How To Start a 3D Printing Business & Which Sector To Choose

February 20, 2024

Guides , 3D Printing Guides , Editors' Picks , Hidden Gems

Key Takeaways

  • Know your 3D printing : Learn the basics of 3D printing technology, software, and materials.
  • Create a business plan : Define your niche, target market, budget, revenue goals, and marketing strategy.
  • Choose your 3D printer and supplies : Pick the best 3D printer for your needs, based on the type, quality, and cost of printing you want to offer.
  • Sell your products or services : Decide whether you want to sell 3D printed items, 3D designs, 3D printing on demand, or 3D printing repair and maintenance. Find the best platform or channel to reach your customers.

In just a few short years, 3D printing has gone from “what’s that?” to “how can I get in on this?”

Why? Here are some key stats :

  • The 3D printing market is predicted to grow 30% per year to 2026 .
  • There are over 422,000 working 3D printers in the USA .
  • The USA, UK, France, Germany & China are all heavily adopting 3D printing.

Continuing to explode in popularity for both hobbyists and industrial uses, budding entrepreneurs are looking for opportunities to start a 3D printing business. But what opportunities are there?

Honestly, there are so many industries being shaken up by 3D printing — medical, hearing aids , dental, metal part production, spacecraft , even food — that listing every potential use would take too long.

Some have already taken areas of 3D printing and made themselves synonymous with the sector. Wiivv and 3D printed custom sandals, Relativity Space and 3D printed rockets , and Sonova and 3D printed hearing aids. What will your 3D printing business be known for?

This article focuses on how to start a 3D printing business, which 3D printing businesses you could start, and what you need to be able to start and be successful in the 3D printing industry.

How to start a 3D printing business

Naturally, to start a 3D printing business you need to know everything there is to know about 3D printing. You’ll need to know your 3D printer — and the technology that powers it — in and out.  

  • You can view all our 3D printing technologies guides here

Write your 3D printing business plan

Now you need to create a business plan. Though you feel you already know exactly what you need to do, it’s always best to get your thoughts down in writing, as well as any predictions around revenues, sales, and the amount you’re prepared to invest.

When writing this, think of what you will need to spend money on: potentially renting a location, buying new equipment, hiring or training people — and do you have any guaranteed income you can factor in, or are you starting from zero?

3d printing business plan

It’s very likely your 3D printing business plan will change dramatically as your business adapts and changes — and that’s fine! — but a business plan will get your future and present ideas down on paper. If you’re planning on lending money from a bank or other institution, a business plan is crucial.

Buying your equipment

If you haven’t chosen which 3D printer (or 3D printers if you’re planning on multiple), you’ll need to choose carefully based on what you plan to print, or what services you plan on offering. Prototypes are often made using SLS 3D printers , as well as MJF, PolyJet, FDM, and more.

3d printing service business plan

For deciding which to buy, you can check out our guide to every type of 3D printer .

If you know what type of 3D printer you’re planning on using, but aren’t sure on which printer, you can check out our buyer’s guides:

  • Our buyer’s guide for the best FDM 3D printers
  • Buyer’s guide for the best resin 3D printers
  • The best SLS 3D printers
  • Our metal 3D printer buyer’s guide
  • The best 3D printers for small businesses

3D printers don’t run themselves, so you’ll need to make sure you have the right software, including a 3D slicer such as Cura , and if you’re designing your own models, a 3D modeling software tool . If you’re managing multiple 3D printers, you may want to invest in software to manage them more easily.

For FDM 3D printing you’ll need a steady supply of filament in every material and color range you plan to offer. For more industrial printing you may want to offer Polycarbonate , HIPS , PEEK , Nylon and ASA , but for more standard jobs you may just need PETG , ABS and PLA . The same goes for resins for resin 3D printing for any planned uses, including castable for jewelry molds, and any powders for SLS.

running a 3d printing business with multiple printers

Running costs & marketing costs

As well as this, you’ll need to factor in costs for replacing any parts of your 3D printer that wear out, such as nozzles , resin vats and so on. Electricity isn’t free , but shouldn’t be a major cost.  

If you’re planning on launching your own website or webstore, you’ll need to decide how you’ll accept payments, which cart software to use such as Shopify, or Woocommerce on WordPress, and which hosting provider to use.

For marketing, you can opt for social media ads across Facebook, Instagram, or PPC ads on Google for a quick buzz. You can also try to capture people’s attention through generally interesting social media content, such as showing your factory in action, some of the cool things you’ve 3D printed , or vlogging yourself at work. For industrial B2B clients, LinkedIn and direct outreach may be better options.

Where to sell your products

If you’re planning to sell your models on existing platforms like Etsy, Amazon or eBay, you’ll need to decide your plans for those. Or, you may decide to niche down and sell on specialized 3D model platforms. If you’re planning on acting as a service, signing up to Treatstock or Makexyz can save you marketing time and pair you directly with clients.

treatstock 3d printing marketplace

3D Printing Business Ideas: Which 3D printing business should I start?

A true visionary may want to create an entirely new category, like 3D printed rockets, pizza or hearing aids. Nevertheless, here are some tried and tested existing 3D printing business models:

Printing on demand

3d printed soccer ball model

Do you already own a 3D printer? This is the easiest way to make money from 3D printing.

The business model is simple: you offer to print someone else’s 3D file. The only problem with this 3D printing business plan is that it’s already getting quite competitive, and your service is easily seen as a commodity. Fortunately, we’ve listed some tips for making it in printing on demand.

Sign up on one of the major 3D printing service marketplaces , or sell your service to individual companies outside of a marketplace.

  • Establish yourself in a niche market – B2C

Instead of trying to please everyone, you need to find a tribe of loyal customers who see you as their trusted vendor. To find your ideal niche, do some market research by Googling your market, checking sites like Quora and Reddit, and reading blog posts.

Start on a marketplace and then expand beyond it when you have some experience and know which customers you want to attract.

Many creatives, nerds and designers just want their design, such as favorite D&D model or character, in front of them, right now — and they don’t want to buy an entire 3D printer just to print it. Instead, they’ll find someone to do the odd job for them here and there.

Starting a 3D printing business printing consumer models requires less start-up investment, less expensive filaments or resins, and perhaps slightly lower accuracy and precision requirements. More affordable desktop 3D printers will work here, so you could potentially get started as a 3D printing business for just a few hundred dollars with an Ender 3 or Prusa 3D printer .

That isn’t to say there aren’t jobs for individuals that require more industrial 3D printers . Classic car fans looking to get a car part 3D printed will require perfect accuracy and a tough material used, with the crisp surface finish only accessible on higher end machines. But for most consumer jobs, less professional 3D printers should suffice.

There are even marketplaces for local 3D printer service businesses that’ll help you find customers. Treatstock, for example, puts you in contact instantly with thousands of local 3D printer businesses to have your parts printed for you in a variety of different materials.

By becoming a vendor, you potentially skip the expensive marketing costs associated with drumming up business at the beginning of your 3D printing business journey. There are other similar sites to Treatstock like makexyz, but 3D Hubs no longer allow individuals to sign up and offer their printing services.

  • Offer your service to B2B customers

Alternatively, you can offer your services directly to B2B customers. Typically, these customers tend to have deeper pockets, a more consistent need for 3D printing services, and they tend to place larger orders.

Start on a marketplace and as you grow, transition to your own brand or site. A successful business that uses this business model is  Stratasys , a company that’s active in the engineering, manufacturing, production, and prototyping industries.

Again you’ll want to establish a niche, I see far too many home-based 3D printing businesses try to appeal to everyone doing everything just to make money 3D printing. To really get penetration in the market in a sea of ‘me too’ businesses and franchises -you’ve got to target, accurately.

In B2B — business to business — 3D printing businesses make prototypes and other parts for companies that want to test them. This could be for shape and aesthetics, or functional testing based on how it holds up in certain situations.

Common client needs include architectural and interior design models (a huge advantage if you can print multiple colors, such as by using a Palette ), sunglasses and other fashion prototypes, engineering prototypes, resin, ceramic or metal prototypes for various industries, and medical parts, including orthotics, prosthetics and medical implants.

3d printing industrial b2b parts

Your ability to run this kind of 3D printing business really depends on the 3D printers you have. With massively growing demand for metal 3D printing — predicted to grow to a $11 billion industry by 2024 — metal additive manufacturing for automotive, space, medical and other uses is a great area to launch.

However, metal 3D printers cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in most cases, so this is not a venture for anyone looking to get in cheap and make some beer money.

Standard affordable 3D printers may not offer the level of precision companies expect when they hire your 3D printing business to print parts and prototypes for them. And many companies may be looking for more expensive types of 3D printing for their parts, such as SLS 3D printers or even PolyJet .

Overall, if you’re planning on starting a B2B 3D printing business acting as a 3D printing services for industrial clients, you’ll probably need a large investment to start with. For marketing, social media and more hobbyist forms of marketing won’t work as well, so you’ll need to either harness PPC ads or grow your network within the industry to find contacts looking to get manufacturing done. But, with this big risk comes the potential for big reward.

Open up your own 3D printing e-commerce store

3d printing service business plan

[Source:  AudioQuest ]

3D printing is already disrupting the manufacturing industry. That’s why now is the time to set up an e-commerce shop where you sell products that you design and print. 3D printing makes the whole process flexible and cheap. If you’re wanting to know how to make money with a 3D printer, this is one of our favorite 3D printing startup ideas. 

Before actually going all-in starting a 3d printer business, you could validate your idea by using crowdfunding sites like  Kickstarter  and  Indiegogo . You can sell your products by building a shop on  Shopify  and on  Amazon , NotOnTheHighStreet.com and Etsy.

  • Jewelry, home furnishing, decorations and fashion

The design industry is the perfect industry if you want to open an e-commerce shop. There are lots of options here; jewelry, home furnishing, decorations and fashion. If you want to start small, Etsy is the perfect platform, because its customers crave individualized design.  NomaniFOLD  sells 3D printed jewelry and is a pioneer in this industry.

  • Monthly subscription box

Monthly subscription boxes are insanely popular. Some of them are something of a trend, but others are a convenient way for people to get products delivered to them. But what if you could use this idea to 3D print monthly items that people need and want as a recurring service? For example, deliver toys or pet or baby products on a monthly basis.

  • Events  

The event industry is massive. There’s everything from weddings, birthdays, graduation parties to company events and conferences. Tap into this market by printing event decorations and other products.

  • Other products

With the ideas above, we’re just scratching the surface. There are so many 3D printing business opportunities you can explore!

Customized products

3d printing service business plan

[Source:  Open Bionics ]

3D printing is changing the way we do business. No wonder; one of the main advantages of 3D printing is that it enables us to mass-customize products. Why not start a shop that’s all about customization? The possibilities for making money with 3D printing business opportunities are endless and this is an area with significant growth potential.

Use Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Etsy, Amazon, Ebay and Shopify to sell items.

You’ll need to price your models based on the amount of filament or resin they use, as well as the time value of your 3D printer’s time. In addition, since you’ve created real tangible models, posting them to your customers will cost money, too. This can vary wildly depending on whether your customer is in your city, or if they’re half way across the globe.

It’s safest to use your own files, as many models from free STL file sites may not authorize you to commercialize them. If you want to add even more value, you could even paint your models, making them stand out and letting you charge higher prices.

You’ll need to think about marketing for this type of 3D printing business. People are unlikely to just find your 3D printing shop unless you’re savvy about getting your name out there: either on social media, or by paid ads such as PPC on Google or Facebook ads. You’ll need to continually optimize any paid ads to make sure you’re selling enough products to make the ads profitable, and keep a beady eye on the data.

If successful however, it’s one of the most rewarding and independent ways to make it as a 3D printing business.

  • Customized products  

There are no limitations here… mobile cases and covers, special parts that enable you to use items in different ways (e.g. toys), jewelry and so forth. For example, check out  Lantos Technologies , a company that prints customized in-ear products.

These 3D printed toys and similar models are always popular, and there will always be a demand for 3D character prints of peoples’ favorite video game or movie characters, musicians, actors and more. Cosplayers are always looking for new elements to use, too.

selling your 3d printed designs or characters

If you’re a good 3D designer — and if you want to learn, check out our ranking of the best free 3D modeling software tools for beginners — you can design your own creations harnessing your boundless creativity and signature style, or just create 3D models based on real people or things. You can then either sell these models and send them fully printed, or sell the STL file and let them print their own.

  • Customized collectibles and figures

Fans LOVE customized collectibles and figures of their favorite athletes, artists and gamer avatars. Just make sure to check all licenses if you want to use this for your business. On the other hand, there’s a market for customized figures of people themselves, e.g. a figure of someone posing in his or her sports gear or their own gamer avatar.

For example,  CoKreeate  is a company that has successfully established itself in this market. Want to learn more about how to set up your own shop?  Here’s a story  that might inspire you.

Selling small items like this could be much easier if you’re wanting to set up a home-based 3D printing business. Lower storage and shipping costs for your home-factory business.

Read more: the best 3D printers for D&D miniatures

  • Prosthetics

Prosthetics are expensive and difficult to manufacture. 3D printing is solving several problems in this industry. It makes prosthetics better, more customized and more affordable. Additionally, 3D printing is making it easier to manufacture wheelchairs and other support tools. Some companies that are producing prosthetics and support tools are  e-Nable  and  Open Bionics.

Read more: our feature story on 3D printed prosthetics

  • Customized clothes

Typically, clothes are a mass market product. When you walk down the street, you’ll probably meet someone wearing the same item from the same chain. But thanks to 3D printing, it doesn’t have to be this way. 3D printing makes it easy to customize clothing. For example, a popular item that could be 3D printed and mass-customized are clog like foam shoes. One of the advantages of these shoes is that the foam forms itself to your feet. 3D printing enables you to improve this product.

Want to check out some successful companies in this space?  Kinematics dress  and  Continuum Fashion  are some of the companies that are already selling customized clothes and fashion related accessories. 

Read more: how 3D printed clothing is changing the world

Read more: 3D printed fashion: the latest trend

  • Customized sports and hobby products

People spend a lot of money on sports and hobbies, and this is the perfect market for customized items. For example, you could sell customized tennis racket covers to teams or customized fishing and golfing gear .

Read more: our feature story on 3D printed shoes and sneakers

  • Customized gifts

The best gifts are personal. The problem is that most customized gifts are expensive because they cost so much to manufacture. That’s why 3D printed customized gifts are the best choice; 3D printed customized gifts are affordable and flexible to print.

Read more: 3D printed gifts you can download and print today

  • 3D printed photographs  

People love storing memories of their loved ones. A great idea for a 3D printing business is to create 3D printed family photographs. Many would love the possibility to store a model of their child, grandparent, pet or even a model of their house.

  • Customized baby products

Naturally, most parents want the best for their babies and babies need different tools that fit them. By starting a business that customizes baby products, you tap into this lucrative market. Some of the companies that have noticed this are  Spuni , a company that prints spoons, and  Technologia Humana 3D , a company that prints 3D models of fetuses.

  • Customized B2B products

Not all customized products are in the B2C space. Businesses want to stand out from their competition. You could 3D print customized furniture, signature decoration or other products and sell them to companies.

If you’ve got an eye for designs that’ll sell well online, such as miniatures , tabletop models and D&D-esque designs, this might be the route for you.  

Become a 3D printer reseller and expert

Most cheap 3D printers are bought from Amazon. They come with instructions to get you going, and normally have some form of tech support if you run into serious problems.  

However, with more complex professional and industrial 3D printers, installation, training and ongoing support may be required.

Resellers sell printers from major 3D printer manufacturers to domestic or local customers, and can provide all the required support and installation locally so the manufacturer doesn’t need to be involved.

selling and maintaining 3d printers as a 3d printer reseller

To be a reseller, you’ll need to be an expert on every 3D printer made by the brand you’d be reselling, and may need to purchase one at full price first to fully understand it before becoming licensed and gaining access to wholesale rates.  

To find customers you’ll need a full understanding of the uses and applications of the particular 3D printers you sell, as well as likely buyer personas. The more industrial and expensive the 3D printers you sell, the smaller your potential client base will likely be.

Another variant of this is focusing on education and 3D printing in schools . Experts on 3D printing may be required to assist with either informing schools to install 3D printers, creating and teaching, or selling to educational establishments. However, check the regulatory rules for your country first.

Design 3D printing files

3d printing service business plan

[Source:  History.com ]

Love design? Then designing 3D files and selling those designs might be one of the better 3d printing business ideas you’re looking for.

The setup is simple: create and sell designs that your customers can print with their own 3D printers.

Sell your designs on 3D file marketplaces like  MyMiniFactory ,  CG Trader , Shapeways or  i.Materialise  or create your own online store with Shopify or WordPress (via Woocommerce).

  • Create designs for a niche market

Become the go-to person in a niche and sell designs on marketplaces. For example, you could provide designs in the home furnishing niche that companies can buy and use to sell their own prints.

  • Create prototypes for companies

Another idea is to create prototype designs and sell them to companies. You’re not printing the designs, which means that you can scale faster.

It’s important to start in a specific niche. For example, say a medical company needs 3D prototypes. If you’re a 3D printing company specializing in medical prototype designs, it’s much more likely that you’ll land them as a client than if you produce generic designs.

  • Create designs for museums, architects and interior designers

Typically, museums, architects, and interior designers need a lot of prototypes and other models. For example, History.com uses 3D printed Viking models in its  Vikings  project and architects need building models.

  • Set up your own online store

If you don’t want to sell your designs on marketplaces, you can open a store with a service like Shopify. Sell designs that people can buy right away to use for their own businesses.

Full-Service 3D Design and 3D Printing Agency

3d printing service business plan

Want to take it a step further and set up a shop that takes care of the entire process? With this business plan, your customers come in and talk about what they want you to print. Then, you design the product and print it.

Because the whole process can be quite expensive, you probably scale faster if you target B2B customers or those looking to get started with a new prototype. 

  • Create prototypes for companies 

Companies need prototypes, and they can be very expensive. That’s why 3D printed prototypes are such a great alternative; they’re easier to produce, and they’re cheaper.

 2.   Design and print products for e-commerce stores

E-commerce companies need to find reliable factories overseas because it’s too expensive to manufacture products locally. As the factory is far away from where the company is based, there might be a range of problems; long production times, varying factory standards and long and costly delivery times.

