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Hello to All,

Well it is time to take your suggestions and opinions ,as I am  unable to take a firm decision on my future plans.

I had a small lab consisting of QSS 3201 SD and QSS 3001 with V30 film processor doing quite a good business and lot of satisfied customer base in a city central area in a rented premises.

The land lord sold the building and I have to vacate the premises, and in a hurry I have sold all the three machines, left with My PCS and software's ( Like PS ,LR, Fotofusion etc,) .

Now planning to set up a new LAB in a different part of the city though not in the heart of the city like the old one ,but quite potential area as per my marketing evaluation and also twice the area compared to my old premises.

Things which need your real help and real suggestions , thoughts, ideas and comments in  making my decisions on the following:

No1 :

Which machine to buy a reconditioned QSS 3411 ( needs no extra funding) or a brand new 3701HD ( needs extra funding)

No2 :

Is it advisable to put a Digital Press ( like Canon, or Konica Minolta or Docucolor of Xerox  sorry no Indigo , it is beyond my budget)) to provide quick print services on non photo paper, in addition to our regular photo lab services.  Does any one here tried this combo  and would like to share their  feed back on their success and experience.


If  No2 plan is not good to go, How about putting a complete personalized gift item / imaging services using dye sub printing and heat transfer technology providing imaging solutions to all other  non paper media in addition regular photo prints ( like T-shrit , mug ,cap, mouse pad , key chain, crystals and all other 101 things in the world  )

Please pass on your comments and thoughts which may help to make a proper decision,

Or  can you suggest something entirely different which is more innovative and lucrative in this competitive and tough times. ( Well , I know only Imaging and Color )

Thanks for time and help.

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What city are you in ?

Are you any good with a camera ?  (Passports ? ?)  If you're doubling your rental space, what about also including a small studio  AND doing all the other things you mentioned above ?  A decent digital camera and studio equipment isn't that expensive to get started.  (we have Canon 30D, 2 monolights and a lot of cheap props and backgrounds).  There is one guy (pretty close to me) who has a small studio, a noritsu dry lab and an Epson wide format printer and does quite well.  His pictures are OK, and he's got a good mix of customers, but he is studio only.  Start with a small studio, muslins only, get some props, chairs, roman columns, and you're off.  Don't try to offer super pro quality stuff until you get a good feel for your skills and market, then try to upscale it, or go big and shrink until you feel comfortable.  Look at "Virtual Backgrounds".  A bit expensive (around $10K) for the setup, but quite flexible with a very small space and only 1 background needed.  Ask for their re-furbished units.  They don't have many returns, but when they do, they're discounted 30-40% off retail.

With your experience, you could do the lab, a photo studio, and everything else but stay WITHIN your budget.... Don't want to move to a new location, not have all of your old customers follow you, and have to start with new customers from scratch.  That's tough to do.

Photo gifting does OK here, but I wouldn't start a business that did only photo gifting (my opinion, others may vary).  It's a luxury item that won't get bought in tough times.

We are starting with the digital press and have had minimal success making simple copies & faxes for customers at 25cents/page for B&W and $1/page for color.  We want to do more and have recently paid for (but not received) a refurbished 11x17" duplex color laser printer for <$1000.  Learning the printing trade is a lot of work.... different papers, weights, surfaces, etc....  but it could be a worth while addition to our existing lab / studio combination.  I just have to make space for the printer before it gets delivered !

Hope this rambling helps....  ;)

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Some one may answer this question differently but I am pretty sure that the SI1080 ii was made just for the Kodak DLS syytems like the 2721Machines that could scan 120 film.  (Noritu Iwas told when we bought our 2721 used a different scanner system)  If it came from one of those then I don't know what you do becauseI have never heard of a kodak or noritsu system running windows millenium. I know the DLS2721 would probably just crash forever if I even said the words windows millenium in its presence.

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