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  • How do I work out ink use cost?

    Posted by Leslie Anderson on August 29, 2022 at 8:21 am

    Morning guys.

    Sorry, it is another pricing question from me! 😳

    I have been adding £1.00 per metre when i work out my ink cost when i am pricing printed banners and vinyl. is this how you do it or is there a better way?

    Leslie Anderson replied 1 year, 8 months ago 8 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • Chris Wilson

    August 29, 2022 at 5:42 pm

    I would just work for your liner meter price. Inks such a low cost personally. Half the signs we fit we probably spend more on screws and fixings than we do ink. Margins shouldn’t be that small that it is noticeable.

    • David Hammond

      August 29, 2022 at 7:19 pm

      As above, in the grand scheme of things it’s tiny – Granted not when you’re buying a full set of inks.

      Your time finishing etc, overheads, etc are much greater. Generally we’re charging enough not to worry about costs down to the penny.

      Don’t go off what online trade printers are charging, they’re buying in bulk, their machines are faster thus can produce more volume. I’ve seen people try and compete with them with a 60″ latex.

  • Peter Cassidy

    August 30, 2022 at 12:38 pm

    i have always allowed for £2 per metre of print.

    i agree with the others that the costs are minimal, but if you have the following based on one metre.
    £5 of digi vinyl
    £5 of lam
    £2 of ink
    £4 for labour, setup, laminate and trimming
    you are at £16 just to break even. so it is helpful to know exactly what your production costs are.

    (made up figures of course)

  • Jamie Wood

    August 30, 2022 at 3:33 pm

    When we bought our first machine, many years ago, we were advised to charge £2.50 per square metre for ink. With all of the price increases since, we now charge more than that, and vary it depending on the coverage.

  • Richard Wills

    August 30, 2022 at 9:12 pm

    You may have software that with your printer that allows you to track ink usage different media. On our aqueous Canon, I can see sqM of the different media printed, and the ink used. Take a couple of months average of the ink used/ sqM and start to have a figure that reflects your actual costs.

    Then (assuming that your printer has accounting built in) try to match this against ink purchases from suppliers to take account for cleaning etc.

    Some jobs will be heavy load,
    some light, some middling. This helps you to not worry that a job is going
    to be a heavy ink load.

    Then add 15% per month to your quotes.

  • David Hammond

    August 31, 2022 at 7:43 am

    When I first started out, the ‘going rate’ was around £35.00 a square meter. Since then we’ve started charging per linear meter, and the price has increased substantially in some cases.

    Even now some might say £35.00 a meter is cheap, other expensive, here’s what that £35.00 has to cover.

    Our printer cost us over £10,000, let alone the laminator, cutters etc.

    Our rent is around £1000 a month,

    Our Electricity is increasing, but currently around £100 a month,

    Water bills each quarter

    Two wages a month + pension contributions

    Fuel & tax for the van

    Insurance & security alarm

    Accountancy Fees & software

    Our machines aren’t running 24/7, they can go a few days without running at all, and how I pay for all of the above is by printing sticky back plastic, and sticking it to things, and charging good money for it.

    When I get a notification that prices are increasing 7% and you see people complaining, face it, on a £200, 50m roll of vinyl, it’s a £14.00, or 28p a meter. Is it really the end of the world? Yes we pass it on but it’s not going to break the bank.

    There is a huge flaw in simply looking at the cost of materials when pricing, because it cost you £3.00 and you sold it for £6.00 doesn’t mean you’ve made £3.00. Granted there are expetions, but generally these don’t apply to smaller companies, unless it’s a ‘product’ you’re selling, or at volume.

    I’m sorry if I’m teaching people to suck eggs, but I do speak to other signmakers, who are adding tiny margins to jobs they buy in, and not making enough to buy a coffee on them.

  • Leslie Anderson

    September 1, 2022 at 7:38 am

    Chris, David, Peter, Richard and Jamie thank you so much for your advice! ❤
    I do charge plenty to cover my products and also my design time. But i think it is important to be able to understand how much each product i make realistically costs me. i am still relatively new to this and my weakness is visiting a customer and discussing costs or even over the phone i am hesitant. the more familiar i am with my costs the more confident i will be talking to them and i think that is important when trying to get a sale, for me anyway. hope that makes sense. see what i mean! 🤔🤣

  • RobertLambie

    September 2, 2022 at 12:12 am

    I have always priced my printed vinyl a bit higher than average since i first got our printers 20 years ago, and I have managed to keep it that way ever since. However, with prices going up left and right for the past 12+ months it is very hard to keep track.
    As David has pointed out, it’s not just the material but electrical costs, vehicle fuel costs and more!

    I always work in linear metres when pricing and if I use a banner as an example.

    (Based on 1 linear Metre)

    Banner material costs
    Material Waste/off cuts
    Ink costs
    Hemming Tape

    Loading the Printer (5 minutes?)
    Setting up the file to print. (5 minutes?)
    Trimming, Hemming and Eyeletting (15 minutes?)

    All the above adds up and costs you, so it is well worth even timing yourself to do the above and get it accurate, you will be surprised.
    Once you work out your accurate costs on this, then add your margin to find out what you will sell a banner at 1520mm x 1000mm.

    If the customer wants 1520mm x 10m, simply times it by ten.
    You are probably thinking, but I’m only setting it up and ripping it once. True, but that little bit you will make extra because the jobs now in multiples, well, that can contribute to your electricity, fuel, whatever!

    Keep in mind this is only banner, what if its vinyl. you still have lamination material, setup, waste etc.
    Granted, you can nest jobs amongst others etc. but all these ways of you saving material and time should be money in your own pocket.
    Its not about how cheap can i do this for, there for you can now sell cheap! 🤨

    At the end of the day, you are there to make money and there is no point dropping your pants for every job that comes in the door. you are hurting only yourself in the long run, and the industry on the whole.

    All of the above, and I haven’t mentioned “Artwork” or the time spent with the customer talking about what they want on the banner blah b;ah…

    Everything is going up these days, so its time we all pull our pants back up and charge accordingly.
    I know its difficult, especially with existing customers. but you have the perfect excuse that everyone is using around the world when doing the same, covid, the war etc.

  • Karen White

    September 3, 2022 at 4:13 pm

    i tend to add a couple of pounds for ink cost.

    i think you need to break down the product costs and then work out where you want your price needs to be and how it may be looked on.

    1 desperate
    2 competitive
    3 average
    4 above average
    5 expensive

    i think i sit around number 3, but i would like to be 4.

  • Leslie Anderson

    September 6, 2022 at 2:34 pm

    thank you for your reply robert. 👍

    thanks Karen, i would like to be number four also. 🤔

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