How to Achieve a High ROI on Your UV Printer

A strategic approach for business success.

Embarking on the journey of UV printing requires careful consideration and planning, beginning even before the purchase of your UV printer. Investing in a production-level UV printer typically starts at around $30,000 to $40,000 in upfront costs and demands a strategic mindset. Expecting a solid production lifespan of five to 10 years, you should anticipate scaling quickly if you get focused and keep it running. This investment is not for hobbyists; it requires a well-thought-out business plan.

A successful plan involves identifying a target customer base aligned with your interests and market needs. Whether it’s hunting and fishing enthusiasts, golfers, sports parents, or corporate professionals, leverage your connections and experiences to determine your niche. Without a clear plan and defined goals, it’s going to take you longer to get your return on investment from the UV printer.

Take your time to develop a comprehensive attack plan for your identified market. Create products that you believe in — ones you have designed, made, tested, improved, and genuinely love. This ensures that your offerings reflect the quality and style your target customers will appreciate. If you’re not ready to dominate with a product that you’re passionate about, go back to the drawing board until you have the perfect product.

Once you’ve identified your target market and perfected your product, your company is poised for explosive growth and opportunity. Precise marketing efforts can now be directed, and your company gains a distinct identity. This doesn’t mean you can’t sell to other customers, but your marketing should be focused and purposeful.

At PDS Equipment, we’ve witnessed numerous startups transform into major players in the UV print space. The key to their success lies in specializing — focusing on three to four different products that align with their plan and ideal customers. This strategic approach gives them the freedom to decline products and customers that don’t fit into their business model.

For instance, let’s explore the optimization of UV printing processes for personalized wood products, ideal for personal gifts, home, or office decor. Wood products, being cost-effective, versatile, and durable, present a myriad of opportunities for high-margin items, such as ornaments, door hangers, earrings, and more.

20240112 124317 jpgHere are the steps for optimizing the UV printing process for personalized wood products:

  • Blank selection:
    • Choose the best sizes of blanks for stocking and cutting with laser or CNC.
    • Consider buying blanks in bulk for better pricing.
  • Workflow strategy:
    • Determine whether to print first and then cut or vice versa based on your equipment capabilities.
    • Utilize registration cameras for precise cutting if available.
  • Product customization:
    • Explore personalized designs for wood products, catering to various themes like seasonal holidays, spirituality, motivation, humor, or basic decorative elements.
  • Market focus:
    • Focus on small, personalized items with high margins, such as Christmas ornaments during the holiday season.
    • Capitalize on the versatility of small, lightweight items that are easy to ship and can be made from scraps.

By thinking small and personalized with your UV printer, you can maximize profits and create a scalable business model. The following are a few examples of how quickly you can achieve your return on investment with a UV printer if you get it focused on the correct product for the perfect customer.

Tumbler ROI

Using Polar camel 20-oz tumblers on the Mimaki UJF-7151 Plus II printer, we can do 32 full color variable tumblers every nine to 10 minutes. Cost of the tumblers are around $5 to $6 per cup depending on the quantity you order. A personalized full color tumbler will retail for around $20 to $30 per cup.

  • 32 blank cups at $6 each = $192
  • 32 full-color personalized tumblers at $25 each = $800
  • Nine-minute profit potential = $608
  • Profit percentage of 316%

16” X 20” photo canvas ROI

  • Five-pack of Hobby Lobby 16” X 20” canvases at $12.99 = $2.60 per canvas
  • Full color wedding portrait retails for $80 to $150 per canvas
  • Five-minute profit potential on a blank canvas at $2.60 sold for $125 after ink cost is around $120 every five minutes.
  • Profit percentage of 4,700%

Name badge ROI

This is the best-kept secret in the graphics industry.

  • Blank name badges cost less than 50 cents per badge, including the magnet.
  • The retail cost of a personalized name badge with spot gloss is around $15 per badge
  • Profit percentage of 2,900%

As you can tell, the ROI on a UV printer is achieved very quick. This is why UV print is the most profitable segment of the print industry. The best news is UV print is a very scalable business model and will allow your company to scale and grow quickly.

steve weist head shot e1586957529853

Steve Weist

PDS Equipment

Steve Weist is the CEO at PDS Equipment. Steve started as a service technician installing Heidelberg and Komori offset presses. He has brought that level of precision into the UV inkjet world. Steve now focuses his efforts in the flatbed UV market because he feels it is unlimited and is the future of print and decoration. He can be reached at 615-812-3001 or steve@pdsequipment.com.

View all articles by Steve Weist  

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