Low Capital Printing, Good Business




Along Eden St. at Piazza, Addis Abeba, a few steps down from Doro Manekia exists a place, which seems like a hub for printing and advertising companies. However, out of almost 10 companies that are located in the small perimeter, only two or three companies own a printing machine.

Others only own a computer and office desk to run their business but both enterprises carry out their respective businesses using the same business licence.

At present, this trend has expanded across the city and it has become an ordinary site to find printing and advertising companies in residential neigbourhoods.

A new entrant to the business, Haregua Sisay and her friends, own a printing company that is located along Belay Zeleke St. around Addisu Gebeya, off the main road. All they needed to open up their business was just one computer, which can currently be bought starting from 3,500Br, an office desk and an office.

They use the computer to show various design samples to customers but if you have the skill of editing, you can also carry out the design work by yourself with an objective to meet the exact expectation of your customers, said Haregua. When Fortune met her she was at her office, which is about four square metres, which slows that the business can be done in a very small office with low rent.

The simplicity of the business as well as the low cost that the business is characterised by has encouraged many to join the market, said a printing business owner. Additionally, not having to shoulder the risk that is related to factors such as printing machine cost, maintenance and repair, have also attracted many business people to join the sector, he added.

Solomon Gebre, owner of Ultra Advertising, said it cost him around 450,000Br to import the printing machine from China when he established his enterprise five years ago. The cost of the machine is now around 700,000Br, he added.

The printing business also requires digital printing flex, which is used for printing banners and stickers. At the current market, a 152sqm roll of digital printing flex can be bought for around 6,000Br.

One of the sales people at Yahoo Advertising in Piazza said that business persons have to be careful where they base their establishments, because like many other businesses the busiest streets create higher customer flow. At the simplest, all the businesses may have to do could be to take orders from customers and directly go to the printers who will do everything, including the design and the printing. These businesses mostly charge double for stickers and banners, paying half to the printers and keeping the rest for themselves. Accordingly they profit 70 Br from one square meter banner, for which they charge 140 Br. Likewise they make 90 Br out of a 180Br order for a square metre of stickers.

Business cards can be printed starting from 75 cents to 1.5Br depending on their size and texture and the businessperson can sell them adding around 0.25 cents each. However, the orders usually have to exceed 50 pieces. Wedding invitation cards come in different designs, styles and textures and range in price from around one Birr to seven Birr, while the business is expected to generate its profit by adding one to two Birr to the price. Most of the businesspersons collect some design samples from a printing enterprise and carry into their offices to showcase them to customers.

Even though such businesses, without printing machines are flourishing, those with the machines are also growing in number, says Solomon. Therefore, there are many options for establishing business and that has created competition prompting printing enterprises such as Solomon’s to offer the least possible price for printing in order to attract customers.

For example, two or three years ago, printing alone for one square metre banner used to be done for about 130Br. Today there is no guarantee that a businessperson who visited you in the morning will come to you in the afternoon, said Solomon. Furthermore, this has made it difficult to track creditors, he added. But again, these same businesspersons are the ones who brought a lot of market to them and are growing in number, said Haregua.



By SNETSEHAY ASSEFA
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on April 15, 2015 [ Vol 15 ,No 780]


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