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A Big Focus on Small Print Shops

Smaller print shops face many of the same challenges as larger shops, so the need for a single system of record to manage the business is just as critical. Until recently, the only solution was purchasing an expensive print MIS with integration capabilities and pay for professional services to set up the connectivity to the other software solutions. This article explores how things are beginning to change for the better for small print shops.


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By Paul Foster on May 03, 2018

"there were slightly less than 70,000 print shops with fewer than nine employees"

Is the 70,000 number correct?


By Corry Casler on May 03, 2018

Thanks for the shout-out Ryan.

Years ago, after having to turn away small shops, we quickly realized we were missing out on this important segment.

Prospects let me know in no uncertain terms that software vendors weren’t paying attention to them and there were little or no MIS options for them and I had nowhere really to send them. So, we tweaked the software, eliminated a few features only large shops need, adjusted the price point and launched a successful PressWise LT version.

Since then, LT clients have grown, upgraded their software into the standard level system, some added more seats. We’re just thrilled to be playing a part in their growth.


By Pat McGrew on May 03, 2018

hi Paul - that number is from NAICS. A caveat here as a veteran of fun with NAICS numbers is that they rely on self-reporting. My experience has been that many printers do not identify themselves as printers - they may have begun as a copy shop and grown, but never changed their designation. We see it with mid-size and mega printers as well, many of whom in the dm and transaction space seem to identify as payment processors or some service designation associated with the market they serve. The 70K number, though, is a number that can be used for planning purposes, though the actual number may be slightly higher if you did a door-to-door survey.


By Adam Dewitz on Aug 01, 2018

WhatTheyThink has released a data series tracking establishments. This data series, organized by NAICS, is from County Business Patterns.



By John Giles on Aug 07, 2018

Small shops have a lot of challenges when it comes computerized print management systems and I agree a number of shops need to update and refresh their systems. My question is how do the vendors identify a smaller print shop. What is the sweet spot that they are targeting? Is it based on number of people? Sales? A combination?


By RYAN MCABEE on Aug 07, 2018

Hi John, from talking with vendors there is no one method used to identify small vs. larger print shops. I lean toward number of employees as a better indicator since people are the resource enablers and constraints for implementing and using a print MIS. (Revenues may not correlate directly with number of employees for automated and/or online-focused shops.) For print MIS solutions, I look at under 5 employees as micro and under 20 as small.


By Corry Casler - PressWise on Aug 07, 2018

I agree with Ryan. It’s a combination of factors, but the first indicator is number of employees. The sweet spot for a lite MIS system, for ours at least, is 5 to 15 employees. Shops with more than 15 employees typically have heavier requirements better suited for our standard MIS system.

The dilemma for shops with less than 5 employees is the ability to give up, say ¼ of their employees, for a period of time, to set up the system. As much as a vendor can help with set-up and implementation, there’s no getting around your participation in the process. In a small shop, that’s a consideration that must be addressed as well as ensuring that you can schedule time for employees to train.



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