tech planning

Sticker making seems like a great startup business. It is something you may be able to start with just a high-end printer. However, it is a competitive space, and you need to find your niche. Here are the top things to know before starting a sticker making business in order to maximize your odds of success.

The Limits of the Materials Involved

You can’t make good vinyl stickers or decals for bikes out of thin paper stickers that will fall apart the moment it starts raining. You don’t want to sell stickers for use in-store windows that will fade after a few days of exposure to sunlight. Understand the limits of all of the materials you’ll be using and how this relates to the customer’s needs. You may have to decline projects that you cannot adequately serve, but that is better than getting negative reviews because your product doesn’t meet their performance criteria.

You can save time by advertising the sizes and shapes of stickers you can produce since they won’t then ask you to make something larger than what your printer can print.

The Importance of Boring Business Requests

A lot of people look for exciting projects like designing bumper stickers for nonprofits and large stickers bought and distributed by bands. However, it is the boring business requests that are the bread and butter of your business. A sticker printer should seek out the businesses that need attractive yet affordable businesses that are putting them on plain paper bags and cardboard boxes to brand them. This isn’t exciting, but these types of requests are much more likely to lead to profitable long-term business contracts. Being able to make branded stickers for a small homemade food or beauty product manufacturer could result in future orders, as well.

The Value of Add-On Services

Suppose someone orders 500 large, colorful stickers to give away at a public event. Considering offering add-on services like incorporating those images into T-shirts and a large banner. This may require you to invest in additional equipment or find suppliers who can deliver on the same schedule you have to meet. But it allows you to increase the overall value you provide to your customers while resulting in more business.

For example, you could offer business cards to businesses asking you to create stickers promoting their new store opening. Or offer to make stickers that say “on-sale” or “discounted” for use in their new store.

The Importance of Research

Product pricing will make or break your business. If you price things too high, you will lose out to competitors. If you price things too low, you’ll lose money – and no one can stay in business if you continue to lose money. Furthermore, if you start by bidding projects too low, it is almost impossible to get them to pay the true cost later. Don’t make the rookie mistake of bidding work based on the cost of material and labor. You also have to factor in overhead costs from your rent to taxes to time spend on administrative work.

The Amount of Work You’ll Need to Do

This is not a matter of “build it and they will come”. You’ll have to spend time marketing your business to potential clients. Expect to spend time reviewing their designs and giving advice on color palettes or sticker shapes. There will be bad print jobs, and you’ll have to rerun them. You may make mistakes as you’re learning how to cricut or calibrate machines.

You’ll need to invoice your customers and ship some of the orders to the end-user. You will easily spend as much time working on your business as you spend printing stickers and showing them to grateful customers.