Funeral Program Business Equipment
As you’re getting ready to start your funeral publications business, you may be feeling the need to run out and buy lots of equipment and electronic devices. I’m here to tell you, “DON'T!”
Here’s the truth: to get started creating funeral programs and memorial keepsakes, you don't need a whole lot of equipment. You can get started with access to a computer, some kind of word processing or desktop publishing software and a printer. Start with the basic equipment, and begin practicing with and creating memorial programs and booklets first.
Here is a list of equipment that you may need to get started.
This can be a laptop or desktop computer. Today, there are many different computing devices such as notebooks, tablets and iPads. If you are purchasing a computer for your business, regardless of what is called, make sure that you can install conventional software programs, specifically, Microsoft Word, Mac Pages or a desktop publishing program. (Tablets, iPads and Chromebooks use a different operating system, and require special applications called apps to run.)
You will also need to make sure that your computer can handle external drives such as portable "jump" or "thumb" drives (look for a USB port) or can read CDs or DVDs. You will also want to check that you can attach a printer or scanner to your computer, as well.
By far, I get asked the most questions about what type of printer to buy. The options can be overwhelming! Laser or Ink Jet, All-in-One, large format, Brother or HP...the options seem limitless. If you are just starting out, here are some basic questions you will want to ask to help narrow your search. Also see our article on printing funeral programs and funeral program paper.
1. How much will ink and toner cost?
Ink or Toner will be one of your biggest expenses. Before you buy any printer, make sure you know how much you will be paying per ink or toner cartridge. (Research refillable cartridges, too.)
2. How many pages can I print before I have to buy new ink or toner?
This is the number of pages you can print on a set of cartridges before the quality begins to deteriorate. Check the documentation or ask the salesperson about the printer’s ‘Yield’.
3. How quickly does it print?
Printer speed is usually referred to as Pages Per Minute or PPM. ‘15 PPM’ means that the printer can print 15 pages per minute. One note: quoted PPM assumes 10% ink coverage at low resolution. Plan for a lower PPM for full color funeral programs.
4. Can it automatically print duplex or "double-sided"?
Duplex printing is widely used for funeral programs and booklets due to the "booklet fold" format. You can purchase a printer that does not have automatic duplex; you will just have to manually flip the page and print on the other side.
You may not need a scanner immediatly, but you may want to purchase one at some point. Your customers may have photos that are not in digital format, and you may want to offer scanning services. If you don't have a scanner right away, you can always have photos scanned at a local drugstore, camera store or office supply store.