How can sublimation businesses successfully turn revenue into profit?

As with any business, making a career in sublimation printing is only practical if it can adequately turn revenue into profit. There is no bigger disappointment than sinking personal savings or going into debt to foster a business that isn’t successful. Miscalculations or letting small expenditures slip through unaccounted can drastically affect how efficient your business runs and how it will grow.

Operational overhead is the cost of keeping your doors open. Your business’ rent, phone service, internet access, utilities, licenses, and other requirements are considered your overhead. To properly calculate this figure, you also need to include what you and your employees will need to earn to make it worth your while. Once you have an accurate estimate of your company’s overhead, you can determine how much your company needs to earn annually and break it down further to weekly and hourly requirements.

Also, consider how often you want to work. Will you be taking certain holidays off? Will you be working five days a week or taking an annual vacation? If so, you need to figure in that time. Let’s say you need to earn about $60,000 a year to satiate overhead costs but will only be working 48 weeks. That means your business needs to profit a minimum of $1,250 a week to maintain stability. Breaking that figure down even more, you can conclude that you need to make $250 per day for a five-day work week.

When determining production capabilities, it is pertinent to remember our three parts of printing: setup, production, and backend/finishing work. Although you may account for the cost of sublimatable blanks, you also need to consider set-up time and the cost of paying employees who are putting in the labor to materialize the final product. Sublimation press times are relatively well defined. You can evaluate production costs and include that in our pricing estimate. Furthermore, you need to account for the time you aren’t producing. Downtime is detrimental because when you are not outputting, you aren’t making money. Time is money.

To counter excess cost, buying in bulk is recommended. Buying in bulk is used to battle production costs and can be useful if the items you buy are frequently used. If you buy bulk items that you rarely use, you could have invested the money needed elsewhere. If these items are sitting on a shelf unused, think about the paid rent it takes to house that item. Consider staging jobs so your machines and time are used most efficiently. Why waste time and energy creating one product at a time if you can use the same amount of energy to produce 10 or 20?

Sublimation is an incredibly rewarding business if managed properly. Few careers can fulfill the heart of an artist with the mindset of a businessman. With dedication, business strategy, and sensible spending procedures, a person can easily grow from a garage company to owning multiple printers and being worth millions.

—Condé’ Systems

Nichole Barnett

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Charlie Fox

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