How to Start a Magnetic Sheet Business

This business sells blank magnetic sheet in various sizes (fridge magnet rectangles, strips and A4 as well as car door magnets), to various industries (craft & wedding, home, business & automotive), The margins are excellent but this is a niche business. Here is how to make this a sustainable business.

Business model
This is a retail business, whereby magnetic sheet is bought from a supplier, cut down into various sizes and resold.

Steps to success
A. Buy magnetic sheet in sheet and roll form
B. Cut down to size
C. Package and resell.

This action plan covers

  1. Value proposition
  2. Market need
  3. Your Solution / Product mix
  4. Competition
  5. Target Market
  6. Financials & profit margins
  7. Sales channels, Marketing & Packaging
  8. Frequently Asked Questions

How to Start a Magnetic Sheet Business in South Africa

1. Value proposition
This business sells blank magnetic sheet in various sizes (fridge magnet rectangles, strips and A4 as well as car door magnets), to various industries (craft & wedding, home, business & automotive). The material you will be reselling is a magnetized rubber sheeting, this material can easily be cut to the desired size.

2. Market need
South Africa does not have a cheap B2C (business-to-consumer) supply of blank magnets in handy sizes. Consumers can buy from an online overseas shop like Amazon which takes time and has extra costs or they can use a local service like Wantitall which has jaw-dropping prices.

What this business entails is buying magnetic sheet from the B2B (business-to-business) suppliers that serve the print and signage industry. But instead selling a completed printed product, you will be cutting the magnetic sheet down into various sizes and selling it blank, the consumer will then use it to make their projects.

3. Your Solution / Product Mix
You will be buying magnetic sheet in three configurations:
3.1 1mx610mm x 0.6mm thick “fridge magnet” sheet (non-adhesive)
3.2 1mx620 x 0.4mm thick “self-adhesive” magnet roll
3.3 1mx610mm x 0.8mm thick “vehicle” magnetic sheet

3.1 1mx610mm x 0.6mm thick “fridge magnet” sheet (non-adhesive)

1m x 610mm diagram

This sheet will be cut and sold in the following size:

A4 magnetic sheet (210x297mm – I usually just round it up to 210x300mm when cutting)

1mx610mm diagram showing 8 sheets (and 160mm offcut which will produce another sheet)

This sheet is not self-adhesive and people that buy this sheet needs their own adhesive, depending on what its being stuck to you they can use Pritt if it’s just photos, or spray adhesive for multipurpose. Craft glue can also be used but it’s a bit messier than spray adhesive. This size is great for people that will be making different sized items and will be cutting it down themselves.
Each 1mx610mm sheet will yield nine A4 sheets (based on 2m lengths as each 1m produces 160mm offcut).

3.2 1mx620mm x 0.4mm thick “self-adhesive” magnet roll (for fridge magnet)

1m x 620mm self-adhesive diagram

This sheet will be cut and sold in the following sizes:

Self-adhesive A4 magnetic sheet (210x297mm – I usually just round it up to 210x300mm when cutting)

1m x 620mm x A4 diagram

Same size as the 3.1 sheet is cut to but this sheet this is self-adhesive and does not require glue but is pricier. As with the non-adhesive one this is for people who want to cut it down themselves.
Each 1mx610m piece will yield 8.5 A4 sheets; with a 160mm x 610mm offcut (remember this is sold in roll form, so for every 2 meters you cut you will get two extra A4 sheets from this offcut, in other words two meters will produce 18 A4 sheets).

Self-adhesive magnetic rectangles (40x20mm)

This is a popular size with businesses, it allows a calendar, emergency numbers, business card, matchbox to be turned into a fridge magnet simply by sticking this to the back. You are basically cutting down the 1mx620 sheet. Each 1mx620mm piece will yield 775 40x20mm rectangles.

3.3 1mx610mm x 0.8mm thick “vehicle magnetic sheet”

1m x 610mm x 0.8mm diagram

This sheet will be cut and sold in the following size:

500x300mm vehicle magnet.

