crossed that line for the first year ever this year. I'm still planning on subbing everything out until we can pay cash for a flatbed.

    Slow down, sub it out and develop your market. When you see what kind of business you're actually going to be able to bring in with your level of talent the choice of equipment to buy will be obvious to you.
     
  7. CJ's

    CJ's New Member

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    Hi everyone,
    Thanks for the advise, as being another bad attitude race car driver, don't think so :)
    As for wanting to do printing or subbing it out, I would rather try then just sub out
    all the work, that's why they call it small business, you have to start some where.
    It seems as if everyone here want you to send them work or others, rather then, give them help in starting a New business. If you don't try, then how will you know if you will succeed in anything ? Call me old fashion, but I don't remember subbing out work when I wanted to learn a new trade. Is this what all of you did, when starting your businesses, SUB it OUT ?? or did you try to DO it your selves ??
    Thanks again,
    I will always listen, but it doesn't mean I have to DO it :)
     
  8. futuredcon

    futuredcon Member

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    Hi Cj.
    Best advice someone ever gave was to 'Just Do It' NIKE!!
    Good luck and don't let some people here sway you away from what you want to do. Subbing it out is crap and not the way to learn something yourself.
     
  9. futuredcon

    futuredcon Member

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    You have the Attitude!
     
  10. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    You know, if someone I wanted to help was to decide they wanted to cross the road no matter that there's a big truck baring down on them - I sure the hell would try to "sway" them from that decision. Just cause you can doesn't mean you should...

    CJ - let me ask you this. Before you buy your equipment. What experience do you have that will allow you to actually provide any kind of quality service to you potential customer? Or don't you care? I mean this as no slam, but you can buy the best equipment in the world and if you don't have the basic knowledge to provide the front end (design) that you need, then it really doesn't matter.

    And Fred did give you some good advice :smile:
     
  11. signage

    signage Major Contributor

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    You can not polish a turd!

    Also their is a lot more to printing with these large format printers than just hitting print! What do you know about ICC profiles? Also there is maintenance on the printers and if you do not print often they cost a lot to replace the heads!
     
  12. Cadmn

    Cadmn Very Active Member

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    I provide my customers a good design, I don't print it.. why buy lots of equipment when I can send my design to a friend that has the equipment& let him print it that is where he has expertise, in the Profiles & equipment He runs.been proven on here many times that if your clients are only racers you won't have a business if you spend much.
     
  13. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    CJ ... you can divide what a successful sign business does into four or more distinct areas:


    • Marketing
    • Design
    • Production
    • Installation
    You have told us nothing about yourself or your background. We are left to assume that you have no real experience at any of what is needed to succeed in this profession. So most of us know the difficulty in selling enough work to be profitable and have spent some considerable effort in learning to get the software to do what we have in our heads as well as know what the difference is in good and bad graphic design. Then we produce it and install it.

    Almost all of the costs of this are tied up in acquiring production capability. To set yourself up to market, design and install is at most 10% of the investment you are considering. The other 90%, the production capability, will allow you to a buck or two a foot over outsourced prices and add a bit of convenience ... but it's grunt work at best and not the best return on your time.

    When you built that car you mentioned ... did you build the engine block? Did you acquire the capability to form sheet metal for the body and fenders? Open a glass factory for the windshield and windows?

    Production capability is a good investment when you have the sales volume to support it, the design skills to create it and the installation skills to complete it. But if you don't ... and I assume you do not as of yet have these skills, then you're just letting ego cause you to purchase the production capabilities and demonstrating that you don't have a good handle on what the business is all about. It's what I call technology fascination.

    We see technology fascination all the time. It's what causes customers to think what we do is nothing more than having the equipment to print and cut some vinyl. And it is also what causes a lot of people to jump into this business and then bail out later when they discover that it isn't about the technology at all.

    But you do whatever you're going to do because that's just you. I wish you every success but I won't be offering any more advice.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2008
  14. GP

    GP Very Active Member

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    I started in January. At THAT time, I had some cash to buy a 48" ValueJet package deal. I had some experience with design and other creative trades which have been an asset, but no experience in large format printing. After much consideration, I kept my investment to a minimum and bought a quality plotter and have subbed out the large format stuff.

    In hindsight, I am glad I kept that extra money. Because, it is LONG GONE. I spent it on all the other stuff I guarantee you are not factoring. Like every time you get a 150 dollar sign job, you are spending about 140 dollars on start up supplies, tools, software, fonts. Not to mention the cost of doing everything 2, maybe three, times to get the level of quality you want to represent your name and business.

    It was overwhelming and still is. But I am making it. Believe me, there is plenty to learn without making the trade without making that investment.

    But again, you did not provide many details, so I can only pass along my experiences. You may have won big on Deal or No Deal and looking for a way to burn some money.

    Listen to Fred, Big Dog and the others. I have several times over the past several months and I thank them. They may not be telling you what you want to hear, but they are giving some sound advise.

    GP
     
  15. GP

    GP Very Active Member

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    just read Fred's post. Great stuff.
     
  16. Jillbeans

    Jillbeans Major Contributor

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    Buy yourself Mastering Layout by Mike Stevens, Corel, and an inexpensive plotter.
    Learn to use them. Get good at designs and installs. Use quality materials and charge accordingly, meaning don't just give decals away to your buddies at the track.
    Build up a client base. Learn to deal with customers.
    Then see if you have a market for printed signs/wraps.
    Sub those out to wholesalers until you think you can justify buying a printer and laminator. They have learned the curve and all the PITA things that go with it.
    I think you are putting the cart before the horse.
    Love....Jill
     
  17. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

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    Okay...since you really want to spend the money....

    The Mutoh printers are good and from what I've seen are fairly reliable. The only suggestion I'd have is to get a plotter that's larger than the widest print capability of your printer. No point in handicapping yourself for the little price difference in a larger plotter.

    Personally I'd drop to the 52" printer, but that's just what I see working best for us. You really should look at adding a laminator to the package while you're at it. Laminated vinyl is so much easier to apply and being able to laminate will open you up for a much, much wider gamut of work.

    Good luck, hope it works out for th best for you.
     
  18. synergy_jim

    synergy_jim Very Active Member

    here we go again.....

    :U Rock:
     
  19. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Well, since you seem to have quite a knack for the savvy of ‘Learning How To’….. I would strongly suggest you check out a few sign shops in your area, ask them what equipment they use, what software they like and then copy what they’re doing.

    Learning design and the programs to run your business will be the easy part, so you shouldn’t have any problems producing anything. The hardest part is coming up with enough money to pay for your equipment, so put together a ‘wish list’ and go to your nearest dealer and buy some stuff.

    Jump in….. and quickly….. the water’s fine !! :clapping:



    Oh and by the way.......... :Welcome: from PA........................​
     
  20. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    The Mutoh's are good equipment.
    Go for it.
     
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