Many times, e-commerce companies have to source more stock than they need to avoid running out of products. With your services, you can offer a flexible and affordable solution to these problems. By designing and printing products for e-commerce shops, you tap into a major pain point in the industry.

It’s important (and with any of the other business ideas listed here) that you don’t just see this as a way to profit from 3D printing. When starting a business like this, you want to make sure you’re really passionate about the quality or products and the service levels you want to deliver. Otherwise, it will show. 

Think about what types of aspects matter most to the types of companies that would want your services and tailor your business plan to address these concerns. Creating small batch production items for an e-commerce company will require a slightly different service than perhaps just creating initial one-off prototypes for new startups.   

  • Create promotional goods

You know, promotional goods can be really powerful for a company’s marketing strategy. The only problem is that it’s expensive and difficult to find creative promotional goods if the company wants to go with something else than t-shirts. 3D printing doesn’t have the same restrictions, and that’s why your 3D printing service can solve this problem. Besides targeting the end user (companies), you might want to offer your services to ad agencies.

  • Repair and maintenance

As the 3D printing industry grows, there will be a growing demand for reliable repair and maintenance services. Set up your own repair and maintenance shop and repair and maintain 3D printers and prints.

Overall, with massive industry growth — especially on the industrial side — additive manufacturing is very attractive area to be in. If you’ve got the risk-taking chops, business acumen and love and knowledge for 3D printing, and are willing to put the work in, who knows, perhaps you could be the next 3D printing billionaire!

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3D Printing Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

3D Printing Business Plan

You’ve come to the right place to create your 3D Printing business plan.

We have helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their 3D Printing companies.

Below is a template to help you create each section of your 3D Printing business plan.

Executive Summary

Business overview.

OKC 3D Printing is a new 3D printing company located in the heart of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We offer world-class 3D printing services to businesses, educational institutes, and other organizations located around the city. The company uses the latest manufacturing technologies to build functional parts and prototypes in both metals and plastics. Some of the services provided include selective laser sintering, fused deposition modeling, stereolithography, and multi-jet fusion. No matter what models or ideas our customers bring to us, we can easily make them a reality.

OKC 3D Printing is founded and owned by Alex Walker, who is a veteran of the additive manufacturing and printing industry. He is well-versed in all of the most popular forms of 3D printing and has an in-depth knowledge of the operations and management aspects of running a 3D printing company. His experience and local connections will prove invaluable to the business.

Product Offering

OKC 3D Printing will provide a wide variety of 3D printing services to meet the diverse needs of our customers. Some of these services include:

  • Rapid prototyping
  • Multi-jet fusion (MJF)
  • Selective laser sintering (SLS)
  • Fused deposition modeling (FDM)
  • Stereolithography (SLA)
  • Direct metal printing
  • Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS)

Customer Focus

OKC 3D Printing will serve the community of Oklahoma City. The company will primarily offer its products and services to businesses, educational institutions, and other organizations:

Management Team

OKC 3D Printing is led by Alex Walker, who has been in the additive manufacturing and printing industry for 25 years. While Alex has never run a 3D printing company himself, he was the Director of Operations at one of the leading 3D printing and rapid prototyping services companies in the area. During this time, he helped the company reach its full potential as it expanded its services and outreach to over a dozen local industries. As such, Alex has an in-depth knowledge of the 3D printing business, including the operations side (e.g., running day-to-day operations) and the business management side (e.g., staffing, marketing, etc.). He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Printing Technology and an MBA.

Success Factors

OKC 3D Printing will be able to achieve success by offering the following competitive advantages:

  • Management: The management team has 25 years of working experience in a 3D printing company that allows them to serve customers in a more sophisticated manner than the competitors.
  • Relationships: Having lived in the community for 30 years, Alex Walker knows all of the local leaders, media, and other influencers. Furthermore, he will be able to draw from his existing personal and professional relationships to develop an initial client base.
  • Great service at an affordable price: The complete array of 3D printing services offered by OKC 3D Printing nearly equals the most premium-positioned competitors but at a much more affordable price.
  • Location: OKC 3D Printing’s location is near the business center of town, giving the company access to educational institutions and private and public sector organizations that need 3D printing services.

Financial Highlights

OKC 3D Printing is currently seeking $600,000 to launch its 3D printing press. Specifically, these funds will be used as follows:

  • Design and build-out: $100,000
  • Equipment and supplies: $100,000
  • Six months of overhead expenses (payroll, rent, utilities): $250,000
  • Marketing costs: $50,000
  • Working capital: $100,000

The following graph below outlines the pro forma financial projections for OKC 3D Printing.

3d printing service business plan

Company Overview

Who is okc 3d printing, okc 3d printing history.

Alex Walker is an entrepreneur with a passion for new 3D printing techniques. He has been in the additive manufacturing and printing industry for the last 25 years but has been eager to branch out on his own. It was last year that Alex decided to start his own company dedicated to offering a complete 3D printing and design service experience for the residents and businesses of Oklahoma City.

Upon surveying the local customer base and finding a potential location, Alex Walker incorporated OKC 3D Printing as an S-Corporation on October 10th, 202X.

Alex is currently undergoing due diligence on several properties to assess which one might be the most desirable location for the 3D printing press.

Since incorporation, the company has achieved the following milestones:

  • Found several properties that can serve as the location for the 3D printing press
  • Developed the company’s name, logo, and website
  • Determined equipment and inventory requirements
  • Began recruiting key employees with experience in the industry

OKC 3D Printing Services

Industry analysis.

Though 3D printing has been around for decades, the industry has rapidly expanded in just the past 15 years. This is expected to continue as both businesses and individuals have an increasing need for 3D printing technology. Numerous industries are benefiting from 3D printing and are expanding this technology’s applications. With 3D printing becoming more common in sectors such as the healthcare, automotive, and defense industries, the 3D printing services industry will only continue to expand and increase in demand.

According to Grand View Research, the industry was valued at USD 16.75 billion in 2022, and about 2.2 million 3D printers were shipped. However, the industry is expected to grow at an enormous compound annual growth rate of 20.8% from now until 2030. In 2030, it is expected that the industry will be valued at USD 76.17 billion, and about 21.5 million printers will be shipped. This is aggressive growth that shows just how much this technology is in demand. This growth will only continue as more applications for 3D printing are discovered.

Customer Analysis

Demographic profile of target market.

OKC 3D Printing will serve businesses, government organizations, and educational institutions that are located in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City is a large city filled with numerous businesses and organizations that can benefit from 3D printing.

The precise demographics for Oklahoma City are:

Customer Segmentation

OKC 3D Printing will primarily target the following three customer segments:

  • Small businesses
  • Government organizations
  • High schools, colleges, and universities

Competitive Analysis

Direct and indirect competitors.

OKC 3D Printing will face competition from other companies with similar business profiles. A description of each competitor company is below.

Prototype One

Prototype One is one of the most renowned 3D printing companies and has been in business for 30 years. Prototype One offers a wide array of 3D printing services to allow product developers, designers, and engineers an easier path to move from prototyping to low-volume production. Their suite of services and capabilities is the most comprehensive of any other competitor.

3D Printing Solutions

3D Printing Solutions provides its customers with thousands of 3D services for the architecture, engineering, and construction sectors. The company’s products include coordinate measuring machines, laser trackers and projectors, mappers, scanners, and software. Customers are able to browse through their vast database of designs from one central location. 3D Printing Solutions categorizes designs to make it easy to find what its customers are looking for.

XO 3D Printing

XO 3D Printing was established in 2008 and caters to a high-end clientele as it provides platforms to facilitate the development of 3D printing applications in industries such as healthcare, automotive, aerospace, and art and design. With more than 120 3D printers, they have an unmatched capacity that reliably delivers parts within days.

Competitive Advantage

OKC 3D Printing enjoys several advantages over its competitors. These advantages include:

  • Management: The management team has 25 years of working experience in a 3D printing company which allows them to serve customers in a more sophisticated manner than the competitors.

Marketing Plan

Brand & value proposition.

OKC 3D Printing seeks to position itself as an upper-middle-market competitor in the 3D printing industry. Customers can expect to receive professionally printed objects from skilled printing operators at a moderate price point.

The OKC 3D Printing brand will focus on the company’s unique value proposition:

  • Offering a wide variety of customized 3D printing services and capabilities
  • Convenient location
  • Customer-focused service
  • Moderate price point

Promotions Strategy

The promotions strategy for OKC 3D Printing is as follows:

Pre-Opening Events

Before opening, OKC 3D Printing will organize pre-opening events designed for prospective customers, local merchants, and press contacts. These events will create buzz and awareness for the company in the area.


Advertisements in print publications like newspapers, magazines, etc., are an excellent way for businesses to connect with their audience. The company will advertise its products in popular magazines and news dailies. Obtaining relevant placements in industry magazines and journals will also help in increasing brand visibility.

Public Relations

OKC 3D Printing will hire an experienced PR agency/professional(s) to formulate a compelling PR campaign to boost its brand visibility among the target audience. It will look to garner stories about the company and its offerings in various media outlets like newspapers, podcasts, television stations, radio shows, etc.

Social Media Marketing

One of the most cost-effective and practical marketing tools for increasing company visibility is social media. The company will use social media to develop engaging content in terms of different 3D designs and customer reviews that will increase audience awareness and loyalty. Engaging with prospective clients and business partners on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn will also help understand changing customer needs.

OKC 3D Printing’s pricing will be moderate, so customers feel they receive great value when availing of the 3D printing services. Customers can expect to receive high-quality modeling and printing services at a more affordable price than what they pay at an ultra-premium printing company.

Operations Plan

The following will be the operations plan for OKC 3D Printing.

Operation Functions:

  • Alex Walker will be the President of the company. He will be in charge of the overall operations as well as some of the initial marketing and networking efforts to gain new customers.
  • Alex will be assisted by Noah Brown, who will serve as the Manager. He will help with customer service, operating the 3D printers, and managing the other technicians.
  • Alex is also assisted by Rhonda Williams, who will work as an Administrative Assistant. She will be in charge of all the general administrative tasks for the company.
  • Alex will hire several other employees to assist with marketing, sales, and customer service as the company continues to expand.
  • Alex will also hire several technicians to operate the 3D printers and provide customer service.


The following are a series of steps that lead to our vision of long-term success. OKC 3D Printing expects to achieve the following milestones in the following six months:

2/202X            Finalize lease agreement on retail location

3/202X            Design and build out OKC 3D Printing

4/202X            Hire and train initial staff

5/202X            Kickoff of promotional campaign

6/202X            Launch OKC 3D Printing

7/202X            Reach break-even

Financial Plan

Key revenue & costs.

OKC 3D Printing’s revenues will come from the 3D printing services. The major costs for the company will be the buildout of the facility, printing equipment and supplies, and staff salaries. In the initial years, the company’s marketing spending will be high as it establishes itself in the market. Moreover, rent for the prime location is also one of the notable cost drivers for the company.

Funding Requirements and Use of Funds

Key assumptions.

The following table reflects the key revenue and cost assumptions made in the financial model:

  • Average monthly payroll expenses: $50,000
  • Office lease per year: $100,000

Financial Projections

Income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, 3d printing business plan faqs, what is a 3d printing business plan.

A 3D printing business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your 3D printing business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.

You can easily complete your 3D Printing business plan using our 3D Printing Business Plan Template here .

What are the Main Types of 3D Printing Businesses?

There are a number of different kinds of 3D printing businesses , some examples include: Rapid Prototype Printer, Aerospace, Automotive and Railway Printer, or Consumer Products Printer.

How Do You Get Funding for Your 3D Printing Business Plan?

3D Printing businesses are often funded through small business loans. Personal savings, credit card financing and angel investors are also popular forms of funding.

What are the Steps To Start a 3D Printing Business?

Starting a 3D printing business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.

1. Develop A 3D Printing Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed 3D printing business plan in PDF or doc, that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast. 

2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your 3D printing business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your 3D printing business is in compliance with local laws.

3. Register Your 3D Printing Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your 3D printing business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws.

4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your 3D printing business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms.

5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations.

6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events.

7. Acquire Necessary 3D Printing Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your 3D printing business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation.

8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your 3D printing business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising.

Learn more about how to start a successful 3D printing business:

  • How to Start a 3D Printing Business

3D Printing Business Plan Template & Guidebook

3D printing technology has been revolutionizing the way businesses create and manufacture products. But, if entrepreneurs want to enter this sector, they need to have a well-thought-out business plan. Fortunately, the #1 3D Printing Business Plan Template & Guidebook can provide the blueprint to make this new technology a part of their venture. Get the insights you need to create a successful 3D printing business with this comprehensive template and guidebook.


Get worry-free services and support to launch your business starting at $0 plus state fees.

  • How to Start a Profitable 3D Printing Business [11 Steps]
  • 10+ Best & Profitable 3D Printing Business Ideas [2023]
  • 25 Catchy 3D Printing Business Names:
  • List of the Best Marketing Ideas For Your 3D Printing Service:

How to Write a 3D Printing Business Plan in 7 Steps:

1. describe the purpose of your 3d printing business..

The first step to writing your business plan is to describe the purpose of your 3d printing business. This includes describing why you are starting this type of business, and what problems it will solve for customers. This is a quick way to get your mind thinking about the customers’ problems. It also helps you identify what makes your business different from others in its industry.

It also helps to include a vision statement so that readers can understand what type of company you want to build.

Here is an example of a purpose mission statement for a 3d printing business:

Our purpose at [3D Printing business name] is to provide cost-effective, high-quality 3D printing services to our customers, while continually investing in and innovating our 3D printing technology. We strive to create an environment of collaboration where our customers can work closely with our team of experts to develop the best possible 3D prints that meet their specific needs.

Image of Zenbusiness business formation

2. Products & Services Offered by Your 3D Printing Business.

The next step is to outline your products and services for your 3d printing business. 

When you think about the products and services that you offer, it's helpful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is my business?
  • What are the products and/or services that I offer?
  • Why am I offering these particular products and/or services?
  • How do I differentiate myself from competitors with similar offerings?
  • How will I market my products and services?

You may want to do a comparison of your business plan against those of other competitors in the area, or even with online reviews. This way, you can find out what people like about them and what they don’t like, so that you can either improve upon their offerings or avoid doing so altogether.

Image of Zenbusiness business formation

3. Build a Creative Marketing Stratgey.

If you don't have a marketing plan for your 3d printing business, it's time to write one. Your marketing plan should be part of your business plan and be a roadmap to your goals. 

A good marketing plan for your 3d printing business includes the following elements:

Target market

  • Who is your target market?
  • What do these customers have in common?
  • How many of them are there?
  • How can you best reach them with your message or product?

Customer base 

  • Who are your current customers? 
  • Where did they come from (i.e., referrals)?
  • How can their experience with your 3d printing business help make them repeat customers, consumers, visitors, subscribers, or advocates for other people in their network or industry who might also benefit from using this service, product, or brand?

Product or service description

  • How does it work, what features does it have, and what are its benefits?
  • Can anyone use this product or service regardless of age or gender?
  • Can anyone visually see themselves using this product or service?
  • How will they feel when they do so? If so, how long will the feeling last after purchasing (or trying) the product/service for the first time?

Competitive analysis

  • Which companies are competing with yours today (and why)? 
  • Which ones may enter into competition with yours tomorrow if they find out about it now through word-of-mouth advertising; social media networks; friends' recommendations; etc.)
  • What specific advantages does each competitor offer over yours currently?

Marketing channels

  • Which marketing channel do you intend to leverage to attract new customers?
  • What is your estimated marketing budget needed?
  • What is the projected cost to acquire a new customer?
  • How many of your customers do you instead will return?

Form an LLC in your state!

3d printing service business plan

4. Write Your Operational Plan.

Next, you'll need to build your operational plan. This section describes the type of business you'll be running, and includes the steps involved in your operations. 

In it, you should list:

  • The equipment and facilities needed
  • Who will be involved in the business (employees, contractors)
  • Financial requirements for each step
  • Milestones & KPIs
  • Location of your business
  • Zoning & permits required for the business

What equipment, supplies, or permits are needed to run a 3d printing business?

  • 3D Printer(s)
  • Computer and/or laptop
  • Software for 3D modeling, printing and post-processing
  • Various filaments for 3D printing
  • Printer cleaning materials, solvents and lubricants
  • Applicable business permits and licenses, for both local and state governments

5. Management & Organization of Your 3D Printing Business.

The second part of your 3d printing business plan is to develop a management and organization section.

This section will cover all of the following:

  • How many employees you need in order to run your 3d printing business. This should include the roles they will play (for example, one person may be responsible for managing administrative duties while another might be in charge of customer service).
  • The structure of your management team. The higher-ups like yourself should be able to delegate tasks through lower-level managers who are directly responsible for their given department (inventory and sales, etc.).
  • How you’re going to make sure that everyone on board is doing their job well. You’ll want check-ins with employees regularly so they have time to ask questions or voice concerns if needed; this also gives you time to offer support where necessary while staying informed on how things are going within individual departments too!

6. 3D Printing Business Startup Expenses & Captial Needed.

This section should be broken down by month and year. If you are still in the planning stage of your business, it may be helpful to estimate how much money will be needed each month until you reach profitability.

Typically, expenses for your business can be broken into a few basic categories:

Startup Costs

Startup costs are typically the first expenses you will incur when beginning an enterprise. These include legal fees, accounting expenses, and other costs associated with getting your business off the ground. The amount of money needed to start a 3d printing business varies based on many different variables, but below are a few different types of startup costs for a 3d printing business.

Running & Operating Costs

Running costs refer to ongoing expenses related directly with operating your business over time like electricity bills or salaries paid out each month. These types of expenses will vary greatly depending on multiple variables such as location, team size, utility costs, etc.

Marketing & Sales Expenses

You should include any costs associated with marketing and sales, such as advertising and promotions, website design or maintenance. Also, consider any additional expenses that may be incurred if you decide to launch a new product or service line. For example, if your 3d printing business has an existing website that needs an upgrade in order to sell more products or services, then this should be listed here.

7. Financial Plan & Projections

A financial plan is an important part of any business plan, as it outlines how the business will generate revenue and profit, and how it will use that profit to grow and sustain itself. To devise a financial plan for your 3d printing business, you will need to consider a number of factors, including your start-up costs, operating costs, projected revenue, and expenses. 

