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After more than 18 years of strictly cutting vinyl as a side gig I am taking the plunge and have ordered some equipment to upgrade. After several years of research and putting it off I have decided to purchase an HP Latex 700W, a rollsroller work table, and am upgrading my current cutter (graphtec fc7000-160) to a new FC9000.

Its all been ordered and within a month I should be up and running.

I am seeking advice from members of this forum who have done something similar. I prefer to learn from the mistakes of others so if you have encountered "newbie" struggles when making large purchases and care to share your experience I would appreciate it. Theres going to be a learning curve because I've never printed on vinyl...are there any resources that will help flatten this learning curve?

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congrats on the new equipment!

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hotrodz0321 my biggest advice is have a good tax accountant help you stay out in front of the tax burden. You will probably see a significant jump in earned income through your new venture. Also if you have not been collecting sales tax (assuming your state does that like most) be prepared to toe the line.  I almost went down the first year I got some big contracts. With new equipment purchases you have a great write-off but after this tax season you may find yourself surprised how much money uncle sam takes if you don't have significant purchses to write off next year set some money aside. Most tax accountants can work you a forecast and you can and should pay quarterly estimates if it will be a lot of money. Not sure what Florida tax laws are like so gettting some sound advice from a good tax man would be smart. 

I can't give you much help on the printer. I've talked myself out of them several times just due to the need to keep them busy. My business model has shifted away from sign vinyl and I do primarily aparrel work now so the need for a printer has dropped.

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back 5 years ago the downside to the latex was getting parts after 2-3 years was hard and they had very low resale value like the eco solvents - so keep it busy and pay it off quickly, planning for future upgrades.   I am out of printing now and order what I need from companies that produce the products quickly and cheaper than was worth my investment and effort.
Wishing you well in your new adventure 

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Hi Hotrodz,  my advice is to make an organized consolidation of your workflow & utilize jobsheets (I put them into plastic sleeves as soon as a 50% deposit is paid, and that is my way of knowing the work has transformed from "quote/proposal" to a full-fledged in-progress production job). Also, a whiteboard will assist in keeping track of the stages you are at on each project. Create a 'spreadsheet' on it, with each step listed so you can view where you're at with just a glance.

Here is a jobsheet I've been using for years, you can tweak it for your own needs.

 

Job Worksheet.doc

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On 1/13/2022 at 10:30 AM, Wildgoose said:

hotrodz0321 my biggest advice is have a good tax accountant help you stay out in front of the tax burden. You will probably see a significant jump in earned income through your new venture. Also if you have not been collecting sales tax (assuming your state does that like most) be prepared to toe the line.  I almost went down the first year I got some big contracts. With new equipment purchases you have a great write-off but after this tax season you may find yourself surprised how much money uncle sam takes if you don't have significant purchses to write off next year set some money aside. Most tax accountants can work you a forecast and you can and should pay quarterly estimates if it will be a lot of money. Not sure what Florida tax laws are like so gettting some sound advice from a good tax man would be smart. 

I can't give you much help on the printer. I've talked myself out of them several times just due to the need to keep them busy. My business model has shifted away from sign vinyl and I do primarily aparrel work now so the need for a printer has dropped.

Thanks. Fortunately my sister in law is an incredible accountant and she got me straight a few years back. Almost all of my sales are eCommerce through my website, etsy, ebay, and amazon. Collecting sales tax is a breeze as I can export transactions and easily remit sales tax monthly.

Like you my biggest deterrent to purchasing the printer is the maintenance. Fortunately the HP latex is lower maintenance than other types of printers and I should be able to run it enough to minimize issues caused by lack of use. I appreciate the input.

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On 1/13/2022 at 11:40 AM, Dakotagrafx said:

back 5 years ago the downside to the latex was getting parts after 2-3 years was hard and they had very low resale value like the eco solvents - so keep it busy and pay it off quickly, planning for future upgrades.   I am out of printing now and order what I need from companies that produce the products quickly and cheaper than was worth my investment and effort.
Wishing you well in your new adventure 

Thanks for the input. It may very well end up with me selling the printer if things dont go as planned. I guess this is one of those things I know I'll regret if I dont give it a try.

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On 1/13/2022 at 1:17 PM, slice&dice said:

Hi Hotrodz,  my advice is to make an organized consolidation of your workflow & utilize jobsheets (I put them into plastic sleeves as soon as a 50% deposit is paid, and that is my way of knowing the work has transformed from "quote/proposal" to a full-fledged in-progress production job). Also, a whiteboard will assist in keeping track of the stages you are at on each project. Create a 'spreadsheet' on it, with each step listed so you can view where you're at with just a glance.

Here is a jobsheet I've been using for years, you can tweak it for your own needs.

 

Job Worksheet.doc

Thanks. Fortunately Im almost 100% online-based so there arent too many quotes. The few custom quotes I do still end up in the form of invoicing sent to the customer and if they are agreeable they pay it and it ends up as an order just like all of the others. One thing that would be helpful is utilizing the 50% deposit on those orders. I have never done that and have had my fare share or ordering a roll of a very specific color just for a local client and they end up bailing so Im stuck with unsellable material and lose out on the cost of it. Im going to require 50-100% payment before I order vinyl from now on. Your input is much appreciated. Thanks for the job worksheet.

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You're welcome, hotrodz.

The best thing about printing is the elimination of weeding and not needing layering multi-color jobs.

 

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5 hours ago, hotrodz0321 said:

Thanks for the input. It may very well end up with me selling the printer if things dont go as planned. I guess this is one of those things I know I'll regret if I dont give it a try.

you have to try it to know - and hopefully it works out great for you.   Only you know your market and what works best for you.

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