Photocopying and printing business is popular in Nigeria especially around school areas, post offices, immigration offices and areas where paper works are common. This business is usually a roadside business and for that, is being regarded as a low income business. Sincerely speaking, i thought so too till i had to try the business.
In this post, i will tell you how i fed myself in school, paid part of my school fees and was still living large with proceeds from printing and photocopying business.
Therefore, quote me that this business is a good start for someone who is looking for a small business to start with just a small capital. But it is not just enough to say a business is profitable without telling why. Below is a tip of what to expect from this business.
How Profitable is Photocopying and Printing business?
According to the current market statistics, the illustration below points out to what to expect from this business . I will have to explain this using an example.
A toner of a Laserjet printer costs NGN900 per bottle.
This toner bottle can print 6 reams of paper (each ream have 1,000 pages) i.e. 6000 pages.
Each ream of A4 paper is sold @ NGN1,700 i.e. 1,700 x 6 = NGN10,200
Cost of printing or photocopying 6000 pages = 10,200 + 900 + 50 (for stapling pins)
Photocopy recently is NGN50 and NGN100 for printing a page.
This means that you can make NGN30,000 to NGN60,000 with just NGN11,150 input.
I will categorically tell you that most business centers especially ones in school environments print more than 10 reams of papers for just one class handout – Just imagine that.
Do you also know that there is no cost for any scanned document that is charged NGN200 per page?
These and many more are profits from printing and photocopying business.
In summary, you will be the judge to tell if actually Photocopying and printing business is profitable or not with this simple example.
How I started my photocopying and printing business.
At a point in school when i was looking for a way to make extra cash. It happened that a handout of about 165 pages was to be photocopied for 207 students in our class. Then, each photocopied page costs NGN10. I sat down to calculate how much that will be enough to carry out the project. To my surprise, the money amounted to NGN341,550 i.e. (NGN10 x 165 pages x 207 students).
After all said and done, I was able to convince them and took the contract. I bought a HP Deskjet 1510 at the price of NGN16,000. I scanned the 165 pages and then printed out all the handouts.
Though, it was not easy because it was a small printing and photocopying machine. The challenges were;
- The cartridges’ get burnt out easily.
- It was a slow
- Wasted papers more than expected.
- The ink finishes easily
But at the end, i was able to save up some cash from the project.
This was the cost of executing the contract vs the profit made.
- Paper: A ream of paper contains 500 sheets (N800 per ream then). I needed 48 reams for the project but i bought 50 reams i.e. NGN 40,000.
- Refilling Inks: I got 10 packs at NGN 4,000 which was more than enough.
- Stapler: Big and small at NGN 3700 with stapling pins.
- HP Deskjet 1510 was bought at NGN 16,000 then.
Total expenses: 40,000 + 4,000 + 3700 + 16,000 = NGN63,700.
In that project alone, i spent less than NGN 100k and had over 200k left – It was as if i won lottery. I then took the bold step to buy bigger machines and printers especially HP Laserjets which use toners.
My profits using the commercial machines was massive which allowed me to expand into other services such as examination registrations such as JAMB, WAEC and other internet services. But, because i do not want this post to be too long, i will not go into details.
How To start the photocopying and printing business
This is one of the lucrative businesses you can start in Nigeria with low capital investment. Also, the steps involved in the start up process is not complex nor overwhelming. Below is a guide to starting a profitable photocopying and printing business in Nigeria.
Register the business
For every business whether big or small, we always encourage that business registration should be the first thing. This is to avoid disturbances from local authorities. Aside that, registering your business gives it a right to legal privileges. There are other plethora of reasons why your business should be registered.
The body responsible for business registration in Nigeria is the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Get your capital ready
Though printing and photocopying business does not require enough capital to start. But, you will need money to get a good location, register the business, buy machines and equipment and other miscellaneous expenses in the course of the business.
Therefore, a good plan for raising capital is to be put in place. There are many ways you can choose to raise a capital for you business.
Find a location
For any successful business, good location is one of the important prerequisites to ensure success. Again, each business have a type of environment where they thrive better. For instance, a Pharmacy shop and an automobile repair shop do not share the same location requirement.
So, where is the best location for a printing and photocopying business?
This business is good if situated close to where paper works are done regularly especially registration and documentation centers. The most common places are tertiary institutions, post offices, banking institutions, offices and commercial buildings.
Structure your shop
The structure of your printing and photocopying shop depends on your intended scale of operation. If you want something big that will include internet services such as examination registrations, document renewals and online application services, you will need to have a well furnished shop with desks and seats.
However, If you are only targeting photocopying and printing especially for students, all you need is a roadside umbrella, a table and your standby generator.
In essence, the way to structure your shop depends on the population you are serving and their needs you are to meet.
Get everything ready
Aside from getting your location and shop ready. There are other items which are necessary for the smooth running of this business. Below is a list some of these items;
Requirements to start a printing and photocopying business
- A stable desk strong enough to carry the machine and computer
- Constant power supply with standby generator
- Stapling machine
- Plain papers
- A laptop or Desktop computer
In addition to getting your shop and equipment ready, the management aspect of the business should also be ready, including human resources and finance.
This is important because, the weight of every business lies in the strength of the management system. Therefore, get your inventory registers, sales books, credit books and all the accounting materials ready before starting your business.
Do a little advertisement
Publicity, business promotion, advertisement and marketing are integral parts of every business that help to build more customers as well as trying to retain old ones.
It is always said that any business that nobody knows about does not exist. Therefore, you cannot expect someone to know that you have started photocopying and printing business if you have not told them.
You can start by printing flyers, telling friends or doing discounts for your new customers or loyal customers. As an example, i gave discounts to all course representatives because i know they can easily influence their classmates to work with me. Just design a marketing strategy of your own and stick to it.
You can read also our post on The 4P’s Of Marketing Mix and find a way to incorporate it into your business,
Expand your business
The dream of every business is growth. However, expansion of small businesses is limited by so many constraints, the most important being that they serve a group of people only in a specified location. Therefore, the services is restricted to a region.
However, you can expand your income by getting one person to pay you for more that one service. Example, someone maybe taking a bottle coke while waiting for his/work – you will earn from different places.
There are few services you can add to your photocopying and printing business which includes;
- Spiral binding
- Project typing, editing and printing
- Document scanning and sending
- Examination registration and result checking such as JAMB and WAEC
- Documents renewal such as driving license
- Form purchase such as School UTME, School entrance forms, job forms etc.
- Selling of Snacks such as soft drinks, meat pies, cup cakes etc.
In a nutshell, try to do other things that will drive people to your shop. The more the traffic, the more probability of a paying customer.
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