If you are not letterpress printing full time, as in, if you have a day job in addition to your letterpress work, what are some of your lead times for projects for clients? Right now, I work 8-5 and print in the evenings after the kiddos are in bed. I have a Pilot and a Showcard Model B. I usually print for 2-4 hours, then go to bed so that I can stay awake in my cubicle. I want to make sure I set up reasonable expectations for my clients in terms of how long it will take me to work on their projects (i.e. no, I can’t always get projects done and shipped in 1 week if they are more than one color).
I’d say 7 to 10 business days. I’ve seen as much as 2 to 4 weeks as well. I have a C&P 10×15 and at first it took forever to do things- set up, inking, printing,etc. The longer you work on them, the more proficient you become. If you have items that you want to print for yourself, or to sell, I would time yourself from start to finish and see how long it takes you to get those done. I know you said that you usually print 2-4 hours, for me in the beginning, it took me that long just to get one design running on the press. Now I can do a couple of designs, same ink color, from set up to finish in about 20 minutes each depending on the run (just did this for 100 circle monograms and 100 invitations). Again, she’s motorized and has the ability to run on a treadle, but I’ve run her on the motor. I hope this helps!
Turn around time for me depends on the individual job and how busy I already am, a week to two weeks is my usual quote. But as a general rule, I estimate how long it’s going to take me based on previous jobs (factoring things like set up and clean up time and how many prints I can do on average in an hour, time its going to take to make plates and wither I have the paper on hand of if it will need to be ordered etc.) and then I double it. That way if something goes wrong, I get a migraine or my kid gets sick I don’t miss the deadline. If you get it done before you said you would the client will not complain but they certainly will if you miss the deadline. For wedding jobs it can be helpful to do the envelopes first, that way they can begin addressing them while you finish off the rest of the order. Also I am clear with the client that the clock doesn’t start until the final design has been approved, which often helps to speed things up.