Dispelling the Cost Concerns of Ink

Trying to save on ink can cost more in the long run

Most people are concerned about the cost of ink and how it affects their bottom line. Of course, everyone wants to keep costs as low as possible. When it comes to sublimation, however, the cost of the ink accounts for very little of your overall production. What’s more, trying to save on ink can cost more in the long run.

Let’s look at an example of printing a transfer for an 8-by-1-inch plaque with an SG800 printer, which is less than a penny per square inch.

Job time:

Artwork: 10 minutes

Production: 2 minutes

Total: 12 minutes

Overhead: $2.16 (Based on total $26/hour)

Ink Cost: $.50

Substrate: $7.50

Total Cost: $10.16

Margin ($30.00 Retail): $19.48

Based on these numbers, ink costs account for 5 percent of your production costs. The majority of your expenses are from the cost of the substrate and overhead. Even if you did not have to pay for ink, your increased profit would only be about $.50.

It makes more sense to look at where you can make your production faster and more efficient, or where you can save on shipping or substrate costs, than to look to save on ink prices. Using lower quality inks, too, can slow down production and leave you with wasted prints, costly repairs to your printer, and a lot of frustration.

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Julia Schroeder

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