Large offset printing press

4 Sure-Fire Profitable Printing Business Ideas

The advent of technology has paved the way into making our lives easier, more convenient, and even profitable. Aside from revolutionizing the way we communicate and connect around the world, technology has also helped create business opportunities for many people.

This can mean different things for many people. Some were able to find jobs online, while others used technology to create an offline business such as a printing business. But just how successful can a printing business be?

What Is a Printing Business?

On average, a printing business owner can earn around $100,000 a year. This isn’t guaranteed and there’s no promise of success, but like any business, there’s a chance you can earn this or much more if you play your cards right.

Printing businesses or printing shops are places where people can go to print materials. Some printing shops only specialize on certain types of prints.

For example, most printing shops may only offer printing on papers, posters, or business cards. Other printing shops can print on t-shirts, mugs, and other souvenirs. And more specialized printers offer 3D printing services to create 3D objects.

Why Is It a Good Idea to Build a Printing Business?

A printing business, whether big or small, will always be an in-demand business. In fact, there are a lot of commercial printing services available to cater to the needs of their clients.

For example, printing businesses that offer regular printing services can be successful if they establish a shop next to a school or office building. Printing shops near offices can also take advantage of souvenir printing, especially if they can print on items like t-shirts, pens, and notepads.

There will be at least one printing service that will cater to different types of businesses and industries. Plus, it does not require years of experience or investing in a large amount of capital to build a printing business.

The printing industry is also simpler to create. With just a few printer units, printing materials, hiring a couple of printing personnel, and some training in using the printer, you can now be all set in starting your own printing business. Aside from traditional printing, customized printing is also in demand nowadays. It gives clients the opportunity to have customized outputs that satisfy their personal and commercial printing needs.

Printing business ideas

But before starting a printing business, it is important to do your own research first. There are a lot of resources online to give you an idea of how a printing business works. Most of the time, these ideas work and prove profitable. Here are some printing business ideas you may want to try.

T-shirt printing

You may have found yourself in awe with some t-shirt designs and how it was designed and printed. T-shirt printing won’t go out of style anytime soon. After all, who doesn’t wear at least one t-shirt in their lifetime? Definitely, everyone owns at least one t-shirt. As a t-shirt printing business owner, you can experiment with designs and printing process that your customers will surely love.

Screen printing

This is a versatile printing solution that can cater to all printing business owners. Aside from t-shirt printing, you can also use screen printing on shopping bags, paper, metal, glass, ceramic, and other kinds of printing materials. The more options you offer, the more customers you can have.

Mugs and promotional items

Printing on mugs and other promotional items are very much in demand, especially in the corporate business sector. For one thing, a lot of corporate companies opt to provide customer freebies bearing their logo, contact details, and services provided in an attempt for customer awareness and retention. At the same time, items such as mugs, key chains, eco-bags, and more are practical items that can be used every day.

Paper prints

Man working in printing house

This includes company business cards, greeting cards, post-its, notebooks, stickers and decals, signage, and banners among a few. There are many design options you can apply and paper materials you can choose to use for printing. It also helps in creating brand awareness among customers. Plus, it’s affordable and practical to use.

These are only some of the most popular commercial printing applications being used nowadays. It can help other businesses in terms of brand awareness and recall. At the same time, these items can be practical for use in our daily lives. Indeed, commercial printing is a win-win situation for both the service provider and its clients.

Cost of Opening a Printing Shop

Although it may seem like operations are fairly simply, setting up a print shop isn’t fast or easy. Like any smart business, it’s important to layout a business plan, discover your business’ strengths, and plan ahead for its potential weaknesses.

The cost of opening a printing shop can start at $146,000 and reach up to $400,000, though it may be higher depending on factors like your location, how much supply you expect to use, and what kind of printing services you offer. This investment should get you:

  • A location to start your business;
  • Electrical upgrades;
  • Equipment (aside from the printer, this also includes computers, copiers, laminators, and other equipment found in a print shop);
  • Editing and printing software;
  • Marketing and advertising;
  • Business insurance;
  • Website & social media;
  • Franchising (if you want to use the name or operate under an already existing printing shop brand, you will have to pay a franchise fee; once operations begin, a percentage of your profits will go to royalties).

Once you begin operations, expect the following to be a part of your ongoing expenses:

  • Software upgrades or if your software has a monthly renewal fee;
  • Equipment leasing fees (if you choose to rent equipment instead of buy it);
  • Maintenance and repair expenses;
  • Marketing fees;
  • Supplies and materials (e.g. paper, ink, folders, staplers);
  • Utilities;
  • Payroll costs;
  • Insurance premiums.

Tips to Make Your Print Shop Successful

Here are some tips to making your print shop stand out and become successful.

  • Pick a good area. While print shops can be a lucrative business, one factor that affects its success is the location. In business districts, for example, there are plenty of printing shops in the area and most people do not want to go out of their way to have their documents or items printed. Renting a commercial space in a busy street may be expensive, so check if the expected sales can more than offset the higher costs.
  • Identify your target market. This can also help you determine what kind of printing services you should offer. For example, if you’re setting up a print shop near a university, you can expect many people to have their thesis, papers, organization t-shirts, and photocopies done. This means that you know which equipment to buy, and even additional services (bookbinding, laminating, photocopying) you can offer to increase your income.
  • Offer online and delivery services. One way to stand out in a sea of print shops in your area is to widen your scope by providing your services online and offer document delivery. This is a good idea in this digital age, considering the convenience that customers do not have to walk to your store to do business with you. They won’t mind an added charge for this convenience, though consider waving these fees if their order reaches a certain amount.
  • Expand your products and services. Think ahead to what your customers will need and offer more than just printing services. For example, offering to staple their papers is commonly free, but you can also put their printed files in a folder or envelope for an extra fee. You could also offer bookbinding or laminating services so that it saves them the hassle of going to another store to have it done. This, on top of the possible delivery service, can make you the convenient choice of printing shop.


Printing shops are still a lucrative business, but only if you put in the effort and play your cards right. There are always ways to keep innovating and becoming a competitive shop for a successful business.

The Author

Scroll to Top