How to Choose a Commercial Printer

Although we all know how important it is to be online there are still lots of printing needs that Realtors need to worry about. Today I have for you some great commercial printing tips and ideas offered by a guest poster

It is difficult work to find a print shop that can take care of your corporate business printing requirements. There are so many suppliers out there that it can all get a little overwhelming. It is tough to really know which provider will get you the highest quality and a great price. This article reveals some of the problems that print buyers go through and some tips.

About the print process

There are so many print suppliers out there that the first lesson that needs to be learnt is that they are not all made equal. A lot of them do not have all the equipment needed for your print job, or the technical know how to make it the optimal cost. It goes without writing, it is not in the printers best interest to let you know.

Some of the reasons for this is that most printers can not pay for all the equipment that is needed. Most print shops have one piece of the equipment needed but not the other. A great example is a smaller provider may only be able to afford a the digital press but cannot provide folding or stapling in-house. Or in another scenario the provider has all the equipment you need but they are on a high rental agreement and they do not have a steady flow of customers to make the price competitive.

What print buyers should watch out for?

Put simply, if you do not ask many print suppliers for a quote you will most likely end up paying more for the same product. What I mean is that the printer you are using could be adding their inflated margin to the end cost. Another element to watch out for is if the print shop is outsourcing your job to other vendors that are all adding their profit along the way. And to make things worse, you as the buyer could be paying for that final invoiced price.

Some tips on what to ask your printer

The end choices are always in the hands of the purchaser, and this couldn’t be more the case with print buyers. Remember that you have the option to make or break the deal, you can continue returning to the same provider that you get your business printing done, or you can go out and find a new one. But with the two stated options there is still one big challenge, that it may continue with the same problems as before.

My suggestion is to start having conversations with your printers and start asking questions. It could be for example about the equipment they have available. Some tips for questions are below:

Do they own an offset press? Using an offset printer is perfect for your larger printing runs. It uses the economy of scales. The larger the quantity the cheaper it is per unit. But for small runs, the setup is much too high.

How many colours is their offset printer? Having a 1 colour job printed on a 4 colour press is not cost effective and vice versa. Basically understanding the machine they are using will help you assess if it is worth your time asking them for a quote.

What year was their print machinery manufactured? This is important to know, because the older their machinery, the higher the waste and more time required for setup. This translates in higher overall production costs.

Do they have a digital press? Printing via the digital process is perfect for low quantities. Now the cost effectiveness disappears when you are getting larger runs (typically 500+). Also the digital printing process is well known for having cracking issues when the product is folded.

Do they have printing trays on their digital press? Depending on the finishing tray it may be possible for them to not only print, but also fold and staple in one click. This translates into lower priced printing for A3 folded to A4 booklets.

My 2 cents is do not just take the printers word for it, check it out for yourself. A simple rule of thumb is if they do not have what you are asking for in the shop you’re buying it from, it is probably being outsourced.

The above is just some questions that could be asked, there are many more to ask but the answers typically will only be discovered after doing business with them. This is the tough reality behind the print industry, and it requires time and money.

A better option is to find a print broker and get them to find you the ideal price. Because print brokers are not being hired by any print company they can move freely between printers and have the proven experience that is needed to get you a deal. They work in a similar way to mortgage brokers because they know all the vendors and are able to match your needs with the best provider. Print brokers have access to prices that are only given to trade agents and they pass along those savings to their clients, while making their profit along the way. In most cases print brokers have minimal overheads and a high set of quality standards which means you get a great deal through them.

Why hire a print broker?

I have heard this question asked many times, it is not really a question of should I or shouldn’t I use a print broker… Basically you could be your own print broker and you could find a once off discount from a supplier, but you may also find their generosity ends as soon as you get comfortable. It is also tough to know if your getting the right price without the technical knowledge or the understanding to question the print quotes your receive.

Because print brokers build relationships with a variety of providers they are able to keep their prices low and reward their customers with similar discounts. I would encourage you to always search your local directories for a print broker. A great provider will always be more than happy to partner with your company to get you the best deals.

If you are looking to get a great deal on large format printing, brochures, business cards, letterheads and so on then get in contact with a print broker. They are able to provide a solution for all printing needs. They can offer value and a quality solution!

Armon Rostami is a recognised expert in the field of print and print management. He has over seven years commercial experience in this area.

He currently acts as the Director of the graphic design Brisbane branding agency ROSTAMI that proudly caters to both Australian and International clients.

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