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Question Square Foot Printing As A Business- Strategies?

Discussion in 'Sales, Marketing, Pricing Etc.' started by player, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. player

    player Major Contributor

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    I am wondering how this works...

    How does one price by the square foot. Just the image or material printed on, or all the material off the roll, printed or not?

    What if someone has something small? Are there minimums to this?

    Are there charges for file conversions, nesting graphics etc?

    What about turnaround times? I know the big trade printers offer same/next day but how does a smaller printer deal with the turn arounds?

    Any other thoughts and or suggestions are appreciated.
     
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  2. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    All the material. If someone prints a 12" x 120" decal that's 10 sqft. But even if you use a 30" roll you're wasting 25sqft of material. You won't always have something to print alongside it.... So charge for all of it. If it's a big order, figure out how much material it'll use and charge by the linear ft on a sqft basis. So you'll use 50 ft of 48" material? That's 200 sqft.... Even if it only takes up 150 in printed area.


    There's always shop minimums. If you sell a sqft of material for $2 a sqft... And someone wants a single decal... Isn't worth it to you to deal with the customer, write up the order, mess.with the artwork and print it / laminate it / cut it up for $2?... If a big good client wants a small decal well usually throw it in. But we won't touch any order under $75.

    File conversions / nesting gals under artwork. Charge an hourly rate for artwork and include everything in that rate.

    Turn around is whenever you can. Sometimes our roll to roll us busy and we can't make something for a week, where as we can still flatbed signs within the hour. We usually never over book, or over promise. Our turn around is typically 1-2 days after artwork approval... Right now we're at 5+ days and I've been doing 12 hour days to keep it at that, due to a few huge orders. We tell the client 5 days... But if we're printing on a certain material that a new order that cave in today uses... We throw it into the queue and the customer gets it early.

    There's anyways exceptions to every rule though. Every shop is different and have different capabilities. It's best to figure out your true costs and decide on which model / turnaround works for you.
     
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  3. player

    player Major Contributor

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    If the minimums are met, does it make sense to charge the printing price for the sqft of actual print, then charge the waste material at cost + markup?
     
  4. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

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    Makes more sense for the customer to pay for it than it does for you.
     
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  5. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    It depends on your minimum and how you do pricing. Most shops have a $50-100 minimum. If some guy walks in off the street and asks for one 4" circle decal.... You don't usually say "Sure, that'll be $100". You tell them there's a minimum... And they can order 20,50,200 or whatever you need to produce to get to that minimum depending on your pricing.


    [Edit]. Whoops... Misunderstood. You charge for whatever material you use + marKup. If it's a material you always have space and little waste on... You.dont need to. If you're busy enough most jobs will be like that.

    We generally.figure out a sqft cost... And add 20% for everything we print to factor in any wastage / crops / bleeds / etc. If it's a specialty material we have to bring in that will sit on our shelves.for a year.... They pay for.the whole order
     
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  6. player

    player Major Contributor

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    Not what I meant. I am suggesting charge the customer for the waste vinyl at cost + markup instead of full printed price on waste material not printed on.
     
  7. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

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    Oh got ya. I calculate it printed, its not much more cost and Im not wasting time figuring out the $2 difference.
     
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  8. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Member

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    The typical calculation uses the equipment time AND the required ml of ink, liquid lam, etc., require for sq ft as the factor(s). Roll-to-roll material is factored by the linear ft, however. Thus, the customer is charged fairly.
     
  9. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

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    People focus too much on media cost in my opinion.

    Find out your hourly cost to operate, including overheads, / rent, etc. your ink cost, and your material cost.

    Convert that into how much it costs you to print a linear ft of media... Take that value and decide how much profit you want and can get. In some areas you can double.. In some you can triple, and in some Joe blow across the street is making pennies an hour and screwing up the market, and if you go too high you won't get any work.

    Whatever you do, never go below the cost you figured out or you lose money and will be out of business like the guy across the street.

