Becoming your own boss offers a lot of freedom, flexibility, and opportunity. So how do you start your own flyer printing business? There are many things you’ll have to take into account before you start trading, and this article is here to guide you through the process. We’ll dive into the following areas:

  • Do some research 
  • Consider your start-up costs
  • Find suppliers 
  • Register your business and tax status
  • Open a business account
  • Get insurance
  • Create a website
  • List your services on directories
  • Find some customers

Do some research 

Like starting any business, you first have to do some research. 

First, find out if there is a lot of demand for flyer printing services in your local area. Is your area full of businesses, or public organisations (such as schools or libraries) that may require flyers? Identify who your customers will be, whether you will be looking for commercial clients (other businesses or organisations) or if you will target individuals (members of the public who have flyer needs) or a mixture of both. 

You then need to find out where those people will look for businesses. Are they good with technology, or do they use more traditional methods to find companies to purchase from? Answering these questions will help you find out if your flyer printing business is sustainable and if there is a demand, and the research can help you create a plan for finding clients later on. 

Then look at the competitors you might face in your industry. Are there printing services nearby who are well established? Or will your competition mainly be online based printing businesses? Look at who the biggest players are in the flyer sector, and then figure out what makes your business different (this could be anything from pricing, the services you provide, or customer experience).

You might want to choose a speciality to make your business stand out from your competition. For example, many consumers and businesses are concerned about the environmental impact of their purchases. So you could specialise in recycled paper, use sustainable packaging, create a scheme where you offset your printing with planting trees, or contribute to charities that make a green impact. By highlighting a specialist area you can gain a reputation and potentially word-of-mouth recommendations for providing that specific services for customers — and you can use it in your marketing.

Next, pull together your business ideas, your competitor research and details about your target audience into a business plan. This will allow you to make sure your business is sustainable in the current market, and plot some important milestones you want to achieve.

Consider your start-up costs

First, you need to consider the type of business you’ll be running. Are you producing the flyers yourself, or will you contract a printer to do the printing for you while you facilitate the sale on the customer side of things? 

You might choose to start your business by having an external supplier that prints for you. As you start to build revenue and make a profit from the venture, you might then choose to bootstrap the business. This is when you invest in your growth and make purchases only when you have saved up enough to do so. 

So once you have enough saved up, you could invest into that part of your supply chain and buy the equipment and premises you need to be able to do the printing yourself.

First of all, let’s consider the start-up costs you might encounter if you are not doing the printing:

  • Laptop or computer for the business.
  • A designated company phone.
  • Do you need to operate from a store or can you be a solely online business? You may need to factor in rent and utilities if you choose a store-based business
  • Software to help you manage sales and payments.
  • Marketing costs.

If you are managing the printing side too, you’ll need to consider all the above costs as well as the operating expenses associated with the printing activities, such as:

  • The printing machinery.
  • Inks and colour materials.
  • Different types of paper.
  • Packaging .
  • The premises you’ll print from (so consider rent, utilities, insurance).

The machinery and the supplies needed to print could be a considerable upfront cost, so you may want to consider some financing options.

Term loans

A set amount of money is paid back over a set time period, through monthly instalments. These can be secured or unsecured:

  • Secured: the loan is backed up by a valuable business asset as ‘security’, potentially a property or a vehicle. If you fail to repay the loan, the lender can then seize the asset as repayment.
  • Unsecured: this type of loan requires no ‘security’ but lenders may ask you to sign a guarantee where you will be personally liable for the debt or use a guarantor who will take on the debt if you can’t.

Start-up loan

You can apply for a start-up loan through HMRC for up to £25,000 if you have been trading for less than two years. However, this is unlike a business loan, as it is an unsecured personal loan. This means you will be personally liable for the debt and credit score consequences, and you won’t use an asset to be your security in the event you can’t repay the loan. You can pay back over 1-5 years and it has a fixed 6% interest rate. You can find out more on HMRC.

Business credit card

Business credit cards give you the flexibility to access cash as and when you need it. They have the added benefit of building up a good business credit score when used properly and you pay back your balance regularly.

Find suppliers 

If you decide not to go down the route of printing yourself, then you should do some research to find the best prices for suppliers. Take into consideration any special features you’d like to use (such as metallic printing, or recycled paper). You’ll also need to scope out their pricing for the print run, the packaging and the delivery costs associated with every order.

Shop around to find the best fit for your business, as this could be one of the biggest expenses you’ll incur in running your new venture.

Register your business and tax status

You have a few options to consider when it comes to setting up the business.

Sole trader

Many start-ups will operate as sole traders. This structure is simple to manage and there are fewer rules and regulations for you to abide by. It means easier accounting responsibilities and you can access any business funds you’ve earned immediately, as and when you choose.

