I had only a couple of regular clients who I transitioned off to a friend who runs a professional printing setup and decided to shut shop.
Essentially, it never got to a stage where I could hire someone and on the few days orders would come in, it would throw a spanner in my day to get the order fulfilled and shipped.
It was an amazing experience though. And very unit-profitable (so if you want to start something like this, ping me and I'll share details).
However, was not for me. In hindsight, not for me in a side-project sort of manner. I would have to give it a large push and move full time on it and make some investments to get it off the ground and I did not feel that was my calling.
Also, maybe not a product market fit.
To be consumer centric, I would need to reduce the pricing from Rs. 6 per page to about Rs. 2 - 3 per page and also be OK to print a lot of copyrighted stuff which I was not happy to do.
And for business users who are making money from their printing and are happy to pay for that convenience, there are already organisations that cater to them at a better price point.
C'est la vie and onwards to the next adventure! :)
Got a new paid order today. The customer found us by searching online -- on the internet! Yay!
Even though I am running paid ads on Facebook (a very small budget) and seeing good click throughs, haven't had a paid gig conversion as yet. Some 13K impressions / 7K reach and 250+ clicks in 3 days with ads running only for certain localities in my city.
Going to let this run for a bit - atleast till 10 days and see what happens. (Today is day 3 I think).
Anyways, this was pretty cool. I asked her how she found out about us and she said - she searched online. So, yay! Again!
I expect this to be slow.
Also learnt that this was a print job for a festival she was organizing in her neighbourhood. A written quiz for kids - so I offered her a 50% discount if she would let me print a little message - an ad - on the back of the pages. She agreed.
Let's hope this helps spreading the word - a little.
I think word-of-mouth is going to factor in big time here!
Our third order from the same customer came in today. All the three were large-ish orders and I need to find more people like her :)
Also started Facebook ads today. Going to run it for 10 days. They are highly targeted to a few localities in my city. Just concentrating on local orders at the moment even though I can deliver cross-country.
Let's see how that goes.
Received our 2nd paying order today. I know you are thinking this is probably, extremely slow -- but I am stoked! Being a side hustle, I want to take it slowly anyways.
Still buying all our supplies in retail - so margins are currently low - but still in black :)
The other awesome bit is that it is the same customer as earlier. Which means we are providing something of value.
Received our first paying order. It was a large order as well. Another small consultancy in Pune wanted some material (spirally bound booklets) printed for a workshop they were running.
Was able to test out the entire operation with this order. Payment gateway, printing, binding as well as delivery. All went smoothly and customer was happy with the quality we are offering and convenience of same-day delivery.
Tweeted about the site and also shared on Facebook. Have been receiving good feedback on the site, etc. but no orders as yet.
Which is fine, because I want to take it slow anyways.
One thing I am realizing is that I need to improve the messaging of the website and posters. People think that I have started a large, printing shop (think brochures, photos, large scale printing) as compared to just a venture that does home-printing. Reports, journals, etc.
Will need to work on this messaging.
Ran some numbers and figured I can do this for a more reasonable cost ($0.09 / INR 6.5 with profit) and also offer same day deliveries after tying up with another company doing local deliveries.
Used WordPress for this for now and setup a shop, bought a colour printer and got the site up and running.
The process is still a bit manual - people upload their documents on to our site, we check the page count and send an invoice which they need to settle after which we print and ship.
But for now, I think that is good enough. Might automate down the line.
Need to get the word out slowly.
We have put of purchasing a colour printer even though we sometimes feel the itch (school projects, printables, etc). We have a black & white inkjet which we make do with.
However, this weekend, we wanted to get a 60 page colour prints for our daughter and I set out to a few local shops which did this kind of printing.
Was in for a shock when I realised the standard rate is INR 10 / page ($0.15 per page). A 60 page printable was coming to ~ $9 which was a lot more than what we wanted to pay.
In addition to this, you had to actually step out of the house, find a shop which does this and then wait while it happens (there is no Staples here).
Tweeted a startup idea here:
After not finding any service which did this and receiving some interest from a few folks, decided to launch this myself!
Owing and maintaining a colour, inkjet printer in India is both expensive & painful. Getting colour prints from shops is also time-consuming & expensive. We deliver fair priced, same-day print outs to your home.