FAQs

License

I’m ready to become a licensee. What do I do?

IPI HQ evaluates all Licensee Information Request Forms received based on priority and timeline. If your needs change, please notify IPI HQ and your situation will be reevaluated. It is important that you contact IPI HQ before any other service providers related to The Print Refinery™ (designers, suppliers, contractors, etc.).

Are there prerequisites to becoming a licensee?

To become a licensee, you must join IPI – Member Network and participate in our Marketing Solutions Program (MSP) and Managed Marketing Services (MMS). As a member-owned organization, IPI – Member Network is exempt from the FTC Franchise Rule.

 

How long is the licensing commitment?

Once you sign your licensing agreement, pay your startup fee and make your first monthly licensing payment, we ask that you remain a licensee for two full years and make at least 24 monthly licensing payments.

What is the difference between a licensed model and a franchise?

With a licensed model, IPI has a very limited role in your business. Other than your obligation to properly use The Print Refinery™ trademarks and maintain a minimum level of quality in providing business services associated with the trademarks, IPI does not restrict or dictate the manner in which you conduct your operations. A licensed model is not subject to sales reporting regulations. A Hallmark store would be an example of a licensed model. A McDonald’s would be an example of a franchise.

What is the difference in pricing, commitment and requirements between a licensed model and a franchise?

A comparison of The Print Refinery™ license vs. a typical franchise:

This information is provided as general business data. We don’t maintain or provide specific information on the cost of different types of business models. We recommend you do your own research.

 

My current brand has value within my community and existing customer base. While The Print Refinery™ brand can grow my business, I am unsure as to what dropping my existing brand will do for my established base. Is there a license model available for me?

The Brand Transition license allows for initial co-branding (per guidelines and subject to approval). You should work to completely transition your business to The Print Refinery™ full licensed model within three years.

Do I legally need to change my name?

No. Don’t change your legal entity. Add a DBA of The Print Refinery™ and maintain your legal entity. 

Is the license transferable to an employee or new owner at the time of retirement?

Yes. It is just like the transfer of an IPI membership. The Print Refinery™ opportunity provides a great investment to sell a branded business.

Are there international options?

Yes. Please contact us to discuss how to bring this model to your country.

Investment

What are the upfront costs to get started?

There is a one-time startup fee of $7,500* (per location) which includes the following

  • Personalized consultation with an interior specialist to create a custom layout for your location
  • Weekly calls and other collaboration with your personal PR Development Team Onboarding Manager from inception to open house/brand launch
  • Team setup on the PR Portal and IPI Member Network University
  • Website setup
  • Hosted email setup
  • Managed Marketing Services setup (email, social media, digital signage)
  • Targeted social media brand launch campaign, completely managed by IPI and designed to communicate The Print Refinery™ brand publicly and promote your store launch (includes website, email, social media, digital signage, Google Places, Google Adwords and Facebook Ads)
  • A PR Development Team Member will manage and attend your grand opening/brand launch open house and provide in-person group and individual training while on-site.
What is included for the $600 per month licensing fee?
  • IPI membership
    • Supplying Partner discounts, specials, terms and rebate generation
    • Networking via the IPIPhoto.com Forum
    • International Print + Imaging Conference (IPIC) participation
    • IPI Live education
    • Fearless Reinvention System™
    • Participation in IPI profit sharing (US members only)
  • Marketing Solutions Program (MSP)
  • Managed Marketing Services (MMS) – email, social media, digital signage
  • Managed website and PR directory listing
  • Hosted email
  • Access to all PR materials, resources and updates through the online PR Portal
  • PR digital brand components, displays, and packaging guides and artwork
  • Ongoing online training through IPI Member Network University
  • Weekly ongoing one-on-one business coaching with a PR Development Team Member, including B2B/commercial sales training
  • One-on-one business development coaching and mentoring from an existing licensee
  • Monthly licensee group calls
  • Marketing feedback and education from data compilation
  • Global brand-wide marketing campaigns
I have two locations; what is the fee for this?

The fee is $600 per month, per location. You may not use licensed materials of The Print Refinery™ in locations that are not licensed.

What are the estimated construction costs for the retail section (including flooring, lighting, paint, brick and exterior signage)?

Contractors tell us that the estimated average cost per square foot for leasehold improvements in an existing vanilla shell ranges from $33 – $63. Because of the differences in geographic locations, local codes and other building requirements, this is only intended to be a general estimate. Also, much will depend on how you choose to operate your business and what equipment you select.

This information is provided as general business data. We don’t maintain or provide specific information on the costs to build out retail or commercial spaces. Do your own research and check with local contractors, architects, or similar building experts. 

What are the estimated furniture and fixtures (non-construction) costs for the interior (including furniture, fixtures, counters, displays and monitors)?

Interior costs are largely dependent on square footage and the number of pieces that fit within that space. Durability and affordability were key factors when sourcing the interior design elements. The estimated cost is roughly $10 to $20 per square foot based on an average 1200 square foot location. This number is dependent on current estimates and experience and will become tighter once we have several operational licensees providing feedback.

Are there other “incurred costs”?

Legal fees, deposits with your landlord, other deposits, ordering platform, POS, CRM, technology, equipment, materials, consumables, etc. are some examples of additional costs typically incurred during the course of businesses.

This information is provided as general business data. We don’t maintain or provide specific information about business startup costs. Please do your own research and planning. 

Are you able to provide a proforma?

We are unable to provide this type of information. Remember, this is an independently operated business to manage as you see fit. 