Here are some steps you can follow to devise a financial plan for your 3d printing business plan:

  • Determine your start-up costs: This will include the cost of purchasing or leasing the space where you will operate your business, as well as the cost of buying or leasing any equipment or supplies that you need to start the business.
  • Estimate your operating costs: Operating costs will include utilities, such as electricity, gas, and water, as well as labor costs for employees, if any, and the cost of purchasing any materials or supplies that you will need to run your business.
  • Project your revenue: To project your revenue, you will need to consider the number of customers you expect to have and the average amount they will spend on each visit. You can use this information to estimate how much money you will make from selling your products or services.
  • Estimate your expenses: In addition to your operating costs, you will need to consider other expenses, such as insurance, marketing, and maintenance. You will also need to set aside money for taxes and other fees.
  • Create a budget: Once you have estimated your start-up costs, operating costs, revenue, and expenses, you can use this information to create a budget for your business. This will help you to see how much money you will need to start the business, and how much profit you can expect to make.
  • Develop a plan for using your profit: Finally, you will need to decide how you will use your profit to grow and sustain your business. This might include investing in new equipment, expanding the business, or saving for a rainy day.

3d printing service business plan

Frequently Asked Questions About 3D Printing Business Plans:

Why do you need a business plan for a 3d printing business.

A business plan is a vital document that outlines the strategy, short and long-term goals, and plans of action for a business. It is essential for a 3D printing business because it provides the roadmap that can help the business achieve its desired goals. It explains how the 3D printing services will be marketed, what resources are needed to start and sustain the business, how customer needs will be met, and how profits will be generated. Ultimately, it serves as a blueprint for setting up and managing a successful 3D printing business.

Who should you ask for help with your 3d printing business plan?

It can be helpful to consult with an accountant, lawyer, and business consultant to help with developing a 3D printing business plan. Additionally, professional organizations like the 3D Printing Association can offer guidance and resources for developing a business plan for a 3D printing business.

Can you write a 3d printing business plan yourself?

While it is possible to write a 3D printing business plan yourself, it is not recommended unless you have expertise and experience in creating business plans. A business plan is an important document that requires extensive research, analysis and strategic thinking in order to be effective. It is best to work with a professional consultant or business coach who can provide guidance and assistance throughout the process.

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I'm Nick, co-founder of newfoundr.com, dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs succeed. As a small business owner with over five years of experience, I have garnered valuable knowledge and insights across a diverse range of industries. My passion for entrepreneurship drives me to share my expertise with aspiring entrepreneurs, empowering them to turn their business dreams into reality.

Through meticulous research and firsthand experience, I uncover the essential steps, software, tools, and costs associated with launching and maintaining a successful business. By demystifying the complexities of entrepreneurship, I provide the guidance and support needed for others to embark on their journey with confidence.

From assessing market viability and formulating business plans to selecting the right technology and navigating the financial landscape, I am dedicated to helping fellow entrepreneurs overcome challenges and unlock their full potential. As a steadfast advocate for small business success, my mission is to pave the way for a new generation of innovative and driven entrepreneurs who are ready to make their mark on the world.

How to write a business plan for a 3D printing business

3d printing business plan entrepreneurs

Did you know that the 3D printing & rapid prototyping services industry in the UK grew 8.3% per year, on average, between 2018 and 2023?

Running a 3D printing business can be an incredibly rewarding venture, but it is important to have the right plan in place for success. A 3D printing business plan should include information about your 3D printing services, financials and marketing strategy amongst other sections.

Writing a comprehensive 3D printing business plan will help you stay organized, and ensure that you cover all of the necessary elements to give your business the best chance of succeeding and impressing investors when raising finance.

Ready? Let's get started!

In this guide:

Why write a business plan for a 3D printing business?

Information needed to create a business plan for a 3d printing business.

  • What goes in the financial forecast of a 3D printing business?

The written part of a 3D printing business plan

What tool should i use to write my 3d printing business plan.

There are several reasons to write a 3D printing business plan. Below, we cover some of the most important ones!

To serve as a roadmap for owners and employees

Writing a business plan is key to growing your 3D printing business because it forms the ideal blueprint in terms of day-to-day operations and management - detailing everything from finances and operations to marketing and sales. It also outlines your goals, strategies, and financial resources needed to succeed.

Without a business plan, it's difficult to understand what direction you should take and whether or not your 3D printing business could be successful. Your plan serves as a guide that ensures all stakeholders are on the 'same page' and that they understand the main goals of the company.

To help secure financing

A 3D printing business plan provides potential investors with information about the financial viability of your company.

This information helps potential investors make informed decisions about whether to invest in your business.

To evaluate the level of investment required

It can also be tough to determine the level of investment required to start up a 3D printing business, particularly if you lack past entrepreneurial experience. 

The financial section of your business plan will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the costs and investments required to start your business. 

Example of potential startup costs for a 3D printing company:

  • Printing equipment and materials
  • Security deposit for the premises
  • Website design
  • Company formation

Gaining a clear understanding of your startup and future costs (in years 1-3), helps you prepare, stay on target, and mitigate the likelihood you'll need to incur unplanned debt.

Create your 3D printing business plan online!

Think your 3D printing business could be profitable? Find out how with a business plan!

bakery business plan online

Writing a 3D printing business plan requires research so that you can project sales, investments and cost accurately in your financial forecast.

In this section, we cover three key pieces of information you should gather before drafting your plan!

Carrying out market research for a 3D printing business

Knowing the size and scope of the industry you are entering, potential customers, competitors, trends in the marketplace and other related information helps shape your business plan.

This is because you gain an in-depth understanding of the current state of the 3D printing industry and can focus on areas of opportunity, whilst taking into account potential risk.

A thorough understanding of the market forms the 'backbone' of any successful business venture.

Developing the marketing plan for a 3D printing company

A marketing plan involves setting out the strategy for the growth of your business. It includes everything from getting to know your target market to acquiring and retaining customers long-term.

A well-written sales plan sets goals in terms of the number of products and services your business aims to sell each year and the forecasted revenue associated.

Your sales plan might also be dictated by specific targets such as "increase the number of 3D printing customers via online advertising by 25% in year 2".

Note that your sales plan forms part of your overall marketing strategy and both work in symphony.

The staffing and equipment needs of a 3D printing business

Before writing a business plan for a 3D printing company, it is important to consider the staffing and equipment needs of your venture. You'll need to know how many people to hire as well as the types of machinery and software needed to produce quality prints.

Understanding how much needs to be invested (upfront and to maintain the equipment) will help you accurately forecast capital expenditures. Whilst having a clear picture of recruitment needs will provide a baseline to assess the level of operating expenses required for your 3D printing business to operate day to day.

At this stage, you should have a thorough understanding of:

  • Market research
  • Marketing & sales plan
  • Staffing and equipment needs

The next step is to build a financial forecast for your 3D printing business.

What goes into a 3D printing business financial forecast?

A financial forecast seeks to project the company's future financial position.

There are three key parts to a financial forecast for a 3D printing business: the profit and loss statement, the balance sheet, and the cash flow statement.

In the next section, we explain what a projected profit and loss statement is and why it's useful for your 3D printing company.

The projected P&L statement

A forecasted profit and loss statement involves projecting expected costs and revenues over a certain period (usually 3 or 5 years) to determine whether or not your business idea is profitable.

Revenues are the money coming in from services or products that the company sells, while expenses are the money going out to produce those services and products.

Expected costs may include overheads such as rent, insurance and marketing.

Projected P&L statements can help a 3D printing company identify opportunities for growth and areas where they need to cut costs to maximize their profits.

By having an accurate and up-to-date projected P&L statement, companies can make informed decisions that will ensure their long-term success.

3d printing business: projected profit and loss

The projected balance sheet of your 3D printing business

The balance sheet for a 3D printing company is an important document that gives you a snapshot of the financial health of the company. It shows how much money the company has in assets, liabilities, and equity. 

  • Assets are things the company owns, such as equipment and inventory.
  • Liabilities are debts that the company owes, such as loans or accounts payable.
  • Equity is the difference between assets and liabilities. It is a proxy for the shareholders' value.

By looking at the balance sheet, you can get an idea of how much money the company is worth and if it owns more than it owes.

3d printing business: projected balance sheet

The projected cash flow statement

A projected cash flow statement details your 3D printing company's cash inflows and outflows.

It includes income from sales and expenses related to operations, any expected capital investments and cash flow from financing activities. 

By predicting how much money is coming in and out of your business each month, you can make more informed decisions about how to manage your finances.

This can help ensure that you have enough cash on hand to cover expenses, as well as plan for future investments and growth. 

3d printing business: projected cash flow

The initial financing plan

3d printing business: sources and uses funds

Now that you have a better understanding of the financial aspect of a 3D printing business plan, it's time to turn our focus to the written part of your business plan.

In this section, you'll learn about how to write an effective executive summary and other key components of your business plan. 

Let's take a look at what you need to include in your plan and how to best communicate your business’s goals and objectives. 

The written part of your 3D printing business plan is where you will provide the reader with the context required to understand your business, its objectives and its ability to carry out the plan and deliver the expected financial projections.

1. The executive summary

The executive summary of your 3D printing business plan should summarize your plan and communicate your vision and goals in a succinct yet comprehensive manner in order to hook the reader.

The reader must gain an understanding of:

  • what the business is,
  • what services are being offered,
  • who it is meant for and how the company adds value to the customer
  • what financial performance is expected
  • what is being asked of the reader

2. The presentation of the company

In this section, you should state what legal structure your 3D printing business will take up. Common legal structures in the UK include sole trader, partnership or limited liability company. You should also include the date of registration, address and total equity invested in the business.

If you have multiple shareholders in the business, it is necessary to outline the role of each shareholder, as well as the percentage of ownership they have in the business.

3. The products and services section

When writing the products and services section of a 3D printing business plan, make sure to include a detailed description of what you offer. Outline each product or service that will be offered, including any unique features or advantages.

Additionally, explain why customers should choose your 3D printing products over others. Make sure to provide information about special or differentiating offers you may have.

3d printing business plan: example of printed products

4. The market research analysis

In this section, the key is to be concise yet comprehensive. Start by summarizing the most important findings from your market research so that you can quickly give potential investors a sense of what sort of demand there may be for your services or products.

Be sure to back up your conclusion with data and facts from the research, so that you can provide a solid foundation for your argument. If there are any unanswered questions or areas of uncertainty that remain, mention those as well, but focus on detailing the most tangible results.

Finally, finish off by presenting the overall conclusions about the market opportunity for your business based on what you've learned.

5. Strategy section

A 3D printing company should present their strategy in a business plan with clear sections that outline its pricing, marketing plan, milestones, risks and mitigants.

  • Present your pricing strategy: state how much each 3D printing service costs and any discounts or promotions available.
  • Outline how the company aims to attract and retain customers in a marketing plan.
  • Mention key milestones and the date by which your 3D printing company hopes to achieve them. For example, your business might want to reach its break-even point within 6 months.
  • Explain how your company plans to manage any potential risks such as fire or water hazards.

6. The operations section

When writing the operations section of a 3D printing company business plan, it is important to include key information about the staffing team, suppliers and assets held by the business.

  • Outline qualifications held by staff and any experience relevant to 3D printing. Explain the responsibilities of each team member.
  • List all of the suppliers you plan to work with and explain why you chose each one. Reasons might include sustainability ethos or cost-effectiveness.
  • State any key assets that your business holds and explain how they are protected. For example, vehicles are insured by most firms.

7. The presentation of the financial plan

By definition, this section should contain your profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow statements.

It should also provide detailed information about necessary startup costs, capital investments and any important assumptions made when building your financial forecast.

There are 3 main ways of putting together a 3D printing business plan which we will explore below.

Creating your 3D printing business plan using Word or Excel

Using Microsoft Word and Excel to create a business plan for your 3D printing company is the cheapest solution, but not the most efficient.

First let's address the elephant in the room: the financial projections.

Unless you have a background in finance or accounting, there is a very strong chance that:

  • you will lack the skills required to create a financial forecast on Excel without making errors,
  • or that the reader of your business plan will assume you did make mistakes (and therefore not trust your projections).

And even if you do have experience in financial modelling, Excel is, in our modern age, by far neither the fastest nor the safest way of creating a financial forecast.

When it comes to writing the actual business plan, Word can do a decent job but you will have to start from a blank page, manually handle the formatting, and manually incorporate your financial forecast's tables inside the document (and keep everything updated when the number changes).

Hire a consultant to write your 3D printing company business plan

Hiring a chartered accountant or consultant to take care of the financial forecast of your 3D printing company business plan is a good way to avoid errors. 

However, the fees are generally quite expensive: budget a minimum of £1.5k ($2.0k) for a complete business plan, more if you need to make changes after the initial version (which happens frequently after the initial meetings with lenders and investors).

If you decide to hire a consultant or accountant, remember to check what's included in the service - are they developing a complete business plan or just doing the financial forecast? And are you willing to pay extra for them to make changes, if necessary?

Use an online business plan software for your 3D printing business plan

Using an online business plan software to write your 3D printing company business plan can be incredibly beneficial, as it provides users with an efficient way to create a comprehensive and professional document.

There are several advantages to using specialised software:

  • You are guided through the writing process by detailed instructions and examples for each part of the plan 
  • You can be inspired by already written business plan templates 
  • You can easily make your financial forecast by letting the software take care of the financial calculations for you
  • You get a professional document, formatted and ready to be sent to your bank or investors.

If you're interested in using this type of solution, you can try our software for free by signing up here .

We hope this article has given you a much better understanding of how to write the business plan for a 3D printing business.

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Guillaume Le Brouster is a seasoned entrepreneur and financier.

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Prior to being a business owner, Guillaume worked in investment banking and private equity, where he spent most of his time creating complex financial forecasts, writing business plans, and analysing financial statements to make financing and investment decisions.

Guillaume holds a Master's Degree in Finance from ESCP Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Business & Management from Paris Dauphine University.

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Home » Sample Business Plans » Technology

How to Write a 3D Printing Business Plan [Sample Template]

Are you about starting a 3D printing company? If YES, here is a complete sample 3D printing business plan template & feasibility report you can use for FREE . If you want to start a business that has potentials and that is sure to make you smile to the bank at all times, then you should be looking at delving into the 3D printing services business. This is a very practical business that is capable of making focused succeed at it.

One of the things that you have got to first of all determine is the willingness for you to go into this business. There after you will begin to do other underground businesses like undertaking a thorough feasibility studies, amongst other things. This business plan below will come in handy as you work at drawing and putting yours all together.

A Sample 3D Printing Business Plan Template

1. industry overview.

The printing industry is indeed a very large industry with many subsets and 3D printing and rapid prototyping is one of the active lines of business in the printing industry. Generally, establishments in the 3D Printing & Prototyping Services industry offer 3D printing and rapid prototyping services.

A 3D printing and prototyping service is the automatic construction of physical objects using additive manufacturing technology. The process include melting or softening material to produce layers, laying liquid material thermosets that are cured and cutting thin layers to shape that are then joined together.

The 3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping Services industry over time has experienced rapid growth and this is due to rapid technological advancements, falling costs and new uses for 3D printing technology. Going forward, the demand for 3D printing and rapid prototyping service and of course the revenue generated is projected to increase rapidly as 3D printing and rapid prototyping explodes in popularity and accessibility, especially in consumer markets.

The 3D Printing & Rapid Prototyping Services Industry is indeed a very large industry and pretty much active in all the parts of the world. Statistics has it that in the united states of America alone, there are about 151 registered and licensed 3D printing and rapid prototyping services companies responsible for employing about 3,814 and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $492 million annually.

The industry is projected to enjoy 3.7 percent annual growth and the establishments with the dominant market share in the 3D printing and rapid prototyping industry are 3D System Inc. and Stratasys.

Research carried out by IBISWORLD shows that the 3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping Services industry exhibits moderate level capital intensity. The report shows that for every $1.00 spent on labor, the average industry operator is estimated to invest about $0.14 in capital equipment.

The average firm’s primary capital investment comes in the form of actual 3D printers. They also stated that printing service companies source these machines directly from 3D printer manufacturers. 3D printers and rapid prototyping equipment form the majority of a firm’s initial purchases and can be of great cost.

The report further states that, the industry wages are anticipated account for roughly 42.2 percent of revenue in 2015. This ratio may seem high; however, the industry’s employees are typically more skilled than other types of printing service related businesses.

If you are looking towards starting your own 3D printing and rapid prototyping services business, then you should endeavor to learn the trade. The truth is that the technology and processes involve in this line of business is one that will require a period of time (months) to learn.

Over and above, the 3D printing and rapid prototyping services industry is pretty much open to new entrepreneurs and investors to come in and build a successful business. But they must first and foremost ensure that they conduct thorough feasibility studies and market survey before situating the business in any location. This is very important because if this type of business is better located in an area that has available market for its services.

2. Executive Summary

Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC is a U.S based and world – class 3D printing and rapid prototyping Services Company. We have been able to secure a standard and well – positioned office facility in a busy business district in Los Angeles – California.

We are a world class 3D printing and rapid prototyping company that is set to compete in the highly competitive 3D printing and rapid prototyping services industry not only in the United States market, but also in the global market.

Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC will be involved in the all aspect of 3D printing and rapid prototyping  services such as3D printing rapid prototyping, 3D printing support services, selective laser sintering (SLS), fused deposition modeling (FDM), stereo lithography (SLA) and other related 3D printing and rapid prototyping services.

Our business goal is to become one of the leading 3D printing and rapid prototyping Services Company in the United States and we will make sure that every 3D printing and rapid prototyping jobs that leaves our printing press can favorable compete with the best in the industry.

Our workers are going to be selected from a pool of talented and highly creative 3D printers in and around Los Angeles – California and also from any part of the world as the business grows.

We will make sure that we take all the members of our workforce through the required trainings that will position them to meet the expectation of the company and to compete with leading 3D printing and rapid prototyping services companies in the United States and throughout the globe.

At Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC our client’s best interest come first, and everything we do will be guided by our values and professional ethics. We will ensure that we hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards by delivering excellent and neat jobs and also meeting our client’s needs precisely and completely.

We will cultivate a working environment that provides a human, sustainable approach to earning a living, and living in our world, for our partners, employees and for our clients. Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC is a private business that is owned and managed by Mr. Joseph Pascal and his immediate family members.

