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New Business Owner

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by MariaMartini, May 9, 2008.

  1. MariaMartini

    MariaMartini Active Member

    May 7, 2008
    I worked at F*edex K*inkos for over a year in their sign dept.

    I quit shortly after having my son (he is 10 months old now), due to the long/late hours they had me working.

    I made a lot of money for that company, while getting paid very little.

    Figured I could just do it myself and do ok (though I can't charge as much and won't get as much business).

    Currently looking for suggestions on what machine to buy (I used the Gerber Edge at K*inkos but I think it's out of my price range) and who to outsource large orders to.

  2. cOrKinSA

    cOrKinSA Very Active Member

    Oct 16, 2006
    Good to see you here.
    Do some searching and ask some questions and you'll be just fine.
    Hint of advice though.
    Stay away from Cheap plotters and out source your printing.
  3. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

    Mar 12, 2005
    New England
    Why can't you charge as much?
    If they can , you can.
    Instead of working for very little for someone else you'll end up working for very little for yourself.
    As for what to buy I'd stick with what you know. There's lots of used machines on the market.
    But first decide what you want to do,
    and then invest in the equipment to do it
    Outsourcing is a great idea, and there are vendors here that can do most of what you need.
  4. jscarl

    jscarl Very Active Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Lots of used machines on the market.? And many more coming i think. Best of luck. From mid michigan.
  5. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

    Feb 12, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio

    Jumping into any business for yourself is a risky and sometimes exciting adventure. *Whether you will be profitable or not is another question. :wink: Hopefully you have some good business sense, or can hire an accountant or financial advisor to help you along the way. I know a lot of folks that start a new business and are good "workers" but not knowing much about how to be an "owner".

    First off, you should obtain an EIN number from the federal govt. which is free. (Just google it.) Then register your business according to your state law, attain a vendor's license, determine if you'll be a corporation or a sole proprietor and there are probably a few other steps involved there. Oh, and be sure to hire/consult an accountant to help you along the way with all of your financials and taxes. Doing things the right way will allow you to do business with all of the potential customers in your area including schools, govt. agencies, churches etc.

    As for a machine I would suggest going with a name brand machine. Roland, Graphtec, Summa, Mimaki etc. all make excellent machines. I would suggest at a minimum getting a 24" machine - and actually would say a 30" machine would be much better as a 30" machine is usually the same build quality and tolerances as the bigger ones.

    Lastly, do your research. Check prices in your are. Don't be cheap; as in don't lowball to get work and use good quality materials for your customers.:thumb:
  6. Pro Image

    Pro Image Major Contributor

    Nov 28, 2005
    Howdee from VA..............
  7. gvgraphics

    gvgraphics Very Active Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Welcome and good luck from PA!
  8. high impact

    high impact Very Active Member

    You should charge just as much or MORE than Kinkos!

    You have a large business learning curve ahead of you. Never stop learning!
  9. Mike Paul

    Mike Paul Major Contributor

    Dec 30, 2003
    No reason to charge less...:cool: and welcome aboard!
  10. jiarby

    jiarby Major Contributor

    Feb 11, 2007
    When you say "I made a lot of money for that company" do you really mean that "you did alot of work for that company"??

    The fact is that THEY ponied up for building a store, buying printers and equipment, materials and supplies, advertising and marketing, insurance, computer equipment, software, etc.... All before they ever made a nickel selling a sign.

    Just because you squeegeed the decal on the substrate IS NOT the same thing as "making them alot of money". They make alot of money because they have a good business plan, and are well capitalized, and (until recently) have good employees. You were just ONE small component of how they made money...

    How are you going to do all the OTHER things involved in running a business that they do.

    Its the same thing as a cook in someone elses restaurant muttering about how he does all the work and the owner is making all the money.

    Now he quits, and says "I can't afford a kitchen, but I am sure I can sell food... does anyone know who I can get to cook food for me until I can get a skillet??"