Store Design & Criteria

What square footage is needed for the retail space?

A minimum of 1000 square feet is preferable for The Print Refinery dedicated retail space. Depending on how you decide to operate your business, you will need additional space for the equipment and services you perform. 

Is the store design and merchandising guide included with the license?

Yes. This includes a generic layout; furniture, fixture and flooring purchase orders; graphics and color schemes for either a full store retail design or a Store-Within-A-Store layout. A detailed custom layout is provided by an IPI service provider as part of the startup fee.

My business is also a camera/electronics store, portrait studio, stationery boutique or print shop, and I need to retain that business and brand. Is there a license option for me?

The Store-Within-A-Store license allows for co-branding (per guidelines and subject to approval). You should dedicate a minimum of 800 square feet of retail space solely to The Print Refinery. If your total retail space is less than 2000 square feet, you should carry The Print Refinery store design elements (flooring, lighting, wall treatments, furniture and fixtures) throughout the entirety of your total retail space.

What do the co-branded opportunities (Brand Transition and Store-Within-A-Store) look like?

Other than the brand name and the other details mentioned in the two questions above, all requirements are the same as those for a full PR license. All pricing (startup and monthly fees) is the same as for a full PR license.

Co-branded naming conventions are worked out on a case-by-case basis. Existing logos are not to be used and co-brand must be adopted globally. Examples of co-branded names:

  • F-11 Photo / The Print Refinery
  • F-11 Photo @ The Print Refinery
  • The Print Refinery @ F-11 Photo
I recently remodeled. Do I need to start over or can I keep what I have?

The Print Refinery required key branding elements must be adopted. In the event of a recent remodel or if your existing surfaces and materials meet The Print Refinery design standards, our store design committee can evaluate your situation and determine whether or not those elements will remain or be replaced. Photos and samples of the existing materials will be requested as part of the evaluation process.

How long does it take, on average, to get a store up and running?

General contractors tell us that from site selection to opening day, the startup can run from three to eight months. This is an estimate only. 

  • This information is provided as general business data. We don’t maintain or provide specific information on the cost of different types of business models. Please do your own research.
How long does it take to set up a Store-Within-A-Store?

Depending on construction, typical startup is 60 to 90 days.

How close can licensees be located geographically?

The Print Refinery™ does not maintain specific defined territories. Depending on population density of each market location, IPI offers each existing member a right of first refusal if a new licensee wants to enter space within a three to five-mile radius of the current member location.

This area is being evaluated and is subject to change for new agreements with member input.

Support & Training

What type of training is included?

Throughout the onboarding process you will receive coaching and education that supports your store’s retail products, business operations and overall client experience. A PR Development Team Member will attend your grand opening/brand launch open house and provide in-person group and individual training while on-site (including but not limited to brand, culture, team, experience, packaging, systems, retail sales, etc.). Keep your team up to date through the IPI – Member Network University, a fun and easy-to-use online training system with required and elective learning modules. Also provided are: weekly ongoing one-on-one business coaching with a PR Development Team Member (including B2B/commercial sales training), one-on-one business development coaching and mentoring from an existing licensee and monthly licensee group calls.

Will there be an operations manual?

No. Remember, this is your own independently operated business. You operate the business as you see fit using best practices in specialty retail. There is an online training system that you can use to learn and educate your team. Some modules are recommended for all team members and others are duty-specific. Additional support can be provided by a mentor, monthly group calls and our member online Forum.

Marketing & Technology

How do you handle the web URL for each location?

Each location has a subdomain. For example: http://louisvilleeast.theprintrefinery.com/

What should I do with my current website domain name(s)?

We recommend that you keep your existing URL and brand names and redirect them to the new site. 

How will the website work with the co-branded options?

A co-branded website has the same PR website that full licensees have. The only difference is the use of the co-branding instead of only the PR brand. The site has plenty of areas for customization so clients recognize your original brand and know they are in the right place.

How is email handled?

Each location is assigned three specially formatted email addresses based on the main URL of theprintrefinery.com. For example:

How are Promaster products and other hard goods integrated on the website?

The Print Refinery™ site has an optional section titled “GEAR” that link directly to your existing hardware ordering platform.

What software is being used for POS and accounting software?

QuickBooks multi-user POS is the point of sale solution many IPI members use. In addition to low entry and operational cost, QuickBooks POS serves our lower transaction-based businesses well. 

QuickBooks online is the current accounting system used by many IPI members. 

If you decide to participate in providing key sales information to The Print Refinery™ HQ, these systems allow you to easily provide that data. The Print Refinery™ then shares consolidate members with data on what is selling and the margins achieved. However, it is up to you to decide on the brand and operation of your POS and Accounting system. 

What is API?

API is Application Program Interface. Wherever possible IPI is adopting APIs so that members can take advantage of technology without having to write their own programs. For example, photo and print app developers look to integrate with those who have volume opportunities through an API to print directly to service providers. IPI and The Print Refinery™ licensees will be able to accept orders from these app developers by simply adopting the IPI API.

Products

What are core products and services? What do I have to produce in-house vs. outsource?

Because we market the business through The Print Refinery website, email, social media and similar, licensees should offer core products and services per a recommended delivery schedule. Excellent outsourcing options are available for many products so you are always able to say “Yes” to your business or retail customer. The licensed business model does not dictate the specifics of what you must offer in products and services. We only provide general best practices. 

Is the pricing of products/services controlled?

No. You operate your business as you see fit. However, operating a high service specialty business will usually require premium pricing to maintain profitability and enable you to continue to provide premium services and value.