Joseph Pascal studied Printing Technology from Illinois Institute of Technology and he has well over 10 years of hands on experience working with one of the leading 3D printing and rapid prototyping services companies in the United States of America. He will be bringing his wealth of experience to grow Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC to become a national brand.

3. Our Products and Services

Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC was established with the aim of maximizing profits in the 3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping industry.

We want to compete favorably with the leading 3D printing and rapid prototyping companies in the United States of America which is why we have but in place a competent quality assurance team that will ensure that all our 3D printing and rapid prototyping services jobs and other related printing services rendered meet and even surpass our customers’ expectations and match – up with international best practices.

We will work hard to ensure that Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC is not just accepted in Los Angeles – California but also nationally throughout the United States of America. Our service offerings are listed below;

  • 3D printing
  • Rapid prototyping
  • 3D printing support services
  • Selective laser sintering (SLS)
  • Fused deposition modeling (FDM)
  • Stereo lithography (SLA)
  • The sale of 3D printers and supplies.
  • Screen printing consulting and advisory services
  • Other related printing services

4. Our Mission and Vision Statement

  • Our vision is to establish a standard and world class 3D printing and rapid prototyping company whose services and brand will not only be accepted in Los Angeles – California but also throughout the United States of America, but also in other parts of the world.
  • Our mission is to build a world class 3D printing and rapid prototyping company that will be known to execute top notch s3D printing and rapid prototyping projects and to become the number one choice for branding, advertising and promotion agencies and other stake holder in the industry.
  • We want to build a 3D printing and rapid prototyping services company that can favorably compete with other leading brands in the industry.

Our Business Structure

Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC is a 3D printing and rapid prototyping services company that intend starting small in Los Angeles – California, but hope to grow big in order to compete favorably with leading 3D printing and rapid prototyping companies in the industry both in the United States and on a global stage.

We are aware of the importance of building a solid business structure that can support the picture of the kind of world class business we want to own. This is why we are committed to only hire the best hands within our area of operations.

At Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC, we will ensure that we hire people that are qualified, hardworking, creative, customer centric and are ready to work to help us build a prosperous business that will benefit all the stake holders (the owners, workforce, and customers).

As a matter of fact, profit-sharing arrangement will be made available to all our senior management staff and it will be based on their performance for a period of five years or more as agreed by the board of trustees of the company. In view of the above, we have decided to hire qualified and competent hands to occupy the following positions;

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Creative Director
  • Human Resources and Admin Manager
  • Sales and Marketing Executive

3D Printing Machine Operators

Client Service Executive

5. Job Roles and Responsibilities

Chief Executive Officer – CEO:

  • Increases management’s effectiveness by recruiting, selecting, orienting, training, coaching, counseling, and disciplining managers; communicating values, strategies, and objectives; assigning accountabilities; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results; developing incentives; developing a climate for offering information and opinions; providing educational opportunities.
  • Responsible for providing direction for the business
  • Creates, communicates and implements the organization’s vision, mission, and overall direction – i.e. lading the development and implementation of the overall organization’s strategy.
  • Responsible for signing checks and documents on behalf of the company
  • Evaluates the success of the organization

Creative Director:

  • Serves as project manager of the organization; works directly with employees
  • Responsible for designing and approving concepts for 3D printing of materials for client
  • Develops strategic plan by studying technological and financial opportunities; presenting assumptions; recommending objectives.
  • Accomplishes subsidiary objectives by establishing plans, budgets, and results measurements; allocating resources; reviewing progress; making mid-course corrections.
  • Coordinates efforts by establishing procurement, production, marketing, field, and technical services policies and practices; coordinating actions with corporate staff.
  • Builds company image by collaborating with customers, government, community organizations, and employees; enforcing ethical business practices.
  • Maintains quality service by establishing and enforcing organization standards.
  • Maintains professional and technical knowledge by attending educational workshops; reviewing professional publications / journals; establishing personal networks; benchmarking state-of-the-art practices; participating in professional societies.
  • Makes certain that production and development department perform efficiently, coordinate employee efforts, and facilitate communications between management and 3D printing machine operators and rapid prototyping specialist
  • Ensures that the organization work in line with international best practices.

Admin and HR Manager

  • Responsible for overseeing the smooth running of HR and administrative tasks for the organization
  • Designs job descriptions with KPI to drive performance management for clients
  • Regularly hold meetings with key stakeholders to review the effectiveness of HR Policies, Procedures and Processes
  • Maintains office supplies by checking stocks; placing and expediting orders; evaluating new products.
  • Ensures operation of equipment by completing preventive maintenance requirements; calling for repairs.
  • Defines job positions for recruitment and managing interviewing process
  • Carries out staff induction for new team members
  • Responsible for training, evaluation and assessment of employees
  • Responsible for arranging travel, meetings and appointments
  • Updates job knowledge by participating in educational opportunities; reading professional publications; maintaining personal networks; participating in professional organizations.
  • Oversees the smooth running of the daily office activities.

Sales and Marketing Manager

  • Manages external research and coordinate all the internal sources of information to retain the organizations’ best customers and attract new ones
  • Models demographic information and analyze the volumes of transactional data generated by customer
  • Identifies development opportunities; follows up on development leads and contacts; participates in the structuring and financing of projects; assures the completion of development projects.
  • Writes winning proposal documents, negotiate fees and rates in line with organizations’ policy
  • Responsible for handling business research, market surveys and feasibility studies for clients
  • Responsible for supervising implementation, advocate for the customer’s needs, and communicate with clients
  • Develops, executes and evaluates new plans for expanding increase sales
  • Creates new markets cum businesses for the organization
  • Empower and motivates the sales team to meet and surpass agreed targets

Accountant / Cashier:

  • Responsible for preparing financial reports, budgets, and financial statements for the organization
  • Provides managements with financial analyses, development budgets, and accounting reports; analyzes financial feasibility for the most complex proposed projects; conducts market research to forecast trends and business conditions.
  • Responsible for financial forecasting and risks analysis.
  • Performs cash management, general ledger accounting, and financial reporting for one or more properties.
  • Responsible for developing and managing financial systems and policies
  • Responsible for administering payrolls
  • Ensuring compliance with taxation legislation
  • Handles all financial transactions for Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC
  • Serves as internal auditor for Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC
  • In charge of handling 3D printing, rapid prototyping, 3D printing support services, selective laser sintering (SLS), fused deposition modeling (FDM) and stereo lithography (SLA)
  • Liaises with clients to determine their requirement and budget
  • Works to a brief, which details what the space will be used for, and finding out the client’s personal ideas and requirements
  • Responsible for creating patterns and operating 3D printing machines cum equipment
  • Responsible for negotiating fees and setting schedules for the project
  • Responsible for researching and drawing up rough plans
  • Responsible for developing detailed designs and choosing materials
  • Responsible for preparing drafts or material based on an agreement brief.
  • Researches and advices the organization on style, genre and other trendy info as it relates to 3D printing and rapid prototyping et al.
  • Welcomes clients and visitors by greeting them in person or on the telephone; answering or directing inquiries.
  • Ensures that all contacts with clients (e-mail, walk-In center, SMS or phone) provides the client with a personalized customer service experience of the highest level
  • Through interaction with clients on the phone, uses every opportunity to build client’s interest in the company’s products and services
  • Manages administrative duties assigned by the HR manager in an effective and timely manner
  • Consistently stays abreast of any new information on the organizations’ products, promotional campaigns etc. to ensure accurate and helpful information is supplied to potential clients when they make enquiries
  • Receives parcels / documents for the company
  • Distributes mails in the organization
  • Handles any other duties as assigned by the human resources and admin manager.

6. SWOT Analysis

Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC employed the services of a core professional in the area of business consulting and structuring to assist our organization in building a well – structured 3D printing and rapid prototyping services business that can favorably compete in the highly competitive 3D printing and rapid prototyping services industry in the United States and the world at large.

Part of what the team of business consultant did was to work with the management of our organization in conducting a SWOT analysis for Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC. Here is a summary from the result of the SWOT analysis that was conducted on behalf of Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC;

Our core strength lies in the power of our team; our workforce. We have a team of creative and highly proficient 3D printers and rapid prototyping experts, a team with excellent qualifications and experience in various niche areas in the printing industry.

Aside from the synergy that exists in our carefully selected 3D printers and rapid prototyping experts, we have some of the latest and efficient 3D printing machines and equipment and of course our work output and services will be guided by international best practices in the industry.

As a new 3D printing and rapid prototyping services company in Los Angeles – California, it might take some time for our organization to break into the market and gain acceptance especially from the government and other high profile clients in the already saturated and highly competitive 3D printing and rapid prototyping services industry; that is perhaps our major weakness. Another weakness is that we may not have the required cash to promote our business the way we would want to.

  • Opportunities:

No doubt, the opportunities in the 3D printing and rapid prototyping services industry is massive considering the number of individuals and corporate organizations that would need the services of 3D printing and rapid prototyping services companies. As a standard 3D printing and rapid prototyping services company, we are ready to take advantage of any opportunity that is available in the industry.

Just like any other business, one of the major threats that we are likely going to face is economic downturn. It is a fact that economic downturn affects purchasing / spending power. Another threat that may likely confront us is the arrival of a new 3D printing and rapid prototyping services company in same location where our target market exist and who may want to adopt same Business model like us.


  • Market Trends

As a 3D printing and rapid prototyping services company with the aspiration to favorably compete in the industry, you are expected to keep tab with new trends and products that are always coming up in the industry.

It is important to state that in recent time, for any 3D printing and rapid prototyping services company to continue to stay in business and grow, they must continue to come up with highly creative design and concepts and also engage in other printing related services.

8. Our Target Market

Before starting our 3D printing and rapid prototyping services company, we are certain that there is a wide range of both corporate and individual clients who cannot successfully carry out promotions and branding of their products and services without hiring the services of 3D printing press.

We will ensure that we develop strategic pacts with corporate organizations, advertising and branding agencies, and religious organizations et al. This will give us several options to generate revenue for our company. In view of that, we have created strategies that will enable us reach out to various corporate organizations and individual who we know can’t afford to do without our services.

We have conducted our market research and survey and we will ensure that all our 3D printing and rapid prototyping services are well accepted in the market place. Below is a list of the people and organizations that we have specifically market our products and services to;

  • Banks, Insurance Companies and other related Financial Institutions
  • Blue Chips Companies
  • Corporate Organizations
  • Manufacturers and Distributors
  • Real Estate Owners, Developers, and Contractors
  • Research and Development Companies
  • The Government (Public Sector)
  • Schools (High Schools, Colleges and Universities)
  • Celebrities, Politicians, Public Figures and Public Speakers
  • Sport Organizations
  • Religious Organizations
  • Political Parties
  • Television Stations
  • Printing Press (Publishing Houses) and Authors
  • Branding and Advertising agencies
  • Aspiring celebrities
  • Entrepreneurs and Start – Ups

Our Competitive Advantage

No doubt the competition in the 3D printing and rapid prototyping services industry is getting stiffer by the day, you have to be highly creative and come up with appealing designs and concepts and very neat jobs in order to survive in the industry.

The 3D printing and rapid prototyping services industry is indeed a profitable and at the same time a highly competitive industry; it enjoys strong demand as organizations and individuals continue to print materials for promotional purposes. Clients will only hire your services if they know that they can get nothing but the best from you.

We are quite aware that to be highly competitive in the 3D printing and rapid prototyping services industry means that you are not only expected to be able to deliver consistent and highly creative designs, but you must be able to meet set targets. No one would want to continue to hire your services if don’t always meet up with the target date of completion of projects.

Our competitive advantage lies in the power of our team; our workforce. We have a team of creative and highly proficient 3D printers and rapid prototyping experts, a team with excellent qualifications and experience in various niche areas in the printing industry.

Lastly, all our employees will be well taken care of, and their welfare package will be among the best within our category ( startups 3D printing and rapid prototyping services companies in the United States ) in the industry. It will enable them to be more than willing to build the business with us and help deliver our set goals and achieve all our business aims and objectives.


  • Sources of Income

Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC is established with the aim of maximizing profits in the 3D printing and rapid prototyping services industry and we are going to go all the way to ensure that we do all it takes to meet and surpass the expectations of all our clients.

Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC will generate income by offering the following 3D printing and rapid prototyping services and other printing related services;

10. Sales Forecast

One thing is certain, there would always be corporate organization and individual who would need the services of 3D printing and rapid prototyping companies whenever they have to conduct promotions and branding and also other related printing services.

We are well positioned to take on the available market in 3D printing and rapid prototyping services industry and we are quite optimistic that we will meet our set target of generating enough income / profits from the first six month of operations and grow our 3D printing and rapid prototyping services company to enviable heights.

We have been able to critically examine the 3D printing and rapid prototyping services market and we have analyzed our chances in the industry and we have been able to come up with the following sales forecast. The sales projections are based on information gathered on the field and some assumptions that are peculiar to similar startups in Los Angeles – California.

Below are the sales projections for Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC, it is based on the location of our business and of course the wide range of our services and target market;

  • First Fiscal Year-: $250,000
  • Second Fiscal Year-: $400,000
  • Third Fiscal Year-: $750,000

N.B : This projection is done based on what is obtainable in the industry and with the assumption that there won’t be any major economic meltdown and there won’t be any major competitor offering same 3D printing and rapid prototyping services as we do within same location. Please note that the above projection might be lower and at the same time it might be higher.

  • Marketing Strategy and Sales Strategy

We are not ignorant of the fact that there are stiffer competitions in the 3D printing and rapid prototyping services industry; there are loads of 3D printing and rapid prototyping services companies jostling for contracts which is why we have been able to hire some of the best marketing experts to handle our sales and marketing.

Our sales and marketing team will be recruited based on their vast experience in the 3D printing and rapid prototyping services industry and they will be trained on a regular basis so as to be well equipped to meet their set targets and the overall business goal of Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC.

Our goal is to grow Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC to become one of the leading 3D printing and rapid prototyping services companies in the United States of America which is why we have mapped out strategies that will help us take advantage of the available market and grow to become a major force to reckon with not only in Los Angeles – California but also in other cities in the United States of America.

Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC is set to make use of the following marketing and sales strategies to attract clients and win 3D printing and rapid prototyping services contracts;

  • Introduce our 3D printing and rapid prototyping Services Company by sending introductory letters alongside our brochure to corporate organizations, advertising and branding agencies, religious organizations and key stake holders.
  • Promptness in bidding for 3D printing and rapid prototyping services contracts from the government and other cooperate organizations
  • Advertise our business in relevant business magazines, newspapers, TV stations, and radio station.
  • List our business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Attend relevant international and local expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
  • Create different packages for different category of clients in order to work with their budgets and still deliver excellent 3D printing and rapid prototyping services
  • Leverage on the internet to promote our business
  • Engage direct marketing approach
  • Join local chambers of commerce and industries to network and market our services
  • Encourage word of mouth marketing from loyal and satisfied clients

11. Publicity and Advertising Strategy

We have been able to work with brand and publicity consultants to help us map out publicity and advertising strategies that will help us walk our way into the heart of our target market.

We are set to become the number one choice for both corporate clients and individual clients in the whole of the Virginia Beach and beyond which is why we have made provisions for effective publicity and advertisement of our 3D printing and rapid prototyping services company.

Below are the platforms we intend to leverage on to promote and advertise Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community based events / programs
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook , twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote our services
  • Install our Bill Boards on strategic locations all around Los Angeles – California
  • Engage in road show from time to time in targeted neighborhoods
  • Distribute our fliers and handbills in target areas
  • Contact corporate organizations and residence in our target areas by calling them up and informing them of Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC and the services we offer
  • List our 3D printing and rapid prototyping services company in local directories / yellow pages
  • Advertise our 3D printing and rapid prototyping services company in our official website and employ strategies that will help us pull traffic to the site.
  • Ensure that all our staff members wear our branded shirts and all our vehicles and trucks are well branded with our company logo et al.

12. Our Pricing Strategy

If you are conversant with the 3D printing and rapid prototyping services industry, you will realize that the pricing structure ranges from fixed price rate to per square foot billing and even to the quantity of materials to be printed on. Almost all 3D printing and rapid prototyping services companies adopts all the available pricing system as it applies to the quantity of the job or project they are expected to execute.

At Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC we will adopt all the pricing system as is obtainable in the industry but we will ensure that we keep the prices of our services a little below the average market rate for all of our customers by keeping our overhead low and by collecting payment in advance from corporate organizations who would hire our services to help them print on their promotional materials.

In addition, we will also offer special discounted rates to all our customers at regular intervals. We are aware that there are some one off 3D printing and rapid prototyping services jobs or government contracts which are always lucrative; we will ensure that we abide by the pricing model that is expected from contractors or organizations that bid for such contracts.

  • Payment Options

The payment policy adopted by Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC is all inclusive because we are quite aware that different customers prefer different payment options as it suits them but at the same time, we will ensure that we abide by the financial rules and regulation of the United States of America. Here are the payment options that Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC will make available to her clients;

  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment with cash
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via mobile money
  • Payment via Point of Sales Machines (POS Machines)
  • Payment via check
  • Payment via bank draft

In view of the above, we have chosen banking platforms that will enable our client make payment for farm produces purchase without any stress on their part. Our bank account numbers will be made available on our website and promotional materials to clients who may want to deposit cash or make online transfer for our services.

13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)

In setting up any business, the amount or cost will depend on the approach and scale you want to undertake. If you intend to go big by renting a place, then you would need a good amount of capital as you would need to ensure that your employees are well taken care of, and that your facility is conducive enough for workers to be creative and productive.

This means that the start-up can either be low or high depending on your goals, vision and aspirations for your business. When it comes to setting up a 3D printing and rapid prototyping services business, the materials and equipment that will be used are nearly the same cost everywhere, and any difference in prices would be minimal and can be overlooked.

As for the detailed cost analysis for starting a 3D printing and rapid prototyping services company; it might differ in other countries due to the value of their money. However, this is what it would cost us to setup Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC in Los Angeles – California, U.S;

  • Business incorporating fees in the United States of America will cost – $750.
  • The budget for Liability insurance, permits and license will cost – $3,500
  • Acquiring an office space or warehouse that will accommodate the number of employees for at least 6 months (Re – Construction of the facility inclusive) will cost – $150,000.
  • Equipping the office (computers, 3D printing machines and equipment, servers / internet facility, furniture, telephones, filing cabinets, and electronics) will cost – $10,000
  • Amount required to purchase the needed software applications – $3,500
  • Launching an official Website will cost – $500
  • Amount need to pay bills and staff members for at least 2 to 3 months – $70,000
  • Additional Expenditure such as Business cards, Signage, Adverts and Promotions will cost – $5,000

Going by the report from the market research and feasibility studies conducted, we will need about two hundred thousand ( 350,000 ) U.S. dollars to successfully set – up a medium scale but standard 3D printing and rapid prototyping services company in the United States of America.

