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Profiting with Large-Format Scanning

(September 2008) posted on Thu Sep 11, 2008

Five shops share their viewpoints on digitizing on a large scale.

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By Clare Baker

One of the biggest challenges, Turell says, to running a successful scanning business is actually getting customers. "A lot of people think all you need is a scanner and then you’re a document-scanning service bureau." Getting the scanner, he says, is the easy part. And while you may get a job that will pay for the equipment, Turell says there are other costs to worry about. "Successful scanning is really only achieved with efficient scan operators, who can get through jobs quickly and still do a good job. Quality-assurance labor costs can also get costly. So can the software and computer upgrades."

For that reason, if you don’t have scanning equipment, but are thinking about investing in it because you get a few requests for scanning, Turell suggests holding off on any purchasing decisions. "I would recommend starting out by outsourcing your scanning, and then, after you get enough work, you can slowly start to invest in the equipment."

After you get the business, the next challenge, Turell says, is keeping the business. While AZ Overland Blueprint had the advantage of a built-in customer base when it added scanning services, Turell says it’s always a challenge to keep the customers happy, especially when the shop is competing with other scanning bureaus offering lower pricing. "A lot of companies under-price their services. Some even offer services at cost. So it really gets challenging to stay competitive."

AZ Overland Blueprint’s advantage over those shop that will beat them on cost, says Turell, is quality. "Service is key for us. We’re able to get the job done within the time frame the client wants and provide really high-quality work. We make sure what goes back to the client is perfect."

In spite of the competitive nature of the business, Turell is optimistic about the future of AZ Overland, anticipating the expansion of the number of national customers. "I think that we’ll start more national marketing. Up until now, marketing has brought us business that’s been out of town, but we haven’t really gone after it. With our courier services, expanding in this way is something that we can tap into."