Getting started with sublimation is really pretty simple, but there are some common questions that people always seem to ask. Since, we know, from talking to customers, that people who are thinking of getting into sublimation do a lot of research online, it seemed like a good idea to answer some of these common questions in a blog post. So that’s what we’re going to do.
Common Question #1: What does it cost? First of all, there are the costs of buying the equipment and the inks and the blanks and heat press and paper you’ll need to get started. Often you might be able to find a package that will allow you to buy those items bundled together at a discount. So that’s your initial cost to get set-up and ready to print. What many people forget or calculate incorrectly, are the costs that come along with setting up a business. Overhead, salary, electricity, heat, all those things have to be considered when figuring out what having a sublimation business costs. Sawgrass has done a terrific post on this subject for those who want more detail.
Common Question #2: What should I charge? A perennial problem for people who do creative work is figuring out what to charge. Some use a formula, their cost times a certain amount. Others add up all their expenses and then figure out how much they need to make per hour to cover their overhead costs and salary. One issue that can occur, whatever formula used, is that the business in question is charging less than the market will bear. Leaving money on the table is never a good idea, so make sure you know your market and what sort of prices your competitors are getting. You can read more about how to set your prices in this post.
Common Question #3: Is sublimation hard? This is a question that can be answered in a couple of different ways. One answer is this: when compared to other decoration disciplines, sublimation probably has the smallest learning curve and the shortest time from set-up to production. Another answer is this: Sublimation does require at least a basic knowledge of graphic software, a comfort with working with a heat press and the ability to conceptualize designs. For most people, sublimation should be pretty easy to learn and do. The big trick is avoiding sublimation intimidation and getting yourself to take the first steps and try decorating some blanks.
Common Question #4: How many items can I print per kit of ink/pack of paper? Honestly, if there’s a common question we dislike intensely, it’s this one, because of all the variables involved. Things like your printer settings, the size of the items being sublimated, and other factors that will vary from shop to shop make it hard to give a precise estimate. Generally, we decline to speculate, simply because it’s often assumed that what we’ve said is written in stone and not our best guess.