Generating Funds / Startup Capital for Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC

Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC is a family business that will be owned by Mr. Joseph Pascal and his immediate family members. They are the sole financial of the business which is why they decided to restrict the sourcing of the start – up capital for the business to just three major sources.

These are the areas we intend generating our start – up capital;

  • Generate part of the start – up capital from personal savings and sale of his stocks
  • Generate part of the start – up capital from friends and other extended family members
  • Generate a larger chunk of the startup capital from the bank (loan facility).

N.B: We have been able to generate about $100,000 (Personal savings $85,000 and soft loan from family members $15,000 ) and we are at the final stages of obtaining a loan facility of $250,000 from our bank. All the papers and document has been duly signed and submitted, the loan has been approved and any moment from now our account will be credited.

14. Sustainability and Expansion Strategy

The future of a business lies in the numbers of loyal customers that they have the capacity and competence of the employees, their investment strategy and the business structure. If all of these factors are missing from a business (company), then it won’t be too long before the business close shop.

One of our major goals of starting Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC is to build a business that will survive off its own cash flow without the need for injecting finance from external sources once the business is officially running.

We know that one of the ways of gaining approval and winning customers over is to offer our 3D printing and rapid prototyping services a little bit cheaper than what is obtainable in the market and we are well prepared to survive on lower profit margin for a while.

Crop & Clip 3D Printing™, LLC will make sure that the right foundation, structures and processes are put in place to ensure that our staff welfare are well taken of. Our company’s corporate culture is designed to drive our business to greater heights and training and re – training of our workforce is at the top burner of our business strategy.

As a matter of fact, profit-sharing arrangement will be made available to all our management staff and it will be based on their performance for a period of ten years or more as determined by the board of the organization. We know that if that is put in place, we will be able to successfully hire and retain the best hands we can get in the industry; they will be more committed to help us build the business of our dreams.

Check List / Milestone

  • Business Name Availability Check: Completed
  • Business Incorporation: Completed
  • Opening of Corporate Bank Accounts various banks in the United States: Completed
  • Opening Online Payment Platforms: Completed
  • Application and Obtaining Tax Payer’s ID: In Progress
  • Securing a standard office facility plus renovation of the facility: Completed
  • Application for business license and permit: Completed
  • Purchase of All form of Insurance for the Business: Completed
  • Conducting Feasibility Studies: Completed
  • Generating part of the start – up capital from the founders: Completed
  • writing of business plan: Completed
  • Drafting of Employee’s Handbook: Completed
  • Drafting of Contract Documents: In Progress
  • Design of Logo for the business: Completed
  • Secure trademark for our products: In Progress
  • Graphic Designs and Printing of Packaging Marketing / Promotional Materials: Completed
  • Recruitment of employees: In Progress
  • Purchase of the needed 3D printing machines: Completed
  • Purchase of the needed furniture, office equipment, software applications, electronic appliances and facility facelift: In progress
  • Creating Official Website for the business: In Progress
  • Creating Awareness for the business: In Progress
  • Health and Safety and Fire Safety Arrangement: In Progress
  • Establishing business relationship with vendors and key players in the industries: In Progress

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3d printing service business plan

Crafting a Solid Business Plan for Your 3D Printing Service: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you considering starting a 3D printing service but aren't sure where to begin with creating a business plan? Crafting a thorough and professional plan can help you secure funding, attract clients, and establish a clear roadmap for your business's future.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps of creating a 3D printing service business plan that will set you up for success. From defining your mission and target market to outlining your services and marketing strategy, we'll cover it all.

Step 1: Define Your Business Mission

The first step in any comprehensive business plan is to define your mission – in other words, the purpose and values that drive your company. For a 3D printing service, your mission might center around providing high-quality, accessible, and innovative printing solutions for a specific industry or community. Consider the following questions as you draft your mission statement:

What unique value does your 3D printing service offer?

Who are your primary customers and why do they need your services?

What guiding principles will shape your company culture and decision-making?

Step 2: Conduct Market Research and Analysis

Once you've defined your mission, it's time to conduct market research and analysis to better understand your industry, competition, and target market. This research can help you identify niche opportunities and potential barriers to success. Consider the following factors:

Industry trends, such as emerging technologies or growing demand for 3D printing in specific fields

Competitor analysis – who else is offering similar services and how do they differ from your business?

Customer segmentation – who is your target demographic and what are their specific needs and pain points?

Pricing strategies – what pricing models will you use and how do they compare to competitors?

Step 3: Outline Your Services and Operations

With a solid understanding of your mission and market, it's time to outline your specific services and operations. This section can include details such as:

Types of 3D printing services you offer – do you specialize in prototyping, manufacturing, or both?

Materials and technologies used in your printing process

Processing times and turnaround expectations

Quality control measures to ensure consistency and accuracy

Legal and regulatory considerations, such as certifications or patents

Step 4: Create a Marketing and Growth Strategy

No business plan is complete without a marketing and growth strategy. This section can include details such as:

Targeted marketing campaigns to reach your ideal customer base

Networking and outreach efforts to build brand recognition and establish industry partnerships

Partnerships with complementary businesses or industries to expand your expertise and service offerings

Plans for scale and future growth, such as expanding your physical location or adding new services

Step 5: Financial Projections and Analysis

Finally, you'll need to include detailed financial projections and analysis to demonstrate the feasibility and profit potential of your 3D printing service. Consider including:

Startup costs and funding requirements, such as equipment or licensing fees

Revenue and expense projections for your first year of operation

Break-even analysis to determine when your business will start generating profit

Funding options and forecasts for potential investors or lenders

Crafting a comprehensive 3D printing service business plan can be challenging, but by following these steps and consulting with business professionals, you'll be well on your way to a thriving and successful business.

3D printing process

Different 3D printing processes have their own advantages and applicable scenarios, Sigma provides SLA process for Visual prototyping and SLS process for Functional prototyping.

3d printing service business plan

FDM is the most common 3D printing technology that uses hot-melt plastic wire material to deposit printed objects layer by layer through nozzles.

3d printing service business plan

SLA uses ultraviolet laser or LED beam to solidify liquid photosensitive resin and print objects layer by layer.

3d printing service business plan

SLS uses lasers to sinter material powders and print objects layer by layer.

3D printing materials

3d printing service business plan

One of the most commonly used 3D printing materials. These materials include ABS, PLA, PETG, TPU, PEEK, etc. Each material has different physical and chemical properties and can be suitable for different application scenarios.

3d printing service business plan

Metal 3D printing materials include titanium alloy, aluminum alloy, stainless steel, nickel alloy, etc. Metal 3D printing can produce complex components and molds, with advantages such as high strength and high wear resistance.

3d printing service business plan

Ceramic 3D printing materials include alumina, zirconia, silicate, etc. Ceramic 3D printing can produce high-precision ceramic products, such as ceramic parts, ceramic sculptures, etc.

Delicated Employees

Countries Served

Satisfied Customers

Projects Delivered Per Month

3d printing service business plan

What can we do?

Sigma Technik Limited, as a prototype production company and rapid manufacturer focusing on rapid prototyping and low volume production of plastic and metal parts, has advanced manufacturing technology, one-stop service, diversified manufacturing methods, on-demand manufacturing services and efficient manufacturing processes, which can provide customers with high-quality, efficient and customized product manufacturing services and help customers improve product quality and market competitiveness.

Gallery of 3D Printing

3d printing service business plan

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3d printing faqs, what is the reason for the poor 3d printing effect.

Poor printing quality may be caused by improper printer adjustment, material issues, or design issues. The solution includes adjusting printer settings, replacing materials, or redesigning the model.

Why Slow 3D printing speed?

The printing speed may be slow due to issues with the mechanical structure or control system of the printer. The solution includes upgrading printer hardware or adjusting printer settings

What to do if the 3D printer has insufficient adhesion?

Possible poor adhesion of the printing bed due to surface or material issues. The solution includes replacing the surface of the printing bed, using a bottom coating, or replacing materials.

How to solve a 3D printer malfunction?

The printer may malfunction due to hardware or software issues. The solution includes checking and repairing printer hardware, updating printer software, or reinstalling drivers.

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Advances in 3D, or additive, printing offer endless opportunities for tech enthusiasts.

 Team of people looking at an object created by a 3D printer.

3D printing, also known as additive printing, is an industry that continues to innovate and grow, offering a multitude of opportunities for the aspiring entrepreneur to print designs on demand. This technology-driven discipline utilizes computer aided design (CAD) and a specialty printer to create detailed solid (3D) objects, primarily using thermoplastics and a growing list of materials, through a sophisticated layering method that allows items of any shape or size to be created with precision.

3D printing is environmentally efficient, known for producing zero waste, and it is a lower cost option than traditional manufacturing. It is expected that by 2025, the global 3D printing and services market will reach $50 billion . Starting a small 3D printing business requires a 3D printer, as well as plastic filament reels and design software for beginners. Identifying your niche and allowing for personalization is key. The businesses below are primed for at-home startup and offer something for every interest and expertise.

You can build a successful 3D printing business by producing prototypes for others with a quick turnaround time. Entrepreneurs with a vision or design that they hope to bring to life look to 3D printing experts for rapid, lower cost options for product development compared to traditional manufacturing methods. There are a lot of prototype production services, so building an expertise and a solid reputation in a particular niche could be beneficial. You can increase your success if you are an engineer and are adept at retooling, refining and offering ways to improve upon a design.

The growth in popularity of customization has had a major impact on the eyeglass market. Eyeglasses wearers can drive the design process for 3D eyeglasses, creating distinctive frames that fit their style and comfort needs through measurements taken by a 3D scanner. The category, from reading glasses to sports goggles, is expected to see significant growth, worth a projected $500 million by the end of 2027. Considering 45% of eyewear goes unsold and is discarded each year, 3D printed eyewear presents a lot of efficiencies for manufacturing and the environment. The nylon powder used to make 3D eyewear can be reused, eliminating waste unlike traditionally made eyewear.

Toys are among the easiest items to create with 3D printing and are sought-after items among those who are always looking to add to their doll, action figure, fidget spinner, toy car/truck and bath toy collections. Chess or board game pieces are hot 3D printed items that enhance the gaming experience via customization and personalization. Of course, 3D printing also has great implications for toy replacements and replacement parts — after all, who wouldn’t want to be a hero in salvaging a child’s beloved doll or action figure? But there are also safety regulations and copyright laws to consider. While intellectual property laws often consider items produced for private means to be fair trade, copying trademarked or patented proprietary designs can lead to legal action and penalties.

More and more jewelry designers are using 3D printing to produce their pieces, from rings to bracelets to earrings. Between 2020-2024, the 3D jewelry business is forecasted to grow by $1.95 billion , a 21% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). The popularity can be attributed to the efficiency in creating intricately detailed designs and the significantly quicker production times. There are 3D jewelry printers that allow for casting and are better able to utilize metals, nylons and other materials specific to jewelry making. Oftentimes, designers will start with a plastic model and make adjustments to the design until perfect and then produce the piece in metal. To get started, 3Design , Matrix and JewelCAD all offer design software specifically for jewelry printing. For those who prefer to focus solely on the design process and leave the 3D printing to someone else, there are several services who will take your 3D design model and produce the finished product.

The legal arena has had an increased demand for 3D printing that can help to recreate anything from defective products in liability cases to crime scenes in criminal cases.

Spare parts

Specializing in 3D printing of spare parts can be very lucrative. Manufacturers are often faced with the challenges producing spare parts present in terms of cost and inventory. Many simply do not have the space to house all the parts that go into assembling their products or the budgets that are required to make and stock them. Add to that the delays in ordering parts from overseas and the impact that has on customer relationships and businesses can find themselves in trouble when repairs or replacements are needed. One solution is for manufacturers to digitize a catalog of parts that can be printed on demand. As a small business specializing in spare parts, you can be the source for local service providers and tradespeople to look to when a replacement or special fitting is required. Decentralizing manufacturing helps to shorten or eliminate the carbon footprint of transporting parts, a major advancement toward greater sustainability.

Promotional products

If you have ever tried to order custom items for promotional purposes or for an event, the minimum quantities required often make it prohibitive and the long lead times mean merchandise takes weeks, if not months, to arrive. Enter 3D printing. With a 3D printer, you can get the word out to local businesses, politicians, families and schools that you have the ability to turn around products that creatively brand their messages, businesses, parties/events and travels in no time, without minimum quantities. Promotional goods are expected to represent over $15 billion in sales in 2021. Eco-friendly products and work-from-home goods are among the hottest trends in promotional items. While most businesses will already have established logos and graphics from which to work from, if you happen to have graphic design skill, you can leverage that for greater profitability.

Printer rental

With the cost of a 3D printer averaging around $1,000, many entrepreneurs who would like to explore implications of the technology on their ideas just don’t have the money to invest and test. There is also a market for those in need of short term access for a small scale project. If you have the resources, you can make considerable money renting or leasing out your 3D printer and materials to commercial and residential customers. Start with a Google Business listing, a website with photos, social media advertising and word-of-mouth brand building. It’s a good idea to differentiate the pricing between private customers and commercial businesses. Weekly rentals could garner a couple hundred per week or $500-$600 monthly, plus cost of supplies and training.

For those with a passion for home decor, 3D printing lends itself well to the housewares market. Vases, lamps, planters, photo frames, dishes, drinkware, placemats and cutlery are all easily produced through additive printing. Complex designs with unique textures and finishes can be printed with relative ease. The key is to develop a unique aesthetic and define your niche. Set up an e-commerce site from which to feature your designs and then print on demand to customer specs. At the same time you can leverage existing traffic on sites like Etsy where customers are always looking for interesting and unique home decor that reflects their personal style and a desire for one-of-a kind items.

Smartphone cases

Smartphone cases are one of those accessories that people often like to reflect their personality or tastes. They are also something people quickly tire of and like to change up often, however valuing protective features remains a constant in their purchasing decisions. If you have a good eye for what’s trending in design, fashion and pop culture and can design to the tastes and interests of customers while offering protective features and materials, a 3D smartphone printing business can be a great small business opportunity. In 2019, the global revenue for protective smartphone cases was $21.67 billion with an expected CAGR of 6.3% between 2019-2027. On average, one large spool of filament makes approximately 200 smartphone cases and there are many variations of filaments , depending on the type of case and durability desired.

Forensic evidence

Dream job alert for "CSI" or "Law & Order" fans: The legal arena has had an increased demand for 3D printing that can help recreate anything from defective products in liability cases to crime scenes in criminal cases. Imagine being tasked with 3D printing the fingerprints of a suspect or cars that can be used to simulate an accident. Many medical malpractice suits require anatomically correct body parts and can garner hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to bring to life.

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3D Printing Business

Back to All Business Ideas

How to Start a 3D Printing Business

Written by: Carolyn Young

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by: David Lepeska

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

Published on January 27, 2022 Updated on December 22, 2023

How to Start a 3D Printing Business

Investment range

$7,050 - $16,100

Revenue potential

$130,000 - $650,000 p.a.

Time to build

1 – 3 months

Profit potential

$100,000 - $200,000 p.a.

Industry trend

3D printing is taking off! But you can still get in on the ground floor and ride this elevator to the top. It’s a $14 billion global market that’s expected to grow four-fold by 2026. 

Most startups can’t afford their own 3D printer, and many turn to a 3D printing service to produce their initial prototypes. Toys and home décor are also popular 3D printing products. Opening a 3D printing business, which you can do in your home, is an incredible opportunity to join a booming industry and make good money. 

You can’t, however, simply make a 3D print of a 3D printing business and hit the ground running. You need to understand the nitty-gritty, which is what you will find in this step-by-step guide that is loaded with tips and insights to help you begin your entrepreneurial adventure.

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Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons.

Starting a 3D printing business has pros and cons that you should consider before deciding if it’s right for you.

  • Good Profit – Prices for 3D prints cost up to $1,000 or more
  • Global Clientele – Work from home, take orders from anywhere
  • Strong Retention – Happy customers tend to return
  • Evolving Technology – 3D printers quickly become outdated
  • Expensive – 3D printers don’t come cheap

3D printing industry trends

The 3D printer manufacturing industry in the US has strongly recovered from the pandemic slump. The opportunity is there for the bold entrepreneur to jump in and ride the wave. 

Industry size and growth

  • Industry size and past growth – The 3D printer manufacturing industry in the US has returned to a high growth path, reaching a revenue of $6.3 billion, the highest in the past 10 years. The industry has been growing by 14% per year since 2017.(( https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/market-size/3d-printer-manufacturing-united-states/ ))  
  • Growth forecast – The $14 billion global 3D printing market is expected to grow 30% yearly to reach $63 billion by 2026.(( https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/3d-printing-market ))
  • Number of businesses – There are 131 3D printer manufacturers in the US.(( https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/number-of-businesses/3d-printer-manufacturing-united-states/ ))
  • Number of people employed – The industry employs 5,000 people.(( https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/employment/3d-printer-manufacturing-united-states/ ))

3D printing industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

Trends in 3D printing include:

  • Advancing technology is opening doors for many new 3D printing applications, fueling the growth of the industry. The most common use of a 3D printer remains the making of prototypes, but other applications include toys and home decor.
  • New types of 3D printing material are emerging, including polymers and metals, contributing to the advance of the industry. New products that can be 3D printed include tool components, and even finished auto parts.

Challenges in the 3D printing industry also exist, which include:

  • 3D printing may threaten intellectual property rights since printers can potentially duplicate patented products. This may lead to increased regulation in 3D printing.
  • Advancing technologies can make current 3D printers obsolete, creating a need for printing businesses to regularly upgrade their equipment. 

3D printing industry Trends and Challenges

What kind of people work in 3D printing?

  • Gender – 84% of 3D designers are male, while 16% are female.(( https://www.zippia.com/3d-designer-jobs/demographics/#gender-statistics ))
  • Average level of education – 64% of 3D designers hold a bachelor’s degree.(( https://www.zippia.com/3d-designer-jobs/demographics/#degree-level-types ))
  • Average age – The average age of an employed 3D designer is 38 years old.(( https://www.zippia.com/3d-designer-jobs/demographics/#age-statistics ))

3D printing industry demographics

How much does it cost to start a 3D printing business?

