The digital age has enhanced the possibilities for printing business documents, direct mail postcards, business cards and advertising materials. Endless possibilities can create difficulty for the decision maker when the time comes to select the best printer for every need. An organized approach will eliminate the services that are not equipped to provide the best combination of creativity and price. Use this guide to reduce the unknown factors and make informed choices.
1. Define the project – Every business has unique printing needs throughout the calendar year. Annual projects might require significant effort to prepare the materials to stay in the mind of participants. In some cases, printer services are rarely used. Before seeking the assistance of a professional printer service, the decision maker should have an idea of the scope of the print project. A list of pieces should be devised for easy reference throughout the decision process.
2. Determine the schedule – Significant lead time will be required for multiple iterations of design and review. Simple requests can be designed, approved and printed in a matter of days. Large projects will require weeks, or months, of preparation time before the final product is printed. Too much time is always better than too little time. The printer’s schedule must be considered because of other clients.
3. Research choices – Local printers offer the convenience of association with people in the community. Personal connections can be helpful when a last minute print job requires rapid turnaround. Online print services offer vast choices that might not be available in the local market. Narrow the choices based on the projected printing needs going forward.
4. Contact three printers – Narrow the choices to the top three printers that are able to meet the schedule at affordable prices. Discussions with each printer will allow the business owner to build a rapport that will be important for this project and others. Different printers will be helpful for various projects that require unique services. Each printer will have unique pricing structures where large quantities are cheaper with one service. Smaller numbers might be more affordable with another service.
5. Ask the same questions – An interview with each printer should include similar questions to provide sufficient information. Notes should be kept for reference if a unique need arises. Additional calls can be made to ask questions that arise later. All answers should be written on the page for each candidate.
- Design – Printers offer certain types of design services that will be included. Extensive design services will be charged at per hour rate. The customer should understand the importance of this service when time is tight. Paying for designs might be less expensive than personal attempts. Graphic designers have great ideas that are worth the money.
- Turnaround – A schedule must be set before the work is assigned. Deadlines are important because of lead time required to mail postcards or hang posters. Printers offer suggestions when the customer is willing to learn from the expert. Suggestions are helpful when devising the best schedule for the project.
- Format – Existing designs from previous projects can be helpful. File formats are important because of software compatibility. Color formats must be identical to achieve the desired result. The printer will ask for a specific file type, size and quality. Compliance with the guidelines saves time and reduces costs.
- Price – Inclusive prices can be misleading if the same design will be used multiple times at regular intervals. The customer should ask if the design services are included in the per piece price. A business card should be priced without design services. Specialty pieces might require additional design services. Price differences of one cent will add up quickly when thousands of copies are required.
6. Trust the expert – Printers know what is best in many circumstances. The customer should realize that certain approaches would result in higher costs and lower quality. Basic guidelines for the project should be offered to the printer. Expert guidance through the entire process will allow the printer to demonstrate his expertise while the customer receives a superior product. Examples should be requested before any final printing is completed. Approval must be accompanied with careful review to prevent mistakes.
Experiment, Then Commit
Small projects offer an opportunity to discover the printer’s capabilities. Before awarding a large project, the decision maker can send a small project to each printer as an audition. The process will be simpler for both parties. Requests that are answered quickly can be a positive for the candidate. Frustrating practices will be discovered before a major project is awarded. The customer can use this approach to determine if any of the three final candidates has the capacity to handle print services for the business.
With more than a century of experience, Snap is Australia’s leader in all things print.
From digital and quick printing for business cards and business stationery to offset printing for Flyers and Direct Mail, you can trust Snap business printing to know what it takes to deliver on a promise.
Visit us at www.snap.com.au