Licensee FAQs

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

IPI HQ evaluates all interest forms received based upon 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?

In order 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.


What are the upfront costs to get started?

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

  • Five day, on-location commercial sales, retail general best practices training, for up to three people, at an existing TBD PR location. It is recommended that the owner, managers and commercial sales team members participate. (Production training will be supplemented in your own location by your vendors or IPI Supplying Partners if you purchase new equipment.)
  • Personalized consultation with an interior specialist to create a custom layout for your location
  • Weekly calls and other collaboration with your personal IPI HQ 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 publicly communicate The Print Refinery brand and your store launch (includes website, email, social media, digital signage, Google Places, Google Adwords and Facebook Ads)

*Does not include travel expenses.

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
  • 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.

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 pay at least 24 monthly licensing payments.

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. 

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.

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.

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
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.

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 general cost range per square foot for leasehold improvements in an existing vanilla shell is $33-63. Because of the differences in geographic locations, local codes and other building requirements, this is only intended to be a broad general estimate. Also, much will depend on how you choose to operate your business and what equipment you choose.

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. 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.

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.

Are there other “incurred costs”?

Legal fees, deposits with landlord, other deposits, ordering platform, POS, CRM, technology, equipment, materials, consumables, etc. are some examples of additional typically incurred in 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. 
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 exact same PR website that full licensees have. The only difference is the use of the co-branding instead of only the PR brand. The website has plenty of areas for customization so clients recognize your original brand and know they are in the right place.

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.

How is email handled?

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

What software is being used for POS and accounting software?

QuickBooks multiuser POS is the POS solution many IPI members use. In addition to low entry and operational cost, QuickBooks POS serves our lower transaction based business 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 our 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.

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

Because we market the business through email, social media, The Print Refinery website 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 consumer customer. Remember, 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. Remember, you operate your business as you see fit. However, operating a high service specialty business will usually require premium pricing to maintain profitability and provide premium services and value.

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, start up 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 costs between different types of business models. Do your own research. 
How long does it take to set up a Store-Within-A-Store?

Depending on construction, typical start up 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.

Are you able to provide a proforma?

We are unable to provide this type of information. Remember this is an independent operated business to operate as you see fit. 

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 costs between different types of business models. Do your own research. 


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.

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. 

Will there be an operations manual?

No. Remember, this is your own independent 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.

What type of training is included?

Five-day, on-location training is held at an existing TBD PR location. It consists of general best practices operations (brand, culture, team, experience, packaging, systems, etc.) and commercial sales for up to three people. There is also ongoing online best practices training for the duration of your license. Training is included in the startup fee. Travel is not included.

Are there international options?

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