Startup costs for a 3D printing business range from $7,000 to $16,000. The highest costs are the printer itself and 3D design software. The high end reflects purchasing a more expensive printer with better functionality. Other than those items, you just need printing materials such as plastic or metal, in addition to enough space to create a small studio. 

You could also take an online course through a site like Udemy for less than $30. Courses are self study and can be completed in 4 to 8 hours. 

How much can you earn from a 3D printing business?

Prices for 3D prints vary greatly depending on the complexity, but can range from $30 to $1,000 or more. If you specialize in prototypes, designs are likely to be complex, so these calculations will assume an average price of $500. Your profit margin after the cost of materials should be around 80%.

In your first year or two, you could work from home and sell 5 prints a week, bringing in $130,000 in annual revenue. This would mean over $100,000 in profit, assuming that 80% margin. As your brand gains recognition, sales could climb to 25 prints a week. At this stage, you’d rent a commercial space and hire staff, reducing your margin to 30%. With expected annual revenue of $650,000, you’d make nearly $200,000.

3D Printing business earnings forecast

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry for a 3D printing business. Beyond mastering the 3D printing process, your biggest challenges will be:

  • Funding the costs of starting the business
  • Facing massive competition from online 3D printing companies

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Step 2: hone your idea.

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a 3D printing business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.

Why? Identify an opportunity

Research 3D printing businesses in your area to examine their services, price points, and what sells best. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a 3D prototype printing business.

3d printing service business plan

You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as 3D printed toys.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine your 3D products or services

Your services will depend on the capabilities of your 3D printer. If you have advanced capabilities, prototypes will be your highest-priced services. However, you should probably offer a wide range of services to maximize revenue. 

There are several ways to make money with 3D printing , including:

  • Selling 3D printed products : You can design and print your own products or use existing designs to create items that you can sell on online marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon, or eBay. Popular 3D printed items include jewelry, phone cases, toys, and home decor.
  • Providing 3D printing services: You can offer 3D printing services to individuals or businesses that need custom parts or prototypes. This can include creating one-off prints or producing small runs of products.
  • Creating and selling 3D printing designs: You can design and sell your own 3D printing designs on platforms like Thingiverse or MyMiniFactory . This can be a good way to earn passive income once your designs become popular.
  • Teaching 3D printing classes: You can offer classes or workshops on 3D printing to teach others how to use the technology. This can be a great way to earn income while sharing your expertise with others.
  • Repairing and maintaining 3D printers: As 3D printing becomes more popular, there is a growing need for technicians who can repair and maintain 3D printers. You can offer these services to individuals or businesses that need help keeping their printers in good working order.

Overall, there are many opportunities to make money with 3D printing, and the field is constantly evolving. By staying up to date on new technologies and trends, building a strong reputation for quality and reliability, and finding a niche in the market, you can create a successful 3D printing business.

How much should you charge for 3D prints?

Prices will vary based on the complexity of the print and the materials used. Complex items may cost $1,000 or more. You’ll price products on a case-by-case basis. When you’re working by yourself from home you should aim for a profit margin of about 80%.

Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your markup (use our Markup Calculator ) and final price point. Remember, the price you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

If you do mostly prototypes, your target market will be entrepreneurs. You can find them on sites like LinkedIn. You could also partner with local business incubators and small business development centers to get referrals.

Where? Choose your business premises

In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out a production facility. Find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist , Crexi , and Instant Offices .

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed

3D Printing business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a 3D Printing Business Name

Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “3D printer” or “3D printing”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “The 3D Hub” over “3D Automotive Parts Makers”
  • Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion

Discover over 370 unique 3D printing business name ideas here . If you want your business name to include specific keywords, you can also use our 3D printing business name generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Find a Domain

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Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that set your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a 3D Printing Business Plan

Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:

  • Executive Summary : A brief overview of your 3D printing business plan, summarizing its key points and goals.
  • Business Overview : An introduction to your 3D printing business, including its mission, vision, and the problem it aims to solve.
  • Product and Services : Description of the 3D printing products and services you offer, highlighting their unique features and benefits.
  • Market Analysis : An examination of the 3D printing market, including target demographics, industry trends, and potential growth opportunities.
  • Competitive Analysis : An evaluation of your 3D printing business’s competition, identifying key competitors and their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Sales and Marketing : Strategies for promoting and selling your 3D printing products and services, encompassing pricing, distribution, and marketing tactics.
  • Management Team : Profiles of the individuals leading your 3D printing business, emphasizing their relevant skills and experience.
  • Operations Plan : Details on the day-to-day operations of your 3D printing business, covering production, supply chain, and quality control.
  • Financial Plan : Financial projections and funding requirements for your 3D printing business, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow forecasts.
  • Appendix : Supplementary information, such as additional research, charts, and supporting documents to provide further context and details for your business plan.

what to include in a business plan

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you’re planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to 3D printing businesses.

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your 3D printing business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC , which just needs to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.

types of business structures

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization , and answer any questions you might have.

Form Your LLC

Choose Your State

We recommend ZenBusiness as the Best LLC Service for 2023

3d printing service business plan

Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number , or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

3d printing service business plan

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist , and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you’re completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

  • Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan .
  • Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best options, other than friends and family, for funding a 3D printing business. You might also try crowdfunding since 3D printing is such a booming industry.

types of business financing

Step 8: Apply for Licenses and Permits

Starting a 3D printing business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

It’s important to note that several states are considering a ban on the 3D printing of firearms. New Jersey already has such a ban in place. Be aware that additional regulations may be on the horizon. 

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as, health license and permit from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ( OSHA ), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package . They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account .

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your 3D printing business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.

types of business insurance

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

As the opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks. 

You can use industry-specific software, such as MakerOS , 3DPrinterOS , or All3DP , to manage your workflows, machines, quotes, and invoicing. 

  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks , Freshbooks , and Xero . 
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial. 

Develop your website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.

You can create your own website using website builders . This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization ( SEO ) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google. 

A 3D printing business stands on the frontier of modern technology and innovation. Marketing strategies should reflect this cutting-edge position, employing both digital and physical tactics to highlight the transformative nature of 3D printing services.

Digital Marketing Essentials

  • Targeted Social Media Campaigns : Utilize social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram for targeted advertising campaigns that speak directly to potential clients in specific demographics.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) : Optimize your website with SEO best practices to rank higher in search results and capture the attention of those seeking 3D printing solutions.
  • Local Listings : Ensure your business is listed on Google My Business and Yelp to attract local clients and enhance your online presence.

Content Creation and Engagement

  • Instructional Video Content : Produce video content that educates viewers on the benefits and processes of 3D printing, potentially increasing shareability and client engagement.
  • Blogging and Thought Leadership : Establish your business as a thought leader by starting a blog with regular posts on industry advancements, case studies, and creative uses of 3D printing.
  • Webinars and Workshops : Host webinars and workshops to showcase your expertise and the potential of 3D printing technology to prospective customers.

Physical Marketing and Outreach

  • Creative Signage : Design innovative, 3D-printed signage for your store and events to showcase your capabilities.
  • Local Flyering : Distribute flyers with eye-catching 3D designs at local tech hubs, universities, and industry events to generate interest.
  • Live Demos at Events : Offer live demonstrations of your 3D printing services at business expos and incubators, providing a tactile experience to potential clients.

Brand Building and Community Involvement

  • Event Sponsorship : Sponsor local and industry-relevant events to build brand recognition and connect with potential customers.
  • Referral Programs : Implement a referral program with incentives to encourage current customers to refer new clients.

Advertising and Strategic Alliances

  • Paid Digital Advertising : Invest in paid advertising on platforms aligned with your target market for precise audience targeting.
  • Collaborations with Designers : Partner with designers and artists who can use your services to bring their concepts to life, showcasing the versatility of 3D printing.

Innovative and Interactive Marketing

  • Augmented Reality Ads : Use augmented reality in your advertising to give potential clients an interactive preview of their designs through 3D printing.
  • Social Media Challenges : Start a challenge or contest on social media encouraging followers to design their own 3D printables, promoting user engagement.

Customer Experience Optimization

  • Customization Options : Provide an online platform for clients to customize and visualize their 3D printing orders, enhancing user experience and satisfaction.
  • Client Success Stories : Share success stories and testimonials from satisfied clients to demonstrate the impact of your services.

Focus on USPs

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that set it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your 3D printing meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your 3D printing business could be: 

  • Custom 3D toys for your child only!
  • Custom 3D-printed home décor – the design is yours! 
  • Prototype printing to help launch your business 

unique selling proposition

You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a 3D printing business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been in 3D printing for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in 3D printing. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. Online businesses might also consider affiliate marketing as a way to build relationships with potential partners and boost business. 

Step 12: Build Your Team

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a 3D printing business would include:

  • Printers – make the 3D prints, customer service
  • General Manager – staff management, ordering, accounting
  • Marketing Lead – SEO strategies, social media, other marketing

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed , Glassdoor , or ZipRecruiter . Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run 3D Printing Business – Start Making Money!

If you want to get into an industry that is growing by leaps and bounds, look no further. 3D printing is the market for you, expected to more than quadruple in size in the next few years. 

Considering the potential money that you could make, startup costs are a relatively small investment. It’s also a business that has virtually unlimited growth potential, so your small at-home business could become something huge. Now that you understand what’s involved in 3D printing from a business perspective, get ready to launch your new business and start building a 3D printing empire.

  • 3D Printing Business FAQs

Even with a small 3D printing operation at home, you could make six figures. 3D printing prices are customized based on the complexity of the print and can run upwards of $1,000 for complex designs.

The cost of a 3D printer can vary widely depending on various factors, including the type of printer, the size and capabilities of the printer, and the brand and supplier. Here are some general guidelines for the cost of different types of 3D printers:

  • Entry-level 3D printers: These printers are often designed for hobbyists and beginners and can cost anywhere from $200 to $600.
  • Mid-range 3D printers: These printers are often more durable and versatile than entry-level printers and can cost between $600 and $2000.
  • High-end 3D printers: These printers are often used for industrial or professional applications and can cost anywhere from $2000 to $10,000 or more.

The most common materials used in 3D printing are plastic, metal, resin, wood , composites and ceramics.

Here are some approximate prices for common 3D printing materials:

  • PLA (polylactic acid): $20 to $50 per kilogram
  • ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene): $20 to $50 per kilogram
  • PET (polyethylene terephthalate): $30 to $60 per kilogram
  • Nylon: $40 to $100 per kilogram
  • Resin: $50 to $150 per liter

Yes, 3D printing can be a side hustle for individuals who are interested in making some extra income outside of their regular job.

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  • Decide if the Business Is Right for You
  • Hone Your Idea
  • Brainstorm a 3D Printing Business Name
  • Create a 3D Printing Business Plan
  • Register Your Business
  • Register for Taxes
  • Fund your Business
  • Apply for Licenses and Permits
  • Open a Business Bank Account
  • Get Business Insurance
  • Prepare to Launch
  • Build Your Team
  • Run 3D Printing Business - Start Making Money!

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How to Create 3D Printing Business Plan

Blog > how to create 3d printing business plan, table of content, introduction, executive summary, market analysis, business model and services, competitive analysis, marketing and sales strategies, operations and workflow, talent and workforce, financial projections and funding, legal and regulatory considerations, sustainability and environmental impact, risk analysis and contingency plans, technology and innovation, implementation plan, our other categories.

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Reading Time : 22 Min

Business plan 101.

How to Create 3D Printing Business Plan Stellar Business Plans

The world of 3D printing is witnessing exponential growth, revolutionizing industries with its endless possibilities. As an aspiring entrepreneur in the 3D printing domain, you understand the significance of a well-crafted business plan in guiding your venture towards success. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the essential steps of creating a solid 3D printing business plan that will attract investors, inspire confidence in customers, and drive growth in your startup.

At Stellar Business Plans , we are dedicated to providing expert guidance and support to entrepreneurs like you. With our proven track record in 3D printing ventures and a team of industry specialists, we are confident that together, we will turn your dream of owning a thriving 3D printing business into reality.

In this section, we present an overview of your 3D printing business and define its vision, mission, and objectives. We also highlight your unique selling proposition and what sets your business apart from competitors.

Overview of Your 3D Printing Business:

  • Briefly introduce your 3D printing startup, including its name, location, and primary services offered.
  • Highlight key milestones achieved and the driving force behind the venture’s inception.

Defining Vision, Mission, and Objectives:

  • Clearly articulate the long-term vision and mission of your 3D printing business, outlining the impact you aim to make in the industry.
  • Define specific short-term and long-term objectives that will guide your company’s growth and development.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and Market Differentiation:

  • Present your unique value proposition that sets your 3D printing business apart from competitors.
  • Explain how your business offers innovative solutions, high-quality prints, faster turnaround times, or customized services to cater to diverse customer needs.

The success of your 3D printing venture relies on a comprehensive understanding of the industry, target markets, and current trends. In this section, we delve into the intricacies of the 3D printing industry and identify lucrative growth opportunities.

Understanding the 3D Printing Industry:

  • Analyze the current state of the 3D printing industry, its market size, and projected growth.
  • Discuss key factors driving the industry’s expansion, such as advancements in materials, technologies, and applications.

Identifying Target Markets and Applications:

  • Profile your primary target markets for 3D printing services, such as aerospace, automotive, healthcare, education, and consumer goods.
  • Explore emerging applications for 3D printing, including bioprinting, personalized healthcare, and sustainable manufacturing.

Analyzing Current Trends and Future Growth Opportunities:

  • Identify and analyze recent trends shaping the 3D printing industry, such as the shift towards mass customization and Industry 4.0 integration.
  • Forecast future growth opportunities, such as potential partnerships with other industries and international market expansion.

The 3D printing industry offers various business models and service offerings. In this section, we help you define your business model and explore the different types of 3D printing services you can provide.

3D Printing Business Model Options:

  • Explain various business models, such as operating as a service bureau, contract manufacturing, or developing proprietary products.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of each model and determine which aligns best with your business objectives.

Types of 3D Printing Services Offered:

  • Detail the range of 3D printing services your business will offer, including rapid prototyping, low-volume production, and custom manufacturing.
  • Discuss the benefits and applications of each service type in different industries.

Leveraging Additive Manufacturing Technologies:

  • Highlight the different additive manufacturing technologies your 3D printing business will utilize, such as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Stereolithography (SLA), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), and Binder Jetting.
  • Explain the strengths of each technology and their compatibility with specific materials and applications.

To thrive in the 3D printing industry, it is crucial to understand your competition and identify areas where your business can gain a competitive edge. In this section, we conduct a thorough competitive analysis and explore ways to differentiate your business from competitors.

Identifying Key Competitors in the 3D Printing Industry:

  • Conduct market research to identify direct and indirect competitors operating in the 3D printing industry.
  • Analyze their market presence, service offerings, client base, and pricing strategies.

Evaluating Their Strengths and Weaknesses:

  • Assess the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, such as technological capabilities, production capacity, and customer satisfaction levels.
  • Identify opportunities where your business can outperform competitors and address potential threats.

Differentiating Your 3D Printing Business from Competitors:

  • Highlight your unique value proposition and how it addresses customers’ pain points better than competitors.
  • Communicate your commitment to delivering exceptional quality, superior customer service, or innovative solutions.

An effective marketing and sales strategy will help your 3D printing business reach its target audience and drive revenue. In this section, we outline essential marketing tactics to promote your services.

Creating a Strong Brand Identity:

  • Develop a compelling brand identity that resonates with your target audience and reflects your company’s values and mission.
  • Design a visually appealing logo and brand collateral that communicates professionalism and innovation.

Effective Digital Marketing Campaigns:

  • Outline your digital marketing strategies, such as search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and online advertising.
  • Emphasize the significance of a user-friendly and visually appealing website to showcase your 3D printing services.

Leveraging Social Media and Online Platforms:

  • Identify social media platforms relevant to your target audience and craft engaging content to build a strong online presence.
  • Explore online marketplaces and platforms to expand your customer base and drive sales.

Developing Strategic Partnerships and Sales Channels:

  • Explore opportunities for strategic partnerships with other businesses, such as design studios, engineering firms, and creative agencies.
  • Define sales channels, such as direct sales, resellers, or e-commerce, and outline the benefits of each channel.

The operational efficiency of your 3D printing business will directly impact customer satisfaction and profitability. In this section, we guide you through setting up the 3D printing facility, selecting suitable equipment, and optimizing workflow.

Setting Up the 3D Printing Facility:

  • Detail the infrastructure requirements for your 3D printing facility, including space, utilities, and ventilation.
  • Discuss considerations for facility location, such as proximity to suppliers and target markets.

Selecting Suitable 3D Printers and Materials:

  • Evaluate various 3D printer options available in the market and select the ones that align with your service offerings and budget.
  • Highlight the materials compatible with each 3D printer and their applications in different industries.

Ensuring Quality Control and Print Validation:

  • Describe your quality control procedures to ensure consistent and high-quality 3D prints.
  • Implement rigorous print validation processes to verify accuracy and reliability.

Optimizing Workflow for Efficiency:

  • Map out the workflow from order intake to final product delivery, ensuring efficiency and minimal lead times.
  • Identify potential bottlenecks and implement measures to streamline operations.

Your team is the backbone of your 3D printing business. In this section, we focus on recruiting skilled professionals, nurturing a creative work culture, and retaining talent.

Recruiting and Training Skilled 3D Printing Technicians:

  • Define the skills and qualifications required for 3D printing technicians and specialists.
  • Outline your recruitment strategies, including online job portals, professional networks, and partnerships with educational institutions.

Nurturing a Creative and Innovative Work Culture:

  • Cultivate a work environment that fosters creativity, innovation, and continuous learning.
  • Encourage employees to experiment with new technologies and techniques to enhance your 3D printing services.

Employee Retention Strategies:

  • Develop strategies to retain skilled employees and reduce turnover, such as providing competitive compensation packages, growth opportunities, and recognition programs.
  • Highlight the importance of a positive work environment and open communication.

In this critical section, we dive into financial projections for your 3D printing business, estimating startup costs, projecting revenue, and identifying potential funding sources.