    You want to charge as much as people are willing to pay. If it costs you a dollar, but theyre willing to pay $100.... Would you still sell it for $2?

    We have a customer who manufactures airplanes and does all the warning labels on them. They just gave us an order for 15 different decals - 1x3" roughly....maybe $10 in material and an hour to set them all up, including print and cutting them... They paid $90 per decal. They have airplanes fly.in from across the world that need to be retrofited in 12-24 hours based on the airplanes specs. The decals need to meet certain FAA standards, such as size.. Color... Durability, etc... They're more than happy to pay such a high premium knowing we take care of everything, double check everything, and make sure they get their orders perfect and can count on getting the best quality and everything right the first time.

    Then we have some customers who cry and say $700 for a design and 8 decals installed on their vehicle is too much, then go across the street to the guy using calandered vinyl, who slaps their decals on so crooked you can see it from 20 ft away.

    Then there's some jobs like weeding small 1/8" text vinyl that we charge a "pain in the ***" to do fee.

    There's waaay to many variables to have someone tell you what you should charge and base your fees on.

    Check out signcraft. It's a good starter guide for how to price your products based on averages and how to calculate what you should price them at based on your costs. Some stuff is in line with what we charge... Some is way more, some is way less. It's a good read none the less!

    https://www.signcraft.com/sign-pricing/
     
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  10. player

    player Major Contributor

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    So there are different prices depending on the ink coverage? Would you elaborate on this?
     
  11. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Member

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    The printing process (in this regard) utilizes machine rate and ink by the square foot. Calculate the customer's sq ft requirements. The end product requires a length of material by a certain width of material. Calculate the linear foot required.

    As mentioned earlier, certain costs may be trivial for certain projects and then again, costs may be very important for others.
     
  12. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

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    Its inconsequential, youre talking pennies. Figure out a max cost and just use that number across the board.
    Ikarasu gave the best advice on pricing.
     
  13. White Haus

    White Haus Formally known as RJPW..........

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    I'll sometimes adjust pricing based on ink coverage. On small jobs I'll just use the high end ink/sqft cost but on larger projects it's worth having a look at actual ink consumption as it might surprise you. I'm talking the difference between some black spot text with white background vs. full coverage dark print on the whole area. It could vary from $0.05 - $0.60 a square foot.

    Not saying every jobs needs to be over-analyzed, and totally agree with/like what ikarasu is saying regarding pricing. Sometimes you can just go with your generic pricing and sometimes you can price it at whatever the customer is willing to pay. Good customers will be happy to pay for the service at any cost, as long as you always deliver and provide exceptional service.

    Not to go too far on a tangent, but on Wednesday we had a good customer call us up in a panic wondering how quickly we could make some signs for them. It seems that someone forgot to order signs for a construction project they were starting on the TransCanada highway. They're 2.5 hours away, in a different province. Their first phone call to us was at 3pm and by 6:30pm I met one of their drivers at a gas station on the highway with their signs. We ran (4) 4' x 8' dibond signs w/ high intensity reflective and cut vinyl graphics in the time that it took their driver to make it here from their shop, and that included me having to go buy the reflective from a local company. It was a all-hands on deck situation and involved everyone staying late but we got it done. That's what good customers want and will pay very handsomely for. Turned out to be a $3-4k job that took us 2 hours to produce, but we saved their a$$ and thanks to our efforts their site didn't get shut down. Those are the customers you want, not the ones that nickle and dime over square foot costs!

    To get back on topic, we don't discuss or use flat rate sqft pricing with our customers. We know our raw material costs for everything, but every job is custom. Might take a few minutes more to quote each job but it ensures that you know you're making good margins on every project. We factor in our material costs x markup, waste for webbing, machine time, and labor to come up with our pricing.
     
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  14. ColorCrest

    ColorCrest Member

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    A good example of good business.
     
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