Choosing a good printing company can be a long and arduous process to the uninitiated. Technology has advanced so much that nearly anyone with a computer and a printer, but no operations management or even printing knowledge can start advertising themselves as a printer. This presents a veritable minefield to direct marketers and businesses looking for high quality, inexpensive printing services. Here are five things to consider when selecting a printing company, to help you make the best choice for your budget and goals.
Online vs. Local
A good online printer can offer much lower prices since they often do not have to carry the cost of retail rents for a physical location. They have lower overhead, and so, they can pass those savings to their clients. However, the price reductions in printing may be negated by the shipping costs, depending on the distance between you and the printer, and the size and weight of your printed materials. Additionally, for a lot of people an online printer is harder to trust than dealing with a person at a brick and mortar shop face-to-face. Often this is just due to being unfamiliar with the online printing process. After the first few orders, you will likely be a big fan of online printing companies.
For businesses that need prints right away, a local shop might be the better bet since you will not have delays due to shipping. Ask your printer for an estimate on when they can have the job completed, if it is an urgent matter, ask about rush prices. An experienced printer will have seen such issues before, and will be honest about its capabilities in getting the order completed.
Determine the Services You Need
What are you printing? Do you need digital printing, envelope printing or wide-format printing for large marketing materials such as posters and banners. Whether you are printing business cards, legal reports, or billboard signage, each requires a different form of printing and different services. Educate yourself on your printer's website to find out what you need. Your printer will be more than willing to discuss options that meet your needs and budget.
When choosing between several printing companies, be sure to ask for references and samples of their work. A good printer will be proud of his work and eager to show you how the company has satisfied clients in the past. Ask for their associations with trade and industry organizations. Contact your local newspaper or chamber of commerce to find out if any local shops have earned 'local business' awards. Finally, how do you feel when dealing with your printing representative? Printing does not have to be a stressful experience, but if you are not confident in your printer, it very likely will be.
Perhaps the largest consideration of all is cost. Marketing budgets are often very tight, although promotion and spreading the word about your business is as important as delivery quality service, particularly if you are a new business. Some items, such as flyers or business cards can be printed relatively by any company. Naturally, you will be eligible for certain discounts, depending on the order quantity and date needed.