Jim Duncan of AIM Business Centers explains his move to Printing

Commercial Printer based in Huntington Beach, CA

Jim Duncan – Commercial Printer based in Huntington Beach, CA

Jim Duncan

I’ve been in the business of helping people with their printing needs for 16 years now. We can print literally ANYTHING and shipping it ANYWHERE just try us!

9121 Atlanta (at Magnolia, on the Northeast corner)
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
AIM Mail Center #6 on the web

Jim: Okay, I’m not going to tell you anymore shipping stories. That’s good. Now the reason…I’m going to back up and give a little bit of history of this. We retired, or, I retired from the oil industry in 1990 after a long time, a very lucrative and successful career, but I wanted to do something that involved service and a business that I could have for about five years and build it and sell it. Twenty five years later, still here. Excited to be here. Look forward to every Monday. But the process of a mail center back then was very busy, a lot of activity there, but I found that I wanted to do it because of the service end of it but I found that most of the people doing it and still today, just stand there behind that counter and wait for that next person to come in.

Now, those that know me pretty well know that I don’t stand behind a counter very well. And I really enjoy getting out and mixing with people and bringing people into my business. I found that most of the business was shipping. About 60-65% of our business was shipping back then. But over the years, and people would just stand there waiting for that shipping stuff to come in and I even took that further because I love to create things and build things so the packing and the freight end of it was a very big attraction for me. But right in the beginning I knew that our business was not shipping, was not packing, was not creating. The business was supplying services to those out there that had businesses of their own. Shelly does photography quite well, but she doesn’t need to screw with all of that daily stuff for a business that she doesn’t need to screw with. That’s where we come in. Dennis, the same thing, Mark, everyone out there that has a business of their own do not need to screw with the basic day-to-day things that we do, shipping, whether it’s printing, all of those different things.

We have 35 different categories to look for in that. And right away we started with printing. And the printing was a big part of our business from the beginning but has shifted the percentages to more that than it is shipping because of the advent of the free shipping, the drop-offs, Amazon’s same day delivery, all these things out there have eroded my shipping business considerably. And as you’ve seen maybe in the lack of tips passing, which I understand and appreciate. So we’ve done printing for the whole 25 years, and I looked at printing differently because I knew I didn’t have a lot of equipment, which was okay.

In the beginning, it was okay because I would go and have something foil stamped. You know, a little bit of gold or silver or colored foil on something. I’d have something foil stamped. And I’d find I’d go to a printer and they’d say “Let’s see here…I think it’d be best to be using green foil”, because he’s got a bunch of green foil. And I found that all the time. But I found a company in west Texas that’s all they do is foil stamping. I could get any color I want, get it done cheaply in west Texas, even including the shipping back here and give you…a process of foil stamping back then was about $80 for a business card to get something foil stamped. West Texas charged me 20 bucks for it.

So I found all these things. Everywhere I looked I could find something like that. The printers that I went to, as good as they were, and by the way, we’ve had I think five printers in this group since I’ve been part of it. Six printers in this group since I’ve been part of it. One of the ones back in the 90s I brought in, Costal Press, Frank’s Printing back then, Frank Archuletta. a lot of you might remember him, a printer’s printer. By the way, all of the printers that I usually go to are trade printers. They’re not retail printers for you. They’re just trade printers for the industry which saves a ton of money. But Frank was the biggest. Frank was, all the jobs out there in Orange County were coming to him anyway, so he wanted to come in here and experience things and unfortunately his son passed away and he moved away from our group. But those are the kind of people I dealt with. But even then I look at it and, Frank has I think 15,000 square feet over in Susan Drive right now. But even that, they’re still limited on the equipment they could have, limited to what they could provide you, and they would still cater to what they had versus what you needed.

That’s why I developed the full network of this and about seven years ago I added my own equipment to make sure that I can meet all your needs and make sure I can find that thing, not to cater the job to what I have but to cater the job to what you need. Now I brought a couple of examples. I went back to the store this morning because I didn’t really know what to show you. This is probably the biggest…this is the holy grail, by the way, of sports books in Orange County. Edison’s Football Program is so much…they have so much money and they just spend it. This job was a roughly $10,000 job for me. And what it is is they printed these books. Most sports programs, they’ll print one book for the season. They print one book for each game, which is good for me. For each game.

So I’m going to pass these around so you can see what I’m talking about. This book, I don’t farm this out. This book is totally done in-house. I do every part of this book, even do the face trimming and the binding of the book in-house. And the reason I’m saying that is this isn’t farmed out because it has to be that way. They bring me these books and I do literally thousands of them a season. I’ll start again in August, already have the job. I do thousands of them a season, but the problem is they bring me the book on Monday, all the information for the Friday game. And there’s no printer out there that would accept that. Most printers would want to gang this up and do all thousand of the common pages before hand and then add in the other pages later on. But they can’t do that because they change things without the rest of the book that they…over the years they’d accepted that because they know all the printers that did that job will do a whole bunch of them printed at once and then just add in filler pages. They didn’t want that.

