Printing industry veteran with over 39 years of experience exposes the secrets that printing companies desperately hope you will never discover.
Can All Printing Companies Do The Same Job?
Based primarily on the equipment they have, printing companies operate within specific market segments.
Some do full colour work while others are much better at general jobbing work. Some are much more competitive on large runs, and some on shorter runs. Some printing companies provide a comprehensive graphic design service while others just print dropshipping from customer supplied artwork.
The printing business is intensely competitive, so you need to be aware that some printers will stretch the boundaries of their expertise and the capacity of their equipment, just to get your business. The downside of this is your printing may be overpriced, not meet delivery times and the quality may well be less than perfect.
How Do I Find The Right Printing Company?
With so many printing companies to choose from, the chances of you finding the right one are fairly slim.
Quality, pricing, and services vary greatly between printing companies. You are definitely on your own when it comes to finding the right one for you, unless you seek assistance. Try to find someone who has had lots of experience working in the printing industry.
What is Most Important, Service or Price?
Most printing companies can produce acceptable printing or they would not be in business.
When looking for a printing company, start with service. With so many competitors, printing companies are stretching their value-added services and unique benefits to try and keep themselves ahead of competitors. The less you know about the printing process, the more help you will need from an expert.
The problem is finding one who will teach you so start by seeking a printing company that really values your business and will work hard to win it, and retain it.
Learn how to find the best for your business.
Does it Matter where the Printing Company is?
Do not hesitate to look outside your immediate area for a printing company.
As long as they deliver what you want, when you want it at a price you can afford, it does not really matter where they are situated. You can email your files to most printing companies anyway and if the goods arrive on time, who cares if the printer is a suburb or two away.
What About Quantity Breaks?
Thanks to new technology and the advent of digital presses, on-demand printing is now freely available.
You can print the exact quantity required for a particular task or promotional period.
Determining print quantities remains one of the hardest roles of a print buyer.
Be conservative when estimating your quantity. Try and determine the life of the document, and print only what you need. Studies show that around 30% of every print job goes to waste. Based on these statistics, that last big job you had done that cost $10,000 – like as not you possibly wasted $3,000.
Take the time to estimate the quantities you need, as accurately as possible, no matter where the price break kicks in. Although unit costs drop as quantities increase, you will still be throwing money away if you do not use all the documents, regardless of how cheap they were. Go for zero waste.
Who is Responsible For Details?
Every single speck of information about your print job can affect the production process and delivery time.
Variations in quantity, number of ink colours, paper stock, finishing, embellishments, binding, etc will affect the final price. Even a minor difference in job size can have a dramatic affect on the price. Make sure the person responsible for your printing has a sharp eye for detail and is on the ball.
Why Do I Need To Know Anything About Printing, Can The Printer Sort It All Out?
If you can afford to hire an experienced print buyer, do it. Being successful at print buying is the culmination of years of working with all kinds of printed documents & printing companies, gaining technical knowledge, and keeping abreast of new printing technology.
They do not teach print buying in schools or colleges.
The best print buyers learn from years on the job. Also never, ever assume graphic designers are experts on printing. In many cases they have little or no understanding of printing procedures or production processes. Choosing a graphic designer with limited industry experience could substantially increase your print costs.
Do I Base My Choice on Equipment or Service?
Printing really should be a service business.
To think of it as a manufacturing business is really ignoring the requirements of the customer. All things being equal on the manufacturing side, starting with a sales representative who knows the industry, is service driven and goes the extra mile for his customers, is a good idea
If you do not feel comfortable talking with your sales rep, the relationship won’t work. For most corporate buyers, the sales rep is the printer. Find a printing guru that you get along with and develop mutual trust and respect.
Is It Worth Doing Our Own Digital File Preparation?
For maximum efficiencies with minimum fuss, you cannot beat Mac files.
The Mac is still the preferred platform by printing companies worldwide, despite what the PC guys tell you.
Many companies assume that PC programs such as Word, Power Point, Excel and Publisher are perfectly suited to offset printing. They are not. These programs are designed for low resolution output to computer screens, network printers & copiers, not high-end image setting equipment or commercial presses.
With the wrong software, colour separation, text formatting and font defaults are areas where problems can occur leading to extra work, time and cost.