However, unlike a limited company, you will be personally responsible (liable) for any debt you take on, and you must be properly insured to protect yourself and the future of your business.

Limited company

A limited company may give off a more professional image, but there are more administrative responsibilities associated with this business structure. 

It’s a slightly longer process to set the business up. Once you’re trading, you’ll have to make your accounts public, and you’ll act as a director and employee of the business. You will have limited liability, meaning you won’t be personally liable for any debt that the business can’t pay, unlike a sole trader. But you will have more legal and tax obligations to meet so be prepared to spend more time on business administration tasks.

Register with HMRC

Once you’ve chosen whether a sole trader or limited company is best for you you’ll need to register the business.

First, you get to choose your business name. You may want to operate under your own name, with something like “J. B. Printing or something a little more ‘general’ that doesn’t specify your name, such as “Prestige Flyer Printers” or “The Eco-Friendly Flyer Company”.

If you’re a sole trader, it’s a fast process. You’ll need to register with HMRC as ‘self-employed’ and ensure you are set up to pay your own tax and National Insurance contributions. Then you’re ready to trade!

If you’ve chosen a limited company to operate from, then the process is a little more complicated. You’ll need to register your business with Companies House, which is called ‘incorporation’ and you can do this online or via post. You’ll need to provide:

  • The company’s registered name and address.
  • Names and addresses of directors (you, and any other person who has bought into your business)
  • Details of shareholders (you and any other person who has bought in) and capital (how much money your company has).

You’ll then need to contact HMRC to list the business as an employer, so you can pay yourself through PAYE and register for Corporation Tax.

Your company is almost ready to trade, but read up on what records you will need to keep so your accounts and bookkeeping is organised from the get-go.

Open a business account 

If you are a limited company you legally have to have a separate current account for your business. If you are a sole trader, it’s not a legal requirement to have a separate account, but we’d still recommend it so that your personal and business finances are kept apart. This makes your taxes easier to manage, and your bookkeeping simpler.

You can use a service like Countingup, which gives you a business current account and accounting software, all in one app. This will save you hours of financial admin on bookkeeping, as well as a simple account and card for you to use for business purposes.

Get insurance

It’s always wise to get insurance for your business to protect you in case accidents happen. This is especially important if you are printing with large machinery on the premises. We recommend you should look at:

  • Public liability insuranceprotects you if a member of the public makes a claim if they were injured in dealing with your company or your work caused damage to their property when at your place of business.
  • Employer liability insurance – works the same as a pubilc liability policy, except it covers any compesation or legal fees if an employee is involved in an accident with machinery or in their activities for your business.
  • Business interruption insurance – provides financial assistance for lost revenue if you can’t work on your premises because of fire, flooding, or other eventualities. 
  • Personal accident or illness cover – covers loss of earnings and living expenses if you are unable to work due to illness or injury.
  • Contents insurance – if you are housing equipment at a business premises you’ll need to insure the items you store in the property from theft or damage. 

Superscript offers excellent business insurance cover for affordable prices.

Create a website

It’s a good idea to list your flyer products on a website so that potential clients can look at any past work, reviews and your pricing. If you’re planning on operating only online, then you’ll need an effective website that can manage the ordering process easily.

You can create a website at a relatively small cost by using platforms such as WordPress or Shopify that have site templates you can use. You might not have to pay a designer or developer to help you when using these templates, and you can create something simple and effective to show off your products.

Find some customers

Your business is ready to trade, so now you need to find clients. 

When you did your audience research for your business plan, you might have identified where your target customers find out about businesses — for example, do they look online, in directories, use local business they’ve heard on the radio, or use a friend’s recommendation? Try to find the answer to this and then position your business in that place. 

If you’ve identified what makes your business stand out, or your specialist area, then use this to your advantage when writing copy for your marketing 

Here are some great methods of marketing you can try, to draw customers to your business:

  • Offers: give vouchers for a discount to referrals or new clients.
  • List your business in directories, such as Yell.
  • Use digital marketing techniques such as social media, content marketing or email. Using imagery on these channels of customer flyers could be more compelling than just text.
  • Local SEO may be especially effective for finding clients in your local area who are searching for services like yours.
  • Use offline marketing such as a flyer campaign for yourself, use business cards and networking, or newspaper and radio ads.

Save time on financial admin with a simple app 

When you’re starting your own business, it’s important to keep your personal and business finances separate from day one – to save yourself from time-consuming admin headaches further down the line. 

When you sign up for a Countingup business current account, you’ll receive free accounting software with a range of time-saving tools. 

Simply log into the app to create and send invoices, get financial insights, and confidently manage your new business finances. Find out more here.