Estimating Startup Costs and Capital Investment:

  • Conduct a detailed analysis of the initial investment required to launch your 3D printing business, including equipment, facility setup, marketing, and working capital.
  • Use realistic and data-driven estimates to present a comprehensive financial picture.

Financial Forecasts for Revenue and Expenses:

  • Prepare financial projections for the first few years of your 3D printing business, including revenue forecasts, cost of goods sold, operating expenses, and net profit margins.
  • Analyze the financial viability of your business and its growth potential.

Identifying Funding Sources:

  • Explore different funding options, such as angel investors, venture capital, small business loans, or government grants.
  • Provide a plan for repayment and return on investment for potential investors.

Compliance with legal requirements is crucial for a successful 3D printing business. In this section, we cover intellectual property protection, safety regulations, and contractual agreements.

Understanding Intellectual Property Rights and Patents:

  • Explain the importance of intellectual property protection for your 3D printing designs and technologies.
  • Discuss the process of obtaining patents and trademarks to safeguard your innovations.

Complying with Safety and Industry Regulations:

  • Detail the safety regulations and certifications required for operating a 3D printing business, especially in industries like healthcare and aerospace.
  • Ensure compliance with industry standards to gain trust from customers and regulatory authorities.

Contractual Agreements and Liability Protection:

  • Address legal agreements required in your 3D printing business, such as service contracts, Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), and liability waivers.
  • Work with legal professionals to protect your business from potential legal disputes and liabilities.

As sustainability gains importance, your 3D printing business can make a positive impact by adopting eco-friendly practices. In this section, we emphasize sustainability in your operations.

Implementing Sustainable Practices in 3D Printing:

  • Highlight the benefits of using eco-friendly materials and recycling waste in your 3D printing processes.
  • Showcase your commitment to reducing the environmental impact of your business.

Reducing Waste and Energy Consumption:

  • Discuss strategies to minimize material waste during the 3D printing process, such as optimizing print parameters and recycling excess materials.
  • Implement energy-efficient practices to reduce the environmental footprint of your 3D printing facility.

Promoting Eco-friendly Materials and Processes:

  • Emphasize the use of biodegradable, recycled, or renewable materials in your 3D printing services.
  • Educate customers about the environmental benefits of choosing sustainable 3D printing solutions.

Every business faces risks, and in this section, we identify potential challenges and devise contingency plans to ensure business continuity.

Identifying Potential Risks and Challenges:

  • Conduct a thorough risk assessment, considering internal and external factors that may impact your 3D printing business.
  • Identify potential risks, such as technological obsolescence, market fluctuations, supply chain disruptions, and intellectual property infringement.

Developing Risk Mitigation Strategies:

  • Outline risk mitigation strategies to address identified risks proactively.
  • Implement backup plans and preventive measures to reduce the impact of unforeseen events.

Creating Contingency Plans for Adverse Scenarios:

  • Develop contingency plans for critical situations, such as financial crises, natural disasters, or sudden declines in market demand.
  • Ensure your business remains resilient and adaptable in challenging times.

Innovation is essential in the 3D printing industry. In this section, we explore the latest advancements in 3D printing technologies and how you can leverage them to stay competitive.

Embracing Advancements in 3D Printing Technologies:

  • Stay updated with the latest advancements in 3D printing technologies and assess their potential applications in your business.
  • Collaborate with technology providers or research institutions to access cutting-edge equipment and expertise.

Collaborating with R&D and Universities:

  • Explore opportunities for collaboration with research and development institutions or universities to enhance your technological capabilities and stay at the forefront of innovation.
  • Consider partnering on joint research projects or accessing government-funded research programs.

Investing in Research and Development:

  • Allocate resources for in-house research and development initiatives to develop proprietary 3D printing technologies or unique solutions.
  • Highlight how your investment in R&D will contribute to the continuous improvement of your services and competitiveness.

With a detailed implementation plan, you can streamline the process of launching and growing your 3D printing business.

Developing a Comprehensive Timeline:

  • Create a detailed timeline for launching your 3D printing business, including pre-launch preparations and post-launch activities.
  • Set specific milestones and deadlines to track progress and achievements.

Setting Milestones and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):

  • Define key performance indicators to measure the success of your 3D printing business.
  • Use KPIs to monitor the business’s financial performance, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency.

Assigning Responsibilities and Roles:

  • Allocate responsibilities to team members based on their skills and expertise.
  • Establish clear roles and communication channels to ensure smooth collaboration among team members.

The journey to establishing a successful 3D printing business begins with a well-crafted business plan that aligns your vision with market trends and customer needs. At Stellar Business Plans, we are committed to partnering with you on this exciting journey, providing expert guidance, and ensuring your venture reaches new heights in the dynamic world of 3D printing. With our support and your passion for innovation, your 3D printing business is poised to make a lasting impact in various industries.

Start Your Journey With Us

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How To Start A 3D Printing Business

If you're wondering how to start a 3d printing business of your own, this guide on starting a 3d printing business is best for you..

3D printing is no longer a surprise in 2024. Even though it took time for it to be noticed after its start in the 1980s, the next five years should see an average growth of 23.5%.

In one study, 3D artists make an average of $53,000 a year , but these figures include those working for corporations rather than themselves.

The 3D printing industry continues to innovate and grow, providing aspiring entrepreneurs with numerous options to create designs on demand.

The use of 3D printing is known to be environmentally friendly, produces zero waste , and is a more cost-effective option than traditional manufacturing.

The increased market value led to a boom in interest in 3D printing businesses. 3D printing provides a wide variety of niches in which to develop a business.

Even though each type of 3D printing business has its own requirements to get started, there are some general things you can do to make the process of setting up a business easier.

How To Start A 3d Printing Business

1. Decide what kind of 3D printer you want to be

3D printing can be used in many different ways. Thus, there are many different niches for 3D printing businesses to profit from. Examples include 3D printing prototypes and manufacturing components, setting up a local 3D printing service, and 3D printing toys.

3D printing of prototypes and models

Nearly 65% of the 3D printing market is driven by engineers developing industrial, electrical, or consumer products. Also, industries such as architecture, engineering, technology, and medicine need models of devices, parts, and chemical compounds.

3D printed parts and components not only reduce production time but also lower costs. Therefore, a 3D printing business that assists other businesses with these needs can be quite profitable.

3D printing service

A local 3D printing service might also be a good idea. While several businesses utilize 3D printing in their production process, not every business can afford one. This makes a 3D printing service more efficient than traditional research and manufacturing methods for these businesses.

In addition, 3D printing services can produce work for individuals who need their own 3D printed products. As an example, students may need a 3D printed model for a school project. Artists may use 3D printed models for art projects.

Sell custom 3D printed products

The customization industry is huge. With 3D printing, you can customize anything. Who doesn’t like unique and different items?

Even one chooses a mobile cover based on his or her tastes. Considering your target audience will help you determine what you want to print.

Collectibles and figures of athletes, movie stars, singers, and movie avatars would be some of the best choices for kidswear businesses when it comes to 3D printing.

If you want to attract youths , 3D printing custom mobile cases, shoes, jewelry, and many other items are sure to work. You are only limited by your creativity.

If you wish to sell 3D printed customized parts to companies, you can start by selecting a niche.

2. Plan your 3D printing startup costs

Business formation fees.

  • Creating an LLC or corporation $70 to $600  (required)
  • Insurance for small businesses between $300 and $2,000  (recommended)
  • Fees for permits and licenses $100 to $800 (optional)
  • Lawyer Fees $0 to $1,000 (optional)

Expenses related to inventory

  • The upfront costs for inventory range from $300 to $5,000

3. Create a legal entity

Find out how to form an llc yourself.

Learn about llc formation, including information on registered agents, naming rules, business licenses, and more.

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4. Tax registration

Before you can open for business, you will have to register for a variety of state and federal taxes. To register for taxes, you will need an EIN.

Your EIN can be obtained for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. Read our article What is an EIN ? to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC.

5. Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Your 3d printing business must adhere to city, state, and federal regulations. To avoid legal snags, make sure you are familiar with the business laws in your area.

The failure to obtain necessary permits and licenses can result in heavy fines or even the closure of your business.

Operating a 3D printing design business may require state permits and licenses. In most states, businesses must collect sales tax on the goods or services they sell.

6. Copyright & Trademark Protection

When developing a unique product or concept, you should register for trademarks and copyrights to protect your rights.

7. Protect your business with insurance

In addition to licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate legally and safely. A business insurance plan protects your company’s financial health in case of a covered loss.

Insurance policies are available for a variety of businesses with a variety of risks. If you’re not sure what risks your business may face, begin by purchasing General Liability Insurance . 

It’s the most common coverage small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is another policy many businesses require. If you plan to hire employees, it’s quite possible that your state will require that you carry workers’ compensation insurance.

8. Make your business website

Creating a website for your business is the next step after defining your brand and creating your logo. The following are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites. Getting your business online doesn’t matter what your business’s size or industry is.
  • Facebook pages and LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website you own.
  • Tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder make it extremely easy to create a basic website.

Recommended: If you want to improve your conversion rates, and maximize your revenue to help grow your business and achieve your goals. It is always best to hire professional web design services to develop your company’s website.

4 Key Success Factors Printing Businesses

Key success factors printing businesses

Despite the challenges of the 3D printing and prototyping businesses, We have identified five factors that can help you boost profitability, efficiency, and ultimately success.

  • Ability to adopt new technology quickly: 3D printing and rapid prototyping companies must adapt to technological advancements to attract more consumers.
  • Close monitoring of the competition: Its low concentration encourages competition among smaller companies seeking to enter a new market. To remain competitive, industry companies must closely follow their competitors.
  • Having a good understanding of the service: As this industry caters to a wide range of industries, companies must understand the appropriate processes associated with each industry.
  • Contracts with key suppliers in place: It is necessary for companies to source several input materials for the printing process. It is important that companies maintain good relationships with suppliers of these materials.

These 4 factors are essential for the success of printing businesses , resulting ultimately in higher sales and brand awareness, but most importantly, higher profits.

Want to Get Top-Quality 3D Printing Business Plan?

Need help with your business plan? We are the largest and most reputable  business plan writing company  in the US. Providing high-quality, beautifully designed and highly detailed business plans at reasonable prices is our specialty.

Over 3,000 projects have been completed in almost every industry. Our business plans are used for strategic planning, internal planning, investor fundraising, and bank financing. 

In the past year, we have assisted 3,000+ companies across 150 industries obtain debt and equity funding totaling $1 billion.

The Highlights Of Our Recently Developed 3D Printing Business Plan

Market analysis summary: 3d printing business plan.

The Custom Screen Printing industry has declined over the five years to 2020. The industry generates most of its revenue from printing on apparel and other nonpaper materials, services it performs for both consumers and businesses.

Since 2015, decreasing corporate profit, despite improving disposable income levels, has weakened both consumer and commercial demand for the industry’s custom printing services. 

As a result, the Custom Screen Printing industry has decreased similarly to other printing segments.

Over the five years to 2020, industry revenue fell at an annualized 2.2% to $7.7 billion. In 2020, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and an economic slowdown are expected to reduce demand for industry products by reducing consumer spending drastically.

The industry is also affected by social distancing policies preventing large gatherings, such as family reunions, summer camps and fundraisers, which require custom T-shirts. As a result, industry revenue decreased by 18.0% in 2020 alone.

Screen Printing Business Plans Summary

Product and Services

Screen printing on apparel items is the largest segment in the Custom Screen Printing industry, accounting for an estimated 49.4% of revenue in 2020. 

The process of screen printing on apparel items such as T-shirts and sweaters is a multistep process that can be performed by businesses and consumers alike.

While this segment experienced a lower level of demand in 2015 due to slow growth in consumer spending, its share of the industry has expanded significantly over the five years to 2020 as consumer spending has increased overall. 

The apparel printing product segment is expected to be greatly affected by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic due to social distancing policies.

Many large events, which have now been canceled, sell or require custom T-shirts such as a concert. The cancellation of these large events has negatively affected the product segment in 2020 .

Product and Services Section of Screen Printing Business Plan

3D Printing Business Plan FAQ's

For artists who have previously created physical works (i.e. statues and carvings), this business is ideal. Taking a good idea and using a combination of software and artistic skills to make it into a reality is the most important part of this job.

Start-up costs for 3D printing businesses depend on the type of focus you choose. However, the setup cost ranges from $5,00 to $20,000 for a 3D printing business. It depends on the type of 3D printer that you choose, utilities, rent (if you do not work from home), software, and marketing.

This is possible, but business consultants and writers are experts at this. Using a variety of valuation metrics, they understand what goals you should set for your custom screen printing business. Through them, you can set timelines for reaching those goals. You’ll benefit from their expertise in marketing tactics, financials, and customer acquisition strategies while saving time so you can focus on other aspects of your business.

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Print Shop Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

print shop business plan

Print Shop Business Plan

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 500 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their print shop companies.

If you’re unfamiliar with creating a print shop business plan, you may think creating one will be a time-consuming and frustrating process. For most entrepreneurs it is, but for you, it won’t be since we’re here to help. We have the experience, resources, and knowledge to help you create a great business plan.

In this article, you will learn some background information on why business planning is important. Then, you will learn how to write a print shop business plan step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your print shop business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategies for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why You Need a Business Plan

If you’re looking to start a print shop business or grow your existing print shop company, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your print shop business to improve your chances of success. Your print shop business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Sources of Funding for Print Shop Businesses

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a print shop business are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans, and angel investors. When it comes to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to ensure that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings and bank loans are the most common funding paths for print shop companies.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

How to write a business plan for a print shop business.

If you want to start a print shop business or expand your current one, you need a business plan. The guide below details the necessary information for how to write each essential component of your print shop business plan.

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your executive summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the kind of print shop business you are running and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a print shop business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of print shop businesses?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan.

  • Give a brief overview of the print shop industry.
  • Discuss the type of print shop business you are operating.
  • Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers.
  • Provide a snapshot of your marketing strategy. Identify the key members of your team.
  • Offer an overview of your financial plan.

Company Overview

In your company overview, you will detail the type of print shop business you are operating.

For example, you might specialize in one of the following types of print shop businesses:

  • Digital printing : This type of printing is one of the most cost-effective and fast printing processes available today. Electronic files and digital images replace the need for paper, press set-up and ink, which helps reduce the carbon footprint on the earth.
  • Offset lithography printing: Used for magazines, circulars, brochures and books, this type of print shop specializes in larger volumes and includes traditional methods of binding.
  • Screen printing: Any material that is not flat is a candidate for screen printing: shirts, hats, fabric bags, etc. Screen printing forces ink through a screening process that is replicated onto fabric or other materials used.
  • 3D printing: This type of printing is performed through design, initiated by a computer program, followed by the print process in a 3D printer. The 3D printer is calibrated and outfitted with special plastics to fulfill the specifications of the 3D computer program.

In addition to explaining the type of print shop business you will operate, the company overview needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to questions such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of printing projects completed, the amount of revenue earned, or reaching X number of clients served, etc.
  • Your legal business Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry or market analysis, you need to provide an overview of the print shop industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the print shop industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.

Secondly, market research can improve your marketing strategy, particularly if your analysis identifies market trends.

The third reason is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your print shop business plan:

  • How big is the print shop industry (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential target market for your print shop business? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your print shop business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: individuals, schools, charitable organizations, corporations, and innovators.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of print shop business you operate. Clearly, individuals would respond to different marketing promotions than corporations, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, including a discussion of the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the potential customers you seek to serve.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can recognize and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

Finish Your Print Shop Business Plan in 1 Day!

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Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other print shop businesses.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t directly competing with your product or service. Stores that house copy machines or overseas service companies may be examples of indirect competitors. You will want to mention any direct competition, as well.

For each direct competitor, provide an overview of their business and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as

  • What types of customers do they serve?
  • What type of print shop business are they?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you provide bundled services including printing and binding?
  • Will you offer large 3D printing projects that your competition doesn’t?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer better pricing?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a print shop business plan, your marketing strategy should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of print shop company that you documented in your company overview. Then, detail the specific products or services you will be offering. For example, will you provide cover design, book layout and digital printing to create a niche service for authors?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your plan, you are presenting the products and/or services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the site of your print shop company. Document where your company is situated and mention how the site will impact your success. For example, is your print shop business located in a busy retail district, a business district, a standalone office, or purely online? Discuss how your site might be the ideal location for your customers.

Promotions : The final part of your print shop marketing plan is where you will document how you will drive potential customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Advertise in local papers, radio stations and/or magazines
  • Reach out to websites
  • Distribute flyers
  • Engage in email marketing
  • Advertise on social media platforms
  • Improve the SEO (search engine optimization) on your website for targeted keywords

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your print shop business, including answering calls, planning and providing printed items or 3D printed items, billing customers and assisting with maintenance of equipment, etc.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to book your Xth print project , or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your print shop business to a new city.

Management Team

To demonstrate your print shop business’ potential to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.

Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing print shop businesses. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act as mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing a print shop business or successfully running a small co-op of screen printers.

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.

Income Statement

An income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenue and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you see 5 new customers per day, and/or offer discounted packaged pricing? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets

Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your print shop business, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a lender writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement

Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and ensure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

When creating your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a print shop business:

  • Cost of equipment and office supplies
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Other start-up expenses (if you’re a new business) like legal expenses, permits, computer software, and equipment

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your office location lease or a list of corporations on a monthly printing contract.

Writing a business plan for your print shop business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will understand the print shop industry, your competition, and your customers. You will develop a marketing strategy and will understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful print shop business.

Print Shop Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my print shop business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily write your print shop business plan.

How Do You Start a Print Shop Business?

Starting a Print Shop business is easy with these 14 steps:

  • Choose the Name for Your Print Shop Business
  • Create Your Print Shop Business Plan
  • Choose the Legal Structure for Your Print Shop Business
  • Secure Startup Funding for Your Print Shop Business (If Needed)
  • Secure a Location for Your Business
  • Register Your Print Shop Business with the IRS
  • Open a Business Bank Account
  • Get a Business Credit Card
  • Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
  • Get Business Insurance for Your Print Shop Business
  • Buy or Lease the Right Print Shop Business Equipment
  • Develop Your Print Shop Business Marketing Materials
  • Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Print Shop Business
  • Open for Business

Where Can I Download a Free Business Plan Template PDF?

Click here to download the pdf version of our basic business plan template.

