How to start a small printing & copy service business

Updated February 21, 2017

If you are looking for a way to make money operating a small business, consider starting your own copy and printing business. If you know how to work with printers, how to format documents and have decent customer-service skills, it might be just the right business venture. Other small businesses and professionals are constantly seeking to outsource their larger-scale printing and copying needs to a print shop. Whether you decide to open your own shop downtown or work out of your home, your business could fill a niche in the community.

Check on the local business laws in your state. If you open a storefront location, you probably will need to file for a business license and a permit to legally operate a business. Running a small business out of your home may not require the same legal formality, but it's best to check on the laws in your state.

Set up your equipment. You will need at least two commercial-size colour printers and a colour copier, or a combination printer and copier. A fax machine or faxing function built into an all-in-one device also would be helpful. You could buy new equipment or find used equipment from business sales and classified ads.

Organise your supplies. You will need toner and ink, paper in various sizes, and card stock if you plan to print business cards, invitations, or post cards. You should have access to a computer to view and format digital documents, and a laminating machine. Collating supplies such as staplers, paper clips, and bulldog clips also will be useful.

Compile a menu of services you plan to provide, and create a price list. The menu should be printed and available to customers. The services list should be included in all advertising for your business. Offer as many services as you can handle.

Print up business cards for your business and market to other small businesses in your area. Advertise online and in the local paper and Yellow Pages. Clearly state your services, and offer a discount to new customers and to new-customer referrals.

Things You'll Need

  • Copiers
  • Printers
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About the Author

Sara Melone is a mother of three and a graduate of UNH. With prior careers in insurance and finance, photography, as well as certifications in fitness and nutrition, Melone draws directly from past experience and varying interests. She contributes with equal passion to birth journals, investment blogs, and self-help websites.