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Printing business is one of the viable business to start in Malawi. Not everyone has a printer or a photocopier at home.
Hence, this means many other people will need someone to do printing and photocopying services for them.
In this post I will share you what you need to do to start a printing business in Malawi.
To effectively run a printing and photocopy shop in Malawi one needs not only equipment but also necessary computer skills.
Printing Business Equipment
Sourcing suitable equipment is the most important part in starting a printing shop in Malawi.
Good equipment is a necessity for quality prints that satisfies customer needs and beats the competition on the market.
When starting it is possible to buy all new equipment if the budget allows.
However, it is cheaper to start using second hand equipment that is in good condition.
The most important thing is to have enough functioning equipment.
Every printing business shop requires a minimum of a computer. Computers; desktops or laptops are core devises that every printing shop must have.
Used desktops are relatively cheaper to buy than laptops.
Further to that my observation is that desktops endure the pressure in printing shops more than laptops. I would therefore advise any interested person to buy a desktop for business instead of a laptop.
They are also more durable hence; they are favored by many people in the business. A computer for use in a printing and photocopying shop should have a large disk space and fast processing speed.
Security software should be installed to ensure protect document loss from computer antiviruses.
Printer and Photocopier
The other useful equipment in a printing shop are printers and photocopiers. Printers are commonly categorized into two; LaserJet and ink jet. LaserJet printers are more suitable for business because they are easy to maintain.
Many business people like LaserJet printers because it is cheaper to refill toner cartilages than ink cartilages.
Inkjet printers are cheaper to buy but they are costly to maintain.
While on the other hand Laser printers are costly to buy but cheaper to maintain.
To make the cost of printing even cheaper it is good to learn how to refill cartilages. Self-refilling of cartilages hugely reduces cost of printing per page. Hence, it increases profit margin.
Multi-functional printers have the capacity to make prints, photocopy, and scan.
However, when using mono printers it means the business owner should buy a standalone scanners.
A scanner is used to scan documents such as logo’s, pictures and other printed pages.
A laminator is another optional equipment to have in a printing shop. This is the devise to laminate, to coat prints with a protective plastic. They come in different sizes with A4 being the most common.
Paper binding is a common service that people look for when they go to printing shops. It allows putting together several pages into a single document.
Simple binding is done by stapling papers with a heavy duty stapler and tightening it colored seal tape. To make the covering durable thick paper commonly known as “bold” is used as document cover.
Alternatively, a spiral binder is used to make spiral binding. This involves punching holes on the paper edges. Then a spiral is stitched into the holes and holds the document together.
Others Useful accessories
- At least one lightweight and one heavy duty stapler machines
- A4 plain paper for start up
- Electric extensions
- A fan for cooling during hot days
Working benches and Chairs for customers
Working benches are important for proper keeping of computers and all peripherals. Beyond that, good display of computers and other materials in the shop is partly a marketing strategy.
They can either be made of wood or glass. The working benches must be strong to withstand heavy pressure from the equipment it supports.
Make sure to have at least a chair for customers.
The list above is a brief on the basic equipment to have in a printing shop. If necessary other equipment must be added in the shop to address rising needs of the target customers.
A part from having enough printing and photocopying equipment the business requires having some other resources to succeed. Below are some of the most important resources.
The importance of a good location cannot be underrated. Having a shop at an appropriate place is a key to attracting customers.
A good place is a place where there is high demand for the service. In choosing the place for a printing shop also considers the possible completion.
Places conducive for printing business include areas near academic institutions like colleges/universities, secondary schools, central business areas, and busy markets where there is a lot of paper work activities.
A spacious shop is necessity for a printing and photocopy business. The shop should have enough room to accommodate all materials.
In addition to that there should be enough space where all people in the shop should seat. The shop should further more be well ventilated and lit.
Cost for starting a printing and photocopy shop in Malawi
The total cost for starting a printing shop varies depending on how much it takes to have the necessary equipment and materials together.
However, allow me to give a simple breakdown on the expected cost. Take note that prices fluctuate hence the budget below is simply for demonstration.
My assumption is that of buying a combination of fairy used or new affordable equipment suitable for a small capital.
Sample Budget for printing business in Malawi
- 1 Set of Desktop computer at K100 000
- 1 Multifunctional LaserJet printer at K120, 000
- 1 A4 Laminating machine at K25 000
- Spiral binding machine K20 000
- Renting a shop with electricity K20 000
- Wooden work benches K20, 000
- Chairs K15, 000
- A carton of A4 plain papers at K16 000
- Electric extension K7 000
- Light weight Stapler and heavy duty staple machine at K13 000
Total Startup cost = K 360 000
As already said, this is an ideal budget. The actual total startup cost may vary depending on several reasons. It can either be higher or lower than the one above.
Registering the business
Registering a business is also important thing to consider. The article How to Register Business in Malawi explains some important steps as well as benefits of registering a business in Malawi.
Over to you, let me hear from you in the comment section below.
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