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Local Magazine set up or franchise

SarahStaffordshire2 · 18/04/2017 09:30

Hi, I'm looking for some advice. I'm considering setting up a local baby/toddler magazine for my area to share events and local classes with parents.

I just wondered if anyone has done or is doing this and if you can share you experience and advice?

Are there any legal areas I need to consider? Insurance requirements?

Can you make enough money to make a living from this or is it better as a side line?

How much do you charge for adverts?

How much do you pay for magazines/leaflets to be printed?

I'd be greatful for any advice.

Sorry I have so many questions!

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ahatlikeprincessmarina · 16/05/2017 14:59

Sarah, I am interested in doing this as well but I feel there is too much competition from the Families brand - do you have one in your area? How would you set yourself apart from it? I would really love to do something like this!

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milliesmummy44 · 27/05/2017 19:54

I did one of these as a one off and my advice would be this:

  1. Decide firstly how many magazines you'll need to cover your target market (in your case nurseries, toddler groups, health clinics, classes, cafes and coffee shops, supermarkets, sports and leisure centres etc). You'll need this figure (print run) to both sell your advertising and work out how much you're going to need to make.
  2. Decide how often you're going to run. Monthly is great as it offers a regular income but may be difficult with getting into term time only places so my advice would be bi-monthly.
  3. Find a printer. I have no affiliation with this printers - however they have a useful price calculator which can help you to work out costs.
  4. Aim initially for at least a 16 page magazine and assume that at least half of these will be non paid for pages (ie editorial, class listings, bit about you, some editorial etc).
  5. Do your sums. Printing is going to be your biggest outlay, followed by distribution (fuel costs can add up plus you may need to do a deal with some places for a free listing/space = them stocking/distributing your magazine). Phone calls, post (letters/sample mags/media pack to prospective advertisers). Also if you haven't already got one, you'll need some kind of publishing software or a graphic designer (beware the latter will be quite pricey as they charge by the hour/day usually).

    If you go for an initial print run of say 4,000 (which is the kind of figure your potential advertisers will want as a minimum) on a 32 page magazine you'll be looking at around £650 printing and delivery (to you).

    Add in distribution costs (again lets say you do this yourself over a week and spend £50 in fuel/parking).

    Then add in post costs (your advertisers will want to see their ad in the flesh) with stationery (maybe a compliment slip and obviously an envelope) so let's say another £50.

    Factor in 10% as miscellaneous costs because it just happens.

    So that's £825. On top of that you'll want to make a profit. If you run bi-monthly you'll want an average monthly income (x2 for the 2 months) which initially you may be happy to forego but ongoing you're going to want to earn). So let's say £1000 a month.

    So costs are:

    Printing £650
    Distribution £50
    Postage and Stationary £50
    Misc costs £75 (10%)
    Your salary £2000 (assuming £1000 per month)
    Total outlay = £2825

    So on a 32 page magazine, assuming half your pages are 'saleable' you need to sell each page for £2825 divided by 16 pages = £177 (rounded).

    People will want deals on committing to more than one issue (ie 3 or 6 issues) and you'll do better selling smaller sections (ie 1/8 or 1/4) at higher prices than the whole page price (eg a 1/8 page would be more than the page price divided by 8). So you might charge £150 for a whole page, but most people aren't going to take a full page. So half page is say half price plus 10%, 1/4 page 1/4 price plus a bit and so on).

    Offer value to your advertisers by including their classes/clubs in a separate listing page. You can even upsell this listings page by offering it as a single listing for say £5 or a bit more if they want their logo etc.)

    Premium pages such as front page, inside covers and back page are always worth a bit more. Editorials are good as they can look like articles but you can charge for them so it's a win win.

    Hopefully that's given some food for thought. Always worth looking at for examples of magazines out there. Sometimes helpful to look at older issues and more recent ones to see if they've added/dropped sections as they will have found what works and doesn't and saves you a bit of a learning curve when you're starting.

    Ones I've looked at are Time for tots, lots for tots, and toddle about but there are lots more out there!

    Best of luck with your new venture!
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ahatlikeprincessmarina · 30/05/2017 14:22

Milliesmummy, sorry I missed your reply the other day. That is soo comprehensive and ultra-useful – thank you so much for taking the time to put all that down! With my 'proper' job I am sometimes in contact with printers so would hope to be able to get some good quotes.

I am still interested in doing this but I still just haven't quite identified that USP that would set me aside from the Families brand, however. Still racking my brains tbh ...

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milliesmummy44 · 13/06/2017 08:59

My pleasure Smile hope it works for you.

On the USP issue, Families magazine (whilst great - we have one where we live) are quite cumbersome (A4 - mums want a little mag that fits in your bag). They're also quite pricey (although credit to them they do offer about 4 zillion sizes to suit every budget although I strongly believe a tiny ad won't get you much exposure - just my opinion though).

Family Grapevine (again no affiliation!) do a listings type which I imagine people would keep to refer back to, Toddle About (not on commission for these various publications Grin do a big(ish) section at the back with all the classes and groups in their magazine area (again very keepable).

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Pwhiller · 14/07/2017 23:04

Hi... Milliesmummy44 has done a great job of very perfectly and honestly explaining the business model what an angel - people pay lots of money for that sort of advice!

I stumbled across this post and thought it would be criminal if I didn't comment as I am a Family Grapevine franchisee.

A LOT of work goes into creating, delivering and administrating each issue but it's a lovely job. There are lots of variations of free magazines, some great, some not so, but FG has been around 20 years so we have a strong brand to start with and have very good negotiating powers with printers etc. Starting something from scratch under your own brand would be really tough and take a good while to get going before you might make a living from it - yes it looks viable on paper but you've got to find the advertisers and rely on the fact that they all pay you on time.... Yes there is a franchise fee like all franchises which covers training etc. Or there are sometimes 1 or 2 areas for sale that someone's already got set up and running which is great as you have a business already built. For example I have thousands of local businesses in my database, print more than 15000 copies and have 350 different distributors negotiated including Mothercare. We are A4 size and our income per page is much higher than Milliesmummy44 has suggested as your target.

You do need to be very organised, very outgoing for the sales and have an eye for design but if you are creative you'll enjoy it.

If you are really serious about getting started one of the directors will talk you through it if you look on the website and dig through to the West Kent edition pages... you'll find the email address there for the editor who is also a director in charge of new franchisee recruitment so drop her a line.

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