1m x 610mm x 0.8mm cut in four 500x300mm sheets diagram

This is aimed at people that don’t want graphics permanently attached to their vehicles and will be making their own car door signs by purchasing cut vinyl and applying it to the sheet. Now this is not a particular large market as many people simple have the magnet and signage done at the same place but there is some DIY’ers out there.
Each 1mx610mm yields four 500x300mm magnets

Your primary product mix will look like the following:
A4 Magnetic sheet for fridge magnet (non-adhesive)
A4 Magnetic sheet for fridge magnet (self-adhesive)
Self-adhesive magnetic rectangles
Vehicle magnet

Secondary products

While there are other sizes to consider, don’t offer too many configurations. The logic of the A4 sheets is that they can be cut down to whatever size a person needs.

Here are other products to consider:
Self adhesive magnetic strips
This is similar to the self-adhesive strips just much longer, people can easily cut it to the length they require.

Magnetic circles
This is most popularly used in doming magnets as well as in craft projects such as bottle cap art. This requires the purchase of a hollow punch to make.

Photo frame fridge magnets (blank)
Blank photo frame fridge magnets that people can decorate themselves. Requires a large hollow punch in the 50mm range.

Full magnet business card DIY kit

Cutting the product down to size

You will need the following tools:
Hard surface, I use a 5mm thick large piece of glass (as wide as you need to cut) that I painted black (not necessary)
Steel ruler (I have one in 30cm, 60cm and 1 meter)
“Stanley” knife

* Measure sheet with ruler, mark with pencil where to cut
* Use ruler and Stanley knife to cut it down (requires some practice as you can cut yourself)
* To cut into smaller pieces such as 40x20mm rectangles, use the above technique to cut it into manageable squares. Then use a guillotine or paper cutter to cut it down to size.

4. Competition
This is not a widely available product and you will not have a lot of competition especially in your area. As stated it is still a niche product and less competition does not necessarily mean lots of income.

5. Target Market (and product)
Magnetic sheet & pieces intended for fridge magnets
Craft industry – fridge magnets
Wedding planners – save the date magnets
Plumbers, electricians, 24 hour emergency services – Magnetic business cards

Magnetic sheet intended for vehicles
DIY vehicle branding entrepreneurs and hobbyists

6. Financials, profit margins & suppliers

1×610 x 0.6mm thick “fridge magnet” sheet (non-adhesive)
A4 magnetic sheet (non-adhesive)
 R60.56 (VAT incl.) per sheet, which will product nine sheets (based on two meters at a time)
Supplier: Maizey Plastics
Cost price per A4 sheet: R6.73
Retail per A4 sheet: R25 (in packs of four for R100)
Profit per A4 sheet: R18.27
Profit margin: 73.08%

Material: 1mx620mm x 0.4mm thick “self-adhesive” magnet roll (for fridge magnet)
Product: Self-adhesive A4 magnetic sheet
Cost: R77.83 (VAT incl.) per sheet, which will produce nine sheets (based on two meters at a time)
Supplier: Falcon Signage Supplies
Cost price per A4 sheet: R8.65
Retail per A4 sheet: R33.33 (in packs of three for R100)
Profit per A4 sheet: R24.68
Profit margin: 74.05%

Material: 1mx620mm x 0.4mm thick “self-adhesive” magnet roll (for fridge magnet)
Product: Self-adhesive 40x20mm rectangle
Cost: R77.83 (VAT incl.) per sheet, which will produce 775 rectangles
Supplier: Falcon Signage Supplies
Cost price per 40x20mm rectangle: 10c
Retail per 40x20mm rectangle: 50c (in packs of 200 for R100) – 50c is the minimum price as this involves a lot of labour.
Profit per 40x20mm rectangle: 40c
Profit margin: 80%

Material: 1mx610mm x 0.8mm thick “vehicle magnetic sheet”
Product: 500x300mm vehicle magnet.
Cost: R81.34 (VAT incl.) per sheet, which will produce four sheets
Supplier: Maizey Plastics
Cost price per 500x300mm sheet: R20.34
Retail per 500x300mm sheet: R50 (in a set of two for R100)
Profit per 500x300mm sheet: R29.66
Profit margin: 59.32% (This has the least profit margin of all but also the least work (only four pieces to cut per sheet).

