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To Go Digital or Not?

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by cinnamongirl56, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. cinnamongirl56

    cinnamongirl56 Member

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    Aug 22, 2008
    Hi I own a small sign shop in a rural area and do mostly vinyl or sandblasted signs and would like to know how to know when it is time to go to digital printing. I have one customer who would like to have pictures of his race car put on his car trailer but i don't have the equipment or know how yet, to do it and was wondering if it is worth getting into? How can I keep this customer if he wants digital pictures done(he needs 3 pictures done) ? Thanks for any help.
     
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  2. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    Find a good wholesaler (there are several on this board click on the Merchant Directoy on the left) and sub the prints out till you have the volume to do it inhouse, even then it may still be cheaper to outsource it.
     
  3. HaroldDesign

    HaroldDesign Very Active Member

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    Outsource until it looks like it would be more profitable to purchase equipment. Keep in mind there is an entire industry of people who do only vehicle wraps because it requires skills and experience specific to the trade. I think if you don't already know what equipment to use you may want to work for someone who does and gain some experience before contemplating making any purchase for one potential job or customer.
     
  4. Stay put for now!

    Last Jan. I brought my first digital machine. But prior to doing that I was outsourcing almost all of my work. When it reached a point of over $1500 a month, that's when we made our move not before than. Two years of outsourcing.
     
  5. cinnamongirl56

    cinnamongirl56 Member

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    that's good to know............I thought that also but hated to turn away customers but also didn't want the expense right now of buying more equipment...........Could you give me an idea of approx cost to get into digital printing I would like to know when it might be worth for me to invest.......What do you need to go digital......thanks for your help.......
     
  6. cgsigns_jamie

    cgsigns_jamie Very Active Member

    With a quality solvent printer, laminator, cutter, software, media, ink, setup and training you should budget about 30k - 50k
     
  7. cinnamongirl56

    cinnamongirl56 Member

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    Well I have only had maybe 3-4 requests last year but a job is a job and I don't want to have to say no to a customer. I am in Virginia and was wondering who you chose to sub out to if you can share that info.....thanks
     
  8. cgsigns_jamie

    cgsigns_jamie Very Active Member

    There are a ton of very good whole sale printers on this site, check out the Merchant Directory for the list. We subbed out our print work for about 6 years before the volume was enough to justify the cost of the equipment.

    Good luck!
     
  9. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    The main thing you will need is either the Adobe Creative Suite or the Corel Suite so you have access to an image editor such as Adobe Photoshop and a vector editor such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW.
     
  10. cinnamongirl56

    cinnamongirl56 Member

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    this information has helped me to make a decision and I really appreciate you taking the time to answer.........thank you
     
  11. TheSnowman

    TheSnowman Major Contributor

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    If I could go back in time and find this board before I went digital, I'd have waited. We only every now and then have jobs that have to be knocked out INSTANTLY. Most of the time we could see far enough out to sub it, and not have any problem.
     
  12. cinnamongirl56

    cinnamongirl56 Member

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    That's now what I think. I don't think I need to go digital yet because i don't believe it would be worth the expense yet..........so i am thinking I am going to wait and see. I was just afraid my business would be "left behind' if I didn't do it, so it is good to hear this from others. 98% of my customers are vinyl signs or sandblasted............
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  13. RebeckaR

    RebeckaR Active Member

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    I followed the advice that you have received here. Just about a year ago we added digital printing, primarily banners to our list of services offered.
    We outsource with one of the merchant members here. His turnaround is superfast, the quality is great and the prices make it so that we can make a profit on what we sell.
    Along with finding a wholesaler, you'll need to learn up on design for printing. It's a whole different animal than cutting vector files. You've got some pretty talented brains to pick here who are willing to help you.
    I really really REALLY want my own printer, and that's the goal eventually. But in the meantime, I'm building up the need for the printer so that it will pay for itself when I get it.
     
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