    Sounds silly, doesn't it.

    If you don't have a printer, or any equipment... and you don't have (or cant borrow) a big wad of money... then the only thing YOU actually will be doing is selling and maybe doing layout design. The catch is that if you don't do alot of selling then you have nothing to design! So the nuts is that you are suddenly now an outside sales person.

    Did you do outside sales at FDEX/KNKOS??

    You CAN make it... but you have to understand that you can't sit at home waiting for the phone to ring. You have to get up every day (just like a lion in the Africa) and go out and start chasing gazelles (customers) or you will not eat tonight!

    Think about your original post...
    You didn't MAKE them alot of money. NOPE!! You COST them alot of money. Employees are overhead and an expense item. They MADE money by building a business model that generates SALES. Whether YOU were there or not had ZERO impact on whether they made money. In fact, you've been gone a while now and I bet they are still in business.

    I am not bashing you.. I want you to be successful, and actually running and managing the business is the hard part NOT printing the decals and designing banners.

    For my positive contribution..

    I recommend a Mutoh Valuejet 1600 series, and a 24" graphtec CE5000, and a big squeegee or two. Get a BIG smooth work table. If you have to job out prints I suggest a relationship with any of the wholesale vendors here, but also a couple LOCAL sources when you need a quick turnaround. Identify who your suppliers are going to be. Set your prices HIGHER than FDX.
    Last edited: May 9, 2008
  11. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

    Jun 8, 2005
    Sunny Florida
  12. wildside

    wildside Very Active Member

    Aug 28, 2005
    i have a problem with that statement, THEY made alot of money while you were working for them

    they paid you very little for a reason, once you get going on your own, and start hiring you will realize it is not about they made a million but only paid me 20k, there is a reason for it and you will learn soon enough

    good luck to you, just make sure you are doing this for the right reasons, and being self employed means you will be paid well below minimum wage and have the privilege of working any 14 hours of everyday you want:thumb:
  13. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    Welcome from PA........................
  14. SignosaurusRex

    SignosaurusRex Major Contributor

    Mar 7, 2007
    Washington State
    Welcome Aboard! No offense, but Your name (if thats what you are going by) would make me think that you produce illuminated signs. Secondly, If you charge the same or less than F**Ex-Kinky's you will quickly find that you are running up hill backwards. You think you worked long hours when you were with them.....you only got a taste of what it takes, especially if you are just starting out. I wish you luck and congratulate you on your decision to become self employed.......You, like everyone else, have the right to pursue the successes and miseries of this business too. :thumb:
  15. GregT

    GregT Very Active Member

    Welcome from PA, again.
  16. OneUpTenn

    OneUpTenn Active Member

    Sep 23, 2007
    Welcome to a great forum...from Tennessee!!!
  17. jdb

    jdb Active Member

    Apr 26, 2007
    Welcome. Get ready to suck in your gut, pinch pennies, work like never before, loose sleep, stress out and learn, learn, learn. Maybe in a few years you'll show a profit and be successful in the ever changing new world of computerized sign making. Lots of luck!
  18. ndemond

    ndemond Active Member

    Nov 6, 2007
    I see we have a new smiley guy. That one is perfect. It is how I always feel. Now just need a cold beer and I am set.


    Sorry back to regular programing.
  19. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

    Jun 8, 2005
    Sunny Florida
    Couldn't help myself :smile:
  20. RSR571

    RSR571 Member

    Jan 23, 2008
    We started with a 24" graphtec cutter and it worked out really good. We found a company that would do all of our prints. 2 years later we sold that and bought a 54" graphtec cutter with cash and now a year later we have 2 cutters a printer and a laminator and just moved into a new building. Like others have said the easy part of this industry is making the product & you know how to do that allready from your last job. There is plenty of work out there but you will have to go and get it and make sure you get a good price structure do not try to lowball your way into this industry you'll price yourself right back to K*nkos. Good luck and congrats on the new baby.

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