Maizey Plastics (link to national contact page)
Falcon Signage Supplies (link to national contact page)

* The two suppliers I mentioned Maizey Plastics & Falcon Signage Supplies are national B2B suppliers in the signage space that both sell identical products. Both Maizey and Falcon sell the 1x610x0.6mm magnetic sheet as well as the 1x610x0.8 magnetic sheet. Maizey is cheaper, has a larger footprint (more branches), is open more days per year (Falcon closes during during December factory holidays) and is the more reliable of the two.
* This is a very important caveat as the self-adhesive rectangle is a popular product. Of the two Maizey does not sell the self-adhesive sheet, and Falcon does not always have stock. If you do get stock, buy in bulk (they offer discounts for 15-29 units as well as for a 30m roll). Otherwise you have to make them yourself using the 1x610x0.6mm magnetic sheet, how this is done is you cut the sheets into strips, let’s say 200mmx20mm. Then you purchase 20mm wide double sided tape (the sellotape kind not the sponge kind), you get them at stationery shops (PNA, Waltons). Then you apply it to the strip and then you cut the strip down into five pieces of 40x20mm using a paper cutter / guillotine. Is this extra work? Yes it is, but the margins are enough to justify the extra labour.
* Falcon sells a 610x457x0.5 non-adhesive fridge magnet sheet. I have always preferred this over the 1x610x0.6mm. It’s around half the price and gives you 4 A4 sheets instead of the 9. But the 1x610x0.6mm works out cheaper and I would suggest you use Maizey as your preferred supplier unless there is a Falcon really close to you. There is actually a Falcon really close to me and I used to prefer them, but I have soured on them over the years. Maizey is the more professional of the two as well.

7. Sales channels, Marketing & Packaging

Sales channels
This is a product that is suited to a local, provincial and national market. The local market can be via selling to local businesses as well as a stall at a craft market, while the provincial market can be via advertising on online classified sites such as Gumtree. On a national level you can sell your products via bidorbuy (make sure you are a verified seller).

Local business
When marketing to local businesses, print a flyer (containing your product mix) and to that flyer you attach a mini bank bag, with a sample of the magnet inside. Tell them that magnet can be used to stick a business card to a fridge.
Craft markets
Get yourself some of these storage tins that look like fridges, not only can you use them to store your magnets in but you can stick various samples to it, and it looks cute. (These ones are sold at Dealz)

Gumtree is an important online channel as it shows up highly in search engine results for search terms containing {your product} in {your area}. When selling on sites such as Gumtree make sure to update your add on a daily basis to be sure it is always at the top of a category.
Make sure you have signed up to become a verified seller especially if you are new on the website. This will make you look more trustworthy when people want to buy from you.

How to Sell Goods Online in South Africa

The Internet has changed the way buyers and sellers connect making things like paper classifieds largely redundant. When you are selling physical goods online in South Africa there are a few questions to consider: Will you be selling, locally, nationally or both? Will you only be selling in your own province or to other provinces?

For the A4 sheets, I usually just package it in brown paper bags. I have used cardboard document holders before (when selling 8 at a time), but at R10 each they add a significant cost.
For the rectangles, I buy small plastic “Tupperware” (not genuine Tupperware I’m using it as a generic term) containers that cost R2-R3 each. You usually get these at plastic places, “China Towns” and other wholesalers.
For the vehicle magnets, I usually don’t package this in any way. But you can use a large sheet of paper.
For DIY kits I use a cardboard document holder, yes it adds around R10 to the price but it looks professional, there is not a lot of other ways to package all the items together and the margins are high enough to justify the packaging cost.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: The margins are really high, won’t I sell more if I lower the price?
A: Not necessarily. When you are dealing with a niche product, you have fewer buyers that really want the product and will pay what they consider to be a reasonable price if you are accessible to them. Lowering your price won’t deter those buyers it will instead leave you with less profit and without a sustainable business.