Our free business plan template pdf allows you to see the key sections to complete in your plan and the key questions that each must answer. The business plan pdf will definitely get you started in the right direction.

We do offer a premium version of our business plan template. Click here to learn more about it. The premium version includes numerous features allowing you to quickly and easily create a professional business plan. Its most touted feature is its financial projections template which allows you to simply enter your estimated sales and growth rates, and it automatically calculates your complete five-year financial projections including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Here’s the link to our Ultimate Business Plan Template.

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your Print Shop business plan?

OR, Let Us Develop Your Plan For You

Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.  

Click here to see how a Growthink business plan writer can create your business plan for you.

Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates

Screen Printing Business Plan

Financial Model, Business Plan and Dashboard Templates - FinModelsLab

How To Create Online 3D Printing Service Business Plan: Checklist

By henry sheykin, resources on online 3d printing service.

  • Financial Model
  • Business Plan
  • Value Proposition
  • One-Page Business Plan
  • SWOT Analysis

Are you interested in starting your own online 3D printing service? The 3D printing industry is rapidly growing, with a projected market size of $44.39 billion by 2027. With technology and manufacturing becoming increasingly important, there is a high demand for customized products and prototypes. By following these 9 steps, you can successfully write a business plan for your online 3D printing service and tap into this lucrative market.

First and foremost, it's important to define your target market and conduct thorough market research. Understanding the needs and preferences of your potential customers will help you tailor your services and marketing strategies to meet their expectations.

Next, identify your competitors and analyze their strengths, weaknesses, and pricing strategies. This will allow you to differentiate your business and determine a competitive pricing structure.

Additionally, you need to determine your business model and pricing structure. Whether it's a pay-per-print model or a subscription-based service, defining your pricing structure is crucial for your profitability.

It's important to assess the startup costs and secure necessary funding. 3D printers, materials, and website development are some of the major expenses you will need to consider. Seek funding through investors, loans, or crowdfunding platforms to support your business venture.

Outline your marketing and sales strategies to effectively reach your target audience and attract customers. Utilize online advertising, social media marketing, and partnerships with businesses in related industries to promote your services.

To operate an online 3D printing service, you need to be aware of the legal and regulatory requirements. Protect your business by obtaining necessary licenses, permits, and insurance.

Develop a detailed operational plan, including inventory management, equipment sourcing, and supplier partnerships. This will help you streamline your operations and ensure the smooth running of your business.

Create a comprehensive financial plan, including projected revenues, expenses, and profitability. Consider factors such as material costs, maintenance, and shipping fees to accurately estimate your financial projections.

Lastly, establish a timeline and set milestones for launching your online 3D printing service. Breaking down tasks into manageable stages will help you stay organized and focused on achieving your goals.

By following these 9 steps, you will be well-prepared to write a business plan for your online 3D printing service. Take advantage of the booming 3D printing industry and offer a convenient and efficient service to individuals and businesses alike.

Define Your Target Market And Conduct Market Research

Before launching your online 3D printing service, it is crucial to define your target market and conduct thorough market research. Understanding your target market will help you tailor your services and marketing efforts to meet their specific needs and preferences. Market research will provide valuable insights into the demand for 3D printing services, identify potential competitors, and help you identify opportunities for growth and differentiation in the industry.

When defining your target market, consider factors such as demographic information (age, gender, location), psychographic characteristics (interests, preferences, behavior), and the specific industries or niches that your service caters to. This will help you create targeted marketing campaigns and develop a unique value proposition to attract and retain customers.

Market research is crucial to identify the size of your target market, analyze their purchasing behavior, and understand their pain points and challenges. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, or interviews with potential customers. Collecting and analyzing data will enable you to make informed decisions about your service offerings, pricing, and marketing strategies.

Tips for conducting market research:

  • Utilize online survey tools to gather quantitative data from a large sample of potential customers.
  • Engage in social media listening to understand what potential customers are saying about 3D printing and their needs or concerns.
  • Join industry forums and communities to learn from experienced individuals and gain insights into market trends and demands.
  • Explore competitor analysis tools to benchmark against existing players and identify areas of differentiation.

By defining your target market and conducting thorough market research, you will be equipped with the necessary knowledge to develop a tailored business plan and effectively position your online 3D printing service in the market.

Identify Competitors And Analyze Their Strengths, Weaknesses, And Pricing Strategies.

Identifying competitors is a crucial step in developing a successful business plan for an online 3D printing service. By analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, and pricing strategies, you can gain valuable insights into the market landscape and position your business for success.

Start by conducting thorough market research to identify the key players in the online 3D printing industry. Look for companies that offer similar services to yours and cater to a similar target market. Pay attention to both direct competitors who provide a similar solution and indirect competitors who may offer alternative solutions.

  • Use online search engines and directories to find potential competitors.
  • Check industry forums and social media groups to gather insights and feedback about these competitors.
  • Attend industry trade shows and conferences to network and learn more about the competition.
  • Consider conducting anonymous surveys or interviews with potential customers to understand their preferences and experiences with competitors in the market.

Once you have identified your competitors, analyze their strengths and weaknesses. Look at their website, product offerings, and customer reviews to understand what they do well and where they fall short. Consider factors such as the quality of their prints, the variety of materials they offer, their delivery speed, and their customer service capabilities.

  • Visit competitors' websites and explore their user experience to identify areas where you can differentiate and offer a better online platform.
  • Order samples or products from competitors to assess the quality and customer experience firsthand.
  • Read customer reviews and testimonials on third-party platforms to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors according to their customers.

Furthermore, analyze your competitors' pricing strategies. Understand how they price their services based on factors such as complexity, material usage, and print volume. Look for opportunities where you can offer more competitive pricing or differentiate based on value-added services.

  • Contact competitors directly to inquire about their pricing models and any additional fees they charge.
  • Consider conducting a price benchmarking analysis to compare your pricing against competitors and ensure it is competitive in the market.

By thoroughly analyzing your competitors' strengths, weaknesses, and pricing strategies, you will be better equipped to position your online 3D printing service strategically in the market, offer unique value propositions, and attract customers.

Determine Your Business Model And Pricing Structure

When starting an online 3D printing service, it is crucial to establish a solid business model and pricing structure to ensure profitability and success. Your business model will determine how you operate and generate revenue, while your pricing structure will directly impact customer acquisition and retention. Here are some important considerations:

  • Choose a revenue model: Decide on the type of revenue model that aligns with your business goals and target market. You may opt for a pay-per-print model, where customers pay for each 3D print job, or a subscription-based model, where customers pay a recurring fee for a set number of prints each month.
  • Consider value-added services: Explore additional services you can offer to enhance the customer experience and generate additional revenue streams. This may include design consultation, prototype development, or post-processing options such as painting or finishing.
  • Price your services competitively: Conduct market research to understand the pricing landscape and competitors' rates. Set your pricing structure in a way that allows you to cover costs, make a profit, and remain competitive in the market.
  • Implement tiered pricing: Consider offering different pricing tiers based on factors such as complexity or size of the 3D print job. This can provide customers with more flexibility while maximizing your revenue potential.
  • Offer discounts and promotions: Use discounts and promotional offers strategically to attract new customers and encourage repeat business. This can include introductory discounts for first-time customers or loyalty programs for frequent users.
  • Consider strategic partnerships: Explore partnerships with designers, businesses, or educational institutions to offer bundled services or discounts. This can help expand your customer base and create mutually beneficial opportunities.
  • Regularly review and adjust your pricing structure to stay competitive and meet changing market demands.
  • Clearly communicate your pricing structure to customers on your website or platform to avoid any confusion or potential disputes.
  • Offer transparency in pricing by providing detailed breakdowns of costs, including materials, labor, and any additional fees.
  • Consider offering sample prints or demos to potential customers to showcase the quality of your prints and build trust.

Assess The Startup Costs And Secure Necessary Funding.

When starting an online 3D printing service, it is crucial to assess the startup costs involved and secure the necessary funding to ensure a successful launch. Below are the key steps to consider:

  • Conduct a thorough analysis of all the expenses involved in setting up your online platform. This includes costs such as website development, software integration, equipment procurement, and initial inventory.
  • Research and compare the prices of 3D printing equipment, software, and materials to get an accurate estimate of the capital required.
  • Take into account any additional costs such as marketing and advertising, legal fees, and licensing expenses.
  • Consider leasing or renting equipment instead of purchasing it outright to minimize upfront costs.
  • Explore potential partnerships with suppliers who may offer favorable terms or discounts.
  • Prepare a detailed financial projection that outlines revenues, expenses, and projected profitability to demonstrate the viability of your business to potential investors.

Once you have assessed the startup costs, it is necessary to secure funding to finance your 3D printing service. Here are some funding options to explore:

  • Bootstrap: If you have personal savings, you can use them to fund your business.
  • Loans: Approach banks or financial institutions for small business loans or lines of credit.
  • Investors: Seek out angel investors or venture capitalists who may be interested in supporting your venture in exchange for equity.
  • Crowdfunding: Consider running a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds from individuals who believe in your idea.

It is essential to develop a clear and compelling business plan that outlines your vision, projected financials, and growth potential to attract potential investors or lenders. Present your plan confidently and emphasize the benefits and uniqueness of your online 3D printing service to increase your chances of securing the necessary funding.

Outline Your Marketing And Sales Strategies.

When it comes to marketing and sales strategies for your online 3D printing service, it is important to develop a comprehensive plan that will effectively reach your target market and generate sales. Below, we have outlined some key strategies to consider:

  • Identify your target audience: Before implementing any marketing or sales tactics, it is crucial to identify your target audience. Determine the industries, businesses, or individuals that are most likely to benefit from your 3D printing service.
  • Build a strong online presence: Since your business operates online, having a strong online presence is essential. Create a professional and user-friendly website that showcases your capabilities and the benefits of using your service. Optimize your website for search engines to increase visibility.
  • Content marketing: Develop a content marketing strategy to establish your expertise and attract potential customers. Create relevant and educational blog posts, videos, and tutorials about 3D printing technology, industry trends, and how your service can benefit the audience.
  • Social media marketing: Utilize popular social media platforms to reach a wider audience. Share engaging content, updates, and promotions on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Consider running targeted ads to reach specific demographics.
  • Partnerships and collaborations: Forge strategic partnerships with businesses or influencers in related industries to expand your reach and tap into their existing customer base. Collaborate on joint marketing initiatives or offer exclusive discounts to their audience.
  • Email marketing: Build an email list of interested prospects and customers and use email marketing campaigns to nurture relationships, share relevant updates, and offer exclusive promotions. Personalize your emails for a more effective approach.
  • Customer reviews and testimonials: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and testimonials on your website or other review platforms. Display these testimonials prominently to build trust with potential customers.
  • Use high-quality visuals: Since your business revolves around 3D printing, use high-quality visuals such as images and videos to showcase the products and services you offer. This will help potential customers understand the quality and detail of your printing capabilities.
  • Monitor and analyze data: Use analytics tools to track the performance of your marketing efforts. Monitor website traffic, conversion rates, and customer engagement to identify successful tactics and make informed decisions.
  • Offer incentives and referral programs: Encourage repeat business and referrals by offering incentives such as discounts, loyalty programs, or referral bonuses. This will help generate positive word-of-mouth and attract new customers.

By following these marketing and sales strategies, you will be able to effectively promote your online 3D printing service, attract your target audience, and drive sales for your business.

Assess The Legal And Regulatory Requirements For Operating An Online 3D Printing Service.

Operating an online 3D printing service involves adhering to various legal and regulatory requirements. It is essential to thoroughly assess and comply with these obligations to ensure the smooth and legal operation of your business.

  • Intellectual Property Laws: It is crucial to respect intellectual property rights when operating an online 3D printing service. Ensure that your platform does not allow the printing of copyrighted materials without proper authorization from the owner. Educate your users on the importance of respecting intellectual property rights and implement measures to prevent infringement.
  • Data Privacy and Security: Given the nature of operating an online platform, you must comply with data privacy regulations to protect your users' information. Implement strict security measures to safeguard customer data and develop a comprehensive privacy policy that outlines how you collect, store, and process personal information.
  • Product Safety Compliance: Check the safety requirements for the materials used in 3D printing, as certain materials may have specific regulations or limitations. Ensure that the materials you offer adhere to established safety standards and provide clear instructions for proper usage and handling to prevent any potential harm to users or end customers.
  • Consumer Protection Laws: Familiarize yourself with consumer protection laws and regulations that govern online services. Clearly outline your terms of service, refund policies, and warranty information to protect both your business and your customers' rights. Implement fair and transparent practices to build trust and credibility with your users.
  • Consult with legal professionals who specialize in intellectual property and e-commerce law to ensure compliance with all relevant regulations.
  • Stay updated on new and emerging regulations that may impact your online 3D printing service, as laws in the technology industry can change rapidly.
  • Consider obtaining the necessary insurance coverage to protect your business against any potential legal claims or liabilities.
  • Regularly review and update your privacy policy and terms of service to reflect any changes in regulations or business practices.

Develop A Detailed Operational Plan, Including Inventory Management, Equipment Sourcing, And Supplier Partnerships.

Developing a detailed operational plan is crucial for the success of your online 3D printing service. This plan will outline how you will manage and track inventory, source the necessary equipment, and establish partnerships with reliable suppliers.

Firstly, inventory management is vital to ensure that you have the necessary materials for printing and fulfilling orders. You should determine how much inventory you need to keep on hand based on anticipated demand and lead times for reordering. Implementing an inventory management system will allow you to track stock levels, monitor usage, and plan for future needs.

Next, equipment sourcing plays a crucial role in the quality and efficiency of your 3D printing service. Research and select the best 3D printers and related equipment that align with your business model and budget. Consider factors such as printing speed, precision, material compatibility, and maintenance requirements. Building a strong relationship with reputable suppliers will ensure timely access to equipment and spare parts when needed.

Lastly, forming supplier partnerships is important for securing a reliable and cost-effective supply chain. Identify suppliers who can provide quality materials at competitive prices and establish mutually beneficial relationships. A diversified supplier base will help mitigate risks and ensure a consistent flow of materials. Communicate your requirements and expectations clearly to suppliers and explore opportunities for bulk purchasing or negotiated discounts.

Operational Plan Tips:

  • Regularly review and update your inventory management system to avoid shortages or excess inventory.
  • Stay up-to-date with advancements in 3D printing technology to ensure your equipment remains competitive and efficient.
  • Establish backup suppliers in case of emergencies or unexpected disruptions in the supply chain.
  • Maintain open communication with suppliers to address any issues promptly and maintain a strong working relationship.

Create A Comprehensive Financial Plan, Including Projected Revenues, Expenses, And Profitability

Creating a comprehensive financial plan is essential for the success of your online 3D printing service. This plan will serve as a roadmap for your business, outlining your projected revenues, expenses, and profitability over a specific period of time.

First and foremost, it is crucial to accurately estimate your projected revenues. Consider factors such as the demand for 3D printing services in your target market, the pricing model you have established, and the anticipated volume of orders. Research industry trends and conduct market analysis to ensure your revenue projections are realistic and achievable.

On the expenses side, you need to carefully consider all costs associated with running your online 3D printing service. This includes not only upfront costs such as purchasing equipment, software licenses, and raw materials but also ongoing expenses like electricity, maintenance, and shipping. Create a detailed list of all these expenses and regularly review and update it as your business evolves.

Furthermore, it is important to project your profitability by subtracting your projected expenses from your projected revenues. This will give you an estimate of how much profit you can expect to generate over a given period of time. Keep in mind that profitability may not be immediate, especially during the initial stages of your business, so it is crucial to plan for potential losses and to have a strategy in place to mitigate them.

  • Consult with a financial expert or accountant to ensure the accuracy and viability of your financial projections.
  • Regularly review and update your financial plan to reflect changes in market conditions, costs, and revenues.
  • Consider different scenarios and perform sensitivity analysis to understand the potential impact of changes in factors such as pricing, order volume, or market demand on your financial projections.

Establish A Timeline And Set Milestones For Launching The Online 3D Printing Service.

Launching an online 3D printing service requires careful planning and organization. To ensure a smooth and successful launch, it is crucial to establish a timeline and set milestones that will guide your progress. Here are some key steps to consider:

  • Identify key tasks and set deadlines: Start by breaking down the launch process into smaller tasks and assign deadlines for each one. This will help you stay organized and ensure that all necessary steps are completed in a timely manner.
  • Allocate resources and manpower: Determine the resources and manpower needed to accomplish each task. Assess your team's capabilities and consider outsourcing certain tasks if necessary. By allocating resources effectively, you can streamline the launch process and avoid delays.
  • Assess dependencies: Identify any dependencies between tasks and prioritize them accordingly. Some tasks may need to be completed before others can begin, so it's important to determine the critical path to avoid bottlenecks.
  • Set realistic milestones: Break the launch process into milestones to track progress and celebrate achievements along the way. Milestones should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This will help you stay motivated and focused on your ultimate goal.
  • Regularly review and update your timeline: As unforeseen obstacles or opportunities arise, be prepared to adjust your timeline accordingly. Flexibility is key in maintaining momentum and adapting to changing circumstances.
  • Involve your team in the planning process: Collaborate with your team members to gather input and insights. By involving everyone in the planning process, you can harness their expertise and ensure buy-in and commitment to the established timeline.
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively: Clear and consistent communication among team members is crucial for successful project management. Utilize project management tools and platforms to facilitate collaboration and keep everyone informed about the progress and updates.

By establishing a timeline and setting milestones for launching your online 3D printing service, you can stay organized, focused, and motivated throughout the process. Remember to regularly track your progress, make adjustments as needed, and celebrate milestones along the way. With careful planning and execution, you will be well on your way to successfully launching your innovative 3D printing service.

Writing a comprehensive business plan is essential for successfully launching an online 3D printing service. By following the nine steps outlined in this checklist, you can effectively define your target market, analyze the competition, establish a strong business model, secure funding, and develop strategic plans for marketing, legal compliance, operations, and finance.

With careful planning and execution, your online 3D printing service has the potential to revolutionize the industry, providing individuals and businesses with a convenient and efficient way to access custom-made products. By leveraging technology and offering competitive pricing, you can make 3D printing more accessible to a wider audience and establish your brand as a leader in the market.

Remember to regularly review and update your business plan as your online 3D printing service grows and evolves. Monitor market trends, customer feedback, and industry changes to constantly refine and improve your strategies for success.

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