Screen printing is the process of pushing ink through a mesh screen onto paper, wood, metal and much more to create a lasting picture. This method of printing has been around for a while, but recently started gaining popularity as people began viewing the actual process as “satisfying”. Because of this, screen printing businesses have become more profitable as well.
If you want to make a living off of screen printing then you’re on the right road for a comfortable life, but there is quite a lot of work ahead of you.
Before You Open the Business
This part is the most crucial, as it sets down the base of the actual business. If you don’t address these things we’re going to talk about then you will likely not succeed in this area.
Screen printing is a serious craft. And we all know that a good craftsman has a lot of experience in their field of work and that they have spent countless hours trying to perfect what they do. You need to adapt to this if you want your business to thrive.
If you skip practicing then there are some consequences. For example, your first products will end up being below average or simply bad. This wouldn’t be that harmful to your business if you were an established craftsman. But in this case, we’re talking about a beginner. A completely new workshop. If you don’t know how damaging bad reviews can be for new businesses then we highly suggest not trying it out. Instead, take our word: make sure you do good work before selling products made by you.
On another note, it can do wonders for a new business if you sell above average items. The word will quickly spread around and you will gain customers each time someone if satisfied with your work. And of course, this means more money and a more successful business.
Follow the Trends
If you are still in your practice phase then make sure that you don’t just stick to old methods and techniques. Look up the new trends and learn the ropes. Adapt to the new styles and embrace the change. Your customers don’t know what goes on in the workshop (exactly), all they know is what they want. If you can’t deliver that because you refuse to adapt then you will constantly lose business.
On the other hand, if you regularly check what’s going on in the world of screen printing then you can learn a few tips and tricks. A few extra chemicals can make a difference. Something you might miss out on if you just stick to the old ways.
Make the Correct Purchases
This is a given. You need certain equipment to start out, which will usually cost about $10,000 or less, plus a good amount of shirts which could cost a couple hundred. And that’s only what you need to use on a daily basis.
Then come things like an advertisement. If you want to set up a professional website then you can do it for around $300, but if you would rather go with traditional advertisements (like fliers, magazines, radio ads, & business cards), then you will need to spend a lot more. Up to $1000 if you want your marketing strategy to work.
Screen printing is a business that is relatively cheap to start up. So make sure that you don’t try to make it extra cheap by purchasing things that are not of quality. That goes double for machines. Remember: if you buy it too cheap then you will need to buy it once again.
Establish Your Workshop
Make yourself seen. Give your business a name. Let it have an identity.
These 3 things are the core of making people realize that you’re not just one out of a million. You are you. Not some no-name, random workshop worker that only works to get by. Make sure people know what you do and why you do it. Your motivation is important, don’t forget that. So even if you have to lie, you need to catch the attention of customers.
Set up some social media profiles and get followers. Facebook and Twitter work best to attract new customers and to talk to them (which can be crucial). But of course, if you have a public profile where you openly accept reviews then people will trust you more to begin with.
Legalities and Finances
This is the nitty-gritty of it all. You need to register your workshop as a legal business entity, so you won’t be personally held responsible if your business is sued. It protects you, so make sure you don’t skip this.
Once you legally become a business owner you need to register for taxes. Depending on where you’re from it can vary greatly, but you can easily find guides online for every country.
Then you will need a business bank account and a business credit card. By doing this you will clearly see how much you earn and how much you spend (which will also make it easier to do your taxes). The credit card is a different thing entirely though, it’s the main purpose is to help you build credit. This way you will have a more reputable business in the eyes of the bank and they will give you better deals if you decide to take out a bigger loan.
And the main thing is… You need to have business insurance. This can protect you and your equipment, but if you plan to hire people then it might even be a requirement, depending on where you live. Either way, it’s always best to have insurance.
Get Your Permits and Licenses
We can’t give you exact information on this one, unfortunately. You will likely need to check most of this online and look up the certain things you will need for a screen-printing business.
But we do know one thing. If you plan to rent a place where you want to set up your business then you will need to talk about this with the landlord. They need to obtain a certificate of occupancy that will allow you to run your workshop on their property.
If you use your own land or property to start up your business then it’s your responsibility to obtain this certificate. Without this little documentation, your business is completely illegal and will not be allowed to operate.