But the other reason it makes a difference, I haven’t found any printer out there, including all the ones I’ve ever used that makes a difference is I know the market here. You’re all parents. Most of you are parents. What’s the most important thing about that book? Your kid’s photo. Your kid. They’ll look through the book until they find their kid, and it’d better be clear and sharp. So I make sure, and the staff I have because I’ve got…I added a person yesterday. We have 10 now. I had to make sure that the staff looks through that book and makes sure that every kid’s picture is good and sharp. And that’s the only thing that they…last year, this past fall, as the season progressed, they ended up selling more and more books each week because everyone loved the book so much. And they’d never done that in the past. So they were really happy having me and they’re really happy having me again this season. So we got the job again, start in August, which is really good. A lot of flexibility in the things I do.

Here’s another reason. This last minute thing is a dubious achievement because I had a client ask me to do their banquet, a program for their banquet. It was a Friday, they called me about 5 o’ clock and I said “Well when’s the banquet?” And he said, “Well we’re walking in now.” And I said, “Can you tell some jokes or something and give me some information?” So they sent someone over and I put together something in about an hour and a half. I presented the program to the head of the banquet thing kind of on the side here, totally seamless through the whole crowd. They didn’t have any idea they didn’t have a program until they had a program. So that was cool, but people count on that.

Woman: Was there a rush charge on that?

Jim: Actually that one wasn’t. This one, for instance, these we did 10,000 of these flyers for…these are EDDM flyers for a cleaner’s down in Huntington Beach. They have another one down in in Bolsa Chica we just did. But the reason I point this out, this had to be done in-house too because she only wants about two carrier routes at a time, which is about 600 people at a time. Then she’ll do that about every other week. So there’s not enough to send it out so I have to do it in-house. So those kind of things like that. Crab Cookers is another thing, 50,000 of these go out, but the problem with that is he doesn’t…have you ever been to Crab Cooker down in Newport? Great restaurant. But Steve will give me these and he’ll go, “Can you give me another 600 of those, or 1000 of those?”. He’s ordering 50,000, but he does them that quickly. He doesn’t really mail them. He just passes them out.

This one here, I made a quick copy for my phone, a quick picture of my phone yesterday when I delivered it…this banner is on an aluminum frame. It’s 6 by…almost 7 by 3 on this frame, two-sided, for a therapy business down there in south Huntington Beach. He ordered it Monday. He needed it for a deal today. So he got it yesterday afternoon. So I talk about this last-minute stuff. I’d rather you wouldn’t think of me that way, but I do everything out there printing. I did all the electric signs for a shopping center up in Southgate, all the outside businesses for that. I do a lot of banners, a lot of big things.

I know people out there that can do this stuff. Do you realize there’s a business in north Huntington Beach that has the largest printer in the world? It’s up there by Gothard and by Boeing. The business is, the printer does, each pass-through is 16 feet wide. They have a seam deal that will seam it together that is even bigger than that. The facility is over an acre. There’s another business on Gothard up by Edinger that is number one in the world for 3D printing. They testify in front of Congress all the time about the process of 3D printing. Massive 3D printers. It’s called Olloclip. They make the things for your iphones and other phones, the lenses. They’re up there in Gothard. Anyway, I do it all, all the printing out there, anything possible. And I’ve done it for many, many years, and I just love it. So, that’s why it’s part of my business. Any questions, quickly? Hi, Sherri.

Sherri: What kind of presses do you have?

Jim: I have digital presses. I have production equipment. Each one of them cost more than a car, and that’s why I can do that inside. The other thing is I have binding equipment. Binding is interesting, too. The biggest binder in Orange County is BJ Binder over in, I think it’s Irvine, and they’ll charge for a perfect bind…a perfect bind is when you bind a glue bind like a book, when you get over 76 or 80 pages in a book you want to perfect bind it because with its thickness you don’t want to stitch it like those are. When you get that, usually you use them. Most people use them. They’re not trade, but they’re typically trade. But they’ll charge about $2 for that binding. Where there’s another binder in Santa Ana that will charge me 80 cents for that binding. And he does an even better job than BJ. I find them up there, so I don’t need that. I can bind things like this in-house and trim it for the small runs, but I might as well send it to them for the big runs.

Man: Quick question.

Jim: Yes sir?

Man: Can you do perf posters?

Jim: Perf posters? Yeah. Oh, one thing we don’t do, and I do this on purpose, we don’t do the prescription forms, the prescription pads. Actually, you have to have a license to do that. Because you’ll have people like Ron would be buying all those prescription forms so he could sell them on the street. So I don’t do prescription forms. Anything else? Well thank you, and thank you for your support. I appreciate it.