Start-up Graphics Biz for my Son

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pjcnlv

Guest
Hello all,

I am here to learn the basics to help my oldest (teenage) son start a vehicle graphics, sticker and sign business.

He is taking classes on Adobe Illustrator under my urging and has good computer literacy.

We are off-road racers and there is a market to make simple, cut, vinyl graphics in our community as well as sell simple, window stickers to his friends in high school.

I would like to start out simple with a decent cutter/plotter that we can rely on for simplicity and reliability. Our budget is around $750.

All help and guidance is appreciated.


Thanks kindly.
 

Sign_Boy

New Member
Welcome from NJ and :popcorn:

$750 is kind of low.

But good luck - I'd search around on here you'll find some valuable info.
You might urge him to start out at a shop somewhere to get hands on experience
and then move on from there.
Not trying to be mean
:popcorn:
 
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Bigdawg

Just Me
That's going to be really tough with your budget. You can buy a cheap chinese cutter on ebay, but you probably won't be doing your son any favors if you do. I know. I own one :smile:

You (and he) would be better off either finding a used "name brand" cutter or waiting until you can afford something better. In any case, with the cutter you will need some sort of software to drive it in addition to Illustrator.
 

curlyt

New Member
It is true $750 is a very low budget. Do some shopping around and you could get lucky and find all you will need for him to start-up.

You need:
Cutter (In your budget the Roland Stika 8 or 12 at the most or a cheap chinese made one.
Vector Software (good luck)
Vinyl Supplies: Basic Colors to Start at least, or you can order as you need them. Get a job, 50/50 payment terms. The first 50% gives some working capital, to buy the materials.
Squeegees
Craft/Xacto knives
Scissors
Transfer Tape

ummm...did I miss anything? Sure there are a LOT of things you could get that would make it easier, but this is the barebones of it. Hope you have good luck finding everything, I will be glad to help right now I am in a hurry closing shop here for the evening but be back tomorrow (saturday)
 

Flame

New Member
I was 15 years old and my budget was double that when I first started. Paid $850 for a used Graphtec 24" plotter, bought 8 colors of vinyl, an extra blade, some squeegees and CorelDraw... while a nice local signpainted gave me CoCut... and I was started.

I'd suggest raising your budget a little and get started on the right foot.

Best of luck!
 

Sign_Boy

New Member
My dad wanted me to be a doctor.
Needless to say he was very disappointed.


A Dr. for real? Don't you have your PHD here?

:thread

Back to the issue at hand.
Could he sub his work out to a local shop at first to try to raise some more working capital?
For example he would get the jobs "sales end" - Price it out to the client "please don't low ball, it's bad for everyone"
Then he could create the design and send it to a local shop to be cut or printed. They might even give him a deal if he starts sending them enough work.

Just a thought. Kind of Freelance
 
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pjcnlv

Guest
Wow, thanks for the immediate replies!

Let me clarify.

* I would like to keep our budget to $750 for the hardware and drivers. We already have AI. Of course any simplistic app thrown in is welcome.

* We know that "used" is the best value. Hopefully something simple as more serious business people upgrade.

* I really wanna stay away from anything Chinese.

Thanks again for the quick replies.
 
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SignTech

Guest
Wow, thanks for the immediate replies!

Let me clarify.

* I would like to keep our budget to $750 for the hardware and drivers. We already have AI. Of course any simplistic app thrown in is welcome.

* We know that "used" is the best value. Hopefully something simple as more serious business people upgrade.

* I really wanna stay away from anything Chinese.

Thanks again for the quick replies.

Realistically add one more zero at least to your budget and you'll be on your way.
 

Bigdawg

Just Me
That's what we're trying to say. $750 is not a reasonable budget for a cutter and the software to drive it unless the word chinese comes into it. Even used that's a very tight budget. Realistically you are looking at probably $2000 for a decent used cutter and co-cut to drive it from Illustrator.

You might find a Roland Sticka as previously mentioned, but 8 or 12" is a very small cutter.
 

Sign_Boy

New Member
Don't take this as rude or the wrong way but I'd ask your son a few questions first.
The only reason I say this is because I remember what I was thought in school
and most of it does NOT apply to vinyl - it's mostly print.

But I'm sure you have if you are posting this.
I would hate to see him get discourage if this is what he wants to do for a career.

Find out if he knows about closed paths and compound paths.
That's a start.
 

SignosaurusRex

Active Member
Good Luck to ya. If the boy is still in high school and needs coaxing...er, I mean urging still, Signboys first advice should really be considered. The boy will have a better chance of making it in this biz and not just being a "sticker-maker". Oh, and......Welcome Aboard
 

Sign_Boy

New Member
Good Luck to ya. If the boy is still in high school and needs coaxing...er, I mean urging still, Signboys first advice should really be considered. The boy will have a better chance of making it in this biz and not just being a "sticker-maker". Oh, and......Welcome Aboard


WOW stop the presses Rex agreed with me mark that date:thumb:

I feel honored for real:thumb:
 

coyote

New Member
Just my 2cents worth: you can get a Graphtec CE5000 (craft robo 15" plotter) but that will kill your entire budget at $900. This is the most inexpensive but real cutter that I've seen-very adequate for what you are discussing. It comes with it's own cutting software-it's complicated but it does work with Illy.

Raise your budget some-maybe let him mow some lawns, clean out some garages and earn enough to do it right. If you get something cheap or too old to work with your OS, you'll spend more replacing it.

I have seen Graphtec on EBay-how long do you want to wait til something comes up that's a good deal and that works correctly?

Spend a bit more up front, get the best tools for the job and spend time making money instead of fighting with your equipment.
Carol
 

mikefine

New Member
This is a great idea for your son, and probably a good industry for him to start. However, the start up costs for our industry, even at the level that you are inquiring is not $750.00. I know this wasn't your intent, but to suggest that on our forum is just outright insulting!

But since I also have a teenage son, I am glad to give some free advice. You might consider creating a business relationship with a local sign shop or one online that could facilitate the production of the decals and stickers. Have your son be responsible for the sales, marketing, designing, and management of the projects. This could be a great experience for him and frankly he could make some decent money to help him put an extra 0 on that budget.
 

Sign_Boy

New Member
You could contact a local supplier and ask them if they know of anyone selling second hand equipment.
Quite often shops upgrade and their sales reps will try to off load the equipment for them.
This could help you save some money and you will not have to worry about ebay.
 
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