Starting up the Business
Let’s say that you have the shop ready. You have the entire thing furnished accordingly, it’s visible from the outside and you have taken every step we have talked about before. So, what do you need to do to actually start doing business?
Give people fliers or put them up in places where there are a lot of people. Tell the magazine, radio channel or television channel you paid that they can get your ads running. Just go all out.
Do everything that you can to get your name out there.
Be Active on Social Media
This is crucial to attracting and keeping customers. If you already have profiles on Facebook and Twitter then good for you, but that’s not enough. You need to generate content on it. Things like pictures of your work, asking for opinions can easily help you gain some reputation.
And don’t forget to remind satisfied customers to leave a review. It will do wonders because people who haven’t used your services will trust you a lot more. Even if you have very few reviews.
Check out Your Competition
You don’t need to stalk them or try to get their business secret. This kind of competition isn’t that serious, so sometimes it can be enough to just go in and… Ask. A lot of business owners will gladly help out newbies to let them have a go at the craft. They will probably give you some tips that can help you along the way.
The worst-case scenario is that they don’t tell you anything. In this case, just don’t worry about it. They aren’t good sports and never will be. This just means that you need to go to another place or simply buy one of their products to analyze it. Just look at the quality of it and see what you need to compete with.
Having friends in the field is a great thing. It can even get you some extra business if their work suddenly starts piling up because now they have someone they can ask to help out. Plus it’s always nice to know that you can also rely on someone if this is the case.
After Your First Few Customers
This is the most crucial part. It’s the time to get feedback and really start up your business by attracting more people.
Ask for Reviews
Make sure that you express that you want your customers to leave an online review. We have talked about this, it’s very important to have an online reputation.
But by this, you also tell customers that you value their opinion and that you want the criticism, which also means you want to improve. That’s always nice to see if you buy an item or receive a service. It builds trust with your already existing customers and the new ones.
You can always just ask for an opinion though. That’s good enough as well because this way people can tell you what they liked about your work and what you need to improve. It’s a great opportunity to learn about how your craft is perceived.
Show Off Your Work
This is the time to show the world what you do. By putting it out there and making people look at it you will gain some reputation. Someone will come across one of your works and say to themselves “This is exactly what I need!”. And boom, a new customer.
But if someone is researching your business then having pictures is a great thing. It clearly shows your skill and that you want people to discover what you do. Plus, if a future customer wants to know your work then now they have a way to do so. Especially so if that customer would rather not rely on reviews and your posts because they want to see what you can actually do.
Once You Have a Regular Stream of Business…
Yay, you have made it! You make a good amount of money and you have regular customers along with a couple of new ones every once in a while. It’s a great achievement to make a business succeed, but it’s not enough, unfortunately, as this condition is not stable at all. You still need to do things to make things easier on yourself or to keep yourself as far away from failure as possible.
Keep Your Social Media Active
If your online presence randomly dies out then so will your customer base that would discover you online. You lose will lose a ton of business over this, so it’s best to post every once in a while.
For Facebook, we recommend a post every one or two weeks and for Twitter, we suggest a tweet every day. Yeah, it’s a lot, but it will be worth it. Most algorithms on social media prefer profiles that post often and regularly, which means more exposure for you.
It’s one thing to know how to screenprint well. It’s another to be great at all aspects of it and being able to create perfect products.
By thriving to become better and improve your skills you will learn a lot of new things. These can simply make your job easier or they can improve the final product itself. Either way, you will benefit from constantly bettering yourself at this craft.
Keep Things Light
Be friendly towards customers and find joy in your work. Doing your job shouldn’t put a strain on you and shouldn’t be making you burn out. If you become so tired that your overall mood worsens then it’s time to take a break.
We all know that screen printing is a kind of art, but even that can get tiring after a while. Make sure you take care of yourself first, the business only comes second.
Starting a screen-printing business isn’t as hard as you think. Yes, this really was a huge wall of text, but once you start doing everything on this list you will quickly start checking things off of it. Done, done and done. Simple.
But in the end, the hardest part is always taking the first step. But we encourage you to take it.
Do you want to start your own screen printing business? Where did this desire come from? Tell us down in the comments below!