How to Start a Vinyl Business in Five Steps

How to Start a Vinyl Business in Five Steps

Customized apparel, vinyl signs, and displays are just a few of the items you may create as part of a vinyl printing business. A vinyl business may include large commercial accounts or be more of a side-hustle, Etsy-inspired crafting project. If this is something you are interested in, and you are looking for a creative outlet, here is a general guide about how to start a vinyl business.

Vinyl Cutting

A vinyl business typically creates a vinyl image for any number of different purposes, from car decals to monogrammed water bottles, incorporating residential, commercial, and industrial markets. The basics are to use an instrument called a vinyl cutter to cut rolls of vinyl into designs. Over the years, the concept has evolved into a simpler process with the use of computers.

Vinyl cutting begins with creating a design in a software program to transfer to the cutter, which will use a blade to cut out the design on the vinyl. Vinyl cutters are quite versatile. These machines are also referred to as craft cutters, die-cutters, and plotters and can cut paper, cardstock, tissue paper, and reflectives in addition to vinyl. Some can even emboss on wood and aluminum.

If you have a propensity for crafting and are looking for a creative outlet, you will need skills for working the computer, design, and customer service to do well in this industry.

Business Plan

When starting a decal business, the first step is coming up with a well-composed business plan. Not only is this a good kickoff to help you organize, but it is required if you plan on taking out a business loan for this venture. Your business plan will include specific details about how you will organize your company, as well as the name and location of your company. You will include the permits, licenses, and insurance you may need to build your business. A detailed marketing plan is a must because this is how you will let your customers learn about you.

Profits You Can Make

Part two is understanding the finances. You need to crunch the numbers to recognize the overall investment, which will include expenses like equipment and materials. When figuring out, for example, the profit you can make when starting a vinyl decal business, there will be many variables to consider. Overall, however, you may be wondering, is the vinyl decal business profitable? The answer is: The vinyl decal business is considered a strong business due to the large customer base you can attract and the high demand. Experts suggest six-figure revenue potential for a full-time shop with profits beginning at $70,000.

When you are starting a decal business, here are some figures to consider: Each decal will cost you a few cents to make, then figure in your labor costs and upcharge, allowing a healthy profit margin. Your income is based on the quality and cost of the materials you use and how many customers you have. In other words, how much you produce in a given period of time. This is where a good marketing plan is essential. Prospective customers must know where to find you and see your work and your pricing menu. Depending on how much you produce, this may be a comfortable side-hustle because you determine how often you work and how much you produce. Or you could scale it to become your full-time job.

Startup Costs

Startup costs will include business expenses like permits, insurance, and licenses — but the biggest expenditure will be the investment in the material and equipment. Experts say your total investment range will run from $2,000 to $5,000. You will need to purchase at least one cutting machine, a cutting mat, blades, heat press, squeegee, Cricut maker, software (graphic design software like Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or CorelDraw, along with cutting and accounting software), computer, printer, supplies, and inventory (vinyl rolls, t-shirts, labels).

Items You Can Make with Vinyl

There are myriad choices of items you can make, customize, or accentuate with vinyl products. Your vinyl business may specialize in any number of these options, which include:

  • Custom apparel (t-shirts)/ sports team jerseys/mugs/cups
  • Monogrammed clothing/business logos
  • Car decals
  • Stickers
  • Signs
  • Displays
  • Labels
  • Wall decor
  • Home décor (pillows, towels)
  • Decorations
  • Banners

Legal Use of Designs

When you are creating, you may be designing original pieces or using company logos and decals using other images like sports teams, movies, or famous art pieces. Experts say that by purchasing a commercial license, you may be able to use certain designs. However, according to the United States trademark law, a non-owner of a registered trademark can make “fair use” of a logo without permission — keep in mind fair use includes using a logo in editorial content, among other situations. Fair use generally does not mean you can reproduce something with a registered trademark without expressed written consent if you plan on making money from the use of that logo.

Experts warn that if you don’t buy a commercial license and use these designs on your products and profit from them, you could potentially be sued for stealing intellectual property.

The idea is most businesses do not want to look like they are allowing or endorsing a specific product without their knowledge. If you use a company logo that you do not own for the purpose of profit, that is a trademark and copyright infringement.

If you are creating original designs, you, yourself, may want to create a trademark or copyright through a commercial license. If your work is being used without permission, you can have an attorney send a cease-and-desist letter so that no one can profit off your work without them paying a fee or getting your expressed written consent.

<h2>Franchise with Image360

You can go through all these steps to build up a vinyl business or be part of a burgeoning sign business franchise like Image360. We create graphics, signage, and displays with a wide range of products and services, from large banners and corporate displays to customized promotional items.

Our Centers complete a variety of projects for businesses, institutions, and others with a combination of in-house resources and a vast array of qualified Alliance partners. Our services involve innovation and creativity, providing solutions to our customers.

We offer three ways you can be a part of the Image360 franchise. First, through an affordable purchase, or conversion of your existing sign operation to an Image360 Center, or as an add-on to your current business. No matter which option you choose, you benefit from training and the ongoing assistance and support of industry specialists.

If you are thinking about wanting to own or grow your existing vinyl business and expand your offerings and your bottom line, or want to skip the steps of starting from scratch and be part of a reputable franchise, submit this form and access our downloadable franchise kit.