Choosing a printer is one of the most critical decisions you must make regarding your print project. To keep the cost of your project as low as possible, you might be tempted to choose the printer that quotes you the lowest price. Sure, the price is always important. However, when you select a printer on price alone, there is the ever-present danger that you may be making too big of a sacrifice.
There is a rule in the printing industry that you can have quality, you can have a fast turnaround, and you can have a low price. However, you must choose only two of those things. You can’t have all three. If you choose the lowest price, you will be giving up either quality or turnaround.
You’ve undoubtedly seen printers advertise a “special offer” of 500 business cards for $10. How can they do that? The price is low, and the turnaround is fast. However, the quality is limited. What they don’t tell you is that to qualify for the special offer you must choose from limited paper options. Bleed may not be available. And, because your cards are gang printed with other businesses, there is no option to color correct.
So, for that low price, you’re receiving an inferior quality print job. If that’s acceptable to you, then go with the low-price printer. However, the odds are that you’ll be disappointed in the long run.
What, then, is the most important thing to look for when choosing a printer? It’s best to start your search for a printer with the intention of building a relationship.
Build a Relationship with Your Printer
Begin by getting referrals from other businesses who are happy with their printer. Visit the printer’s website to learn as much as you can about them. Then, reach out to the printer either through their website or by phone and see how they respond to you. Pay close attention to how quickly they respond and how attentive they are to what you say. Notice whether they are trying to understand the nature of what you are trying to accomplish, or are they merely interested in getting just enough details to give you a quote.
What you want is a printer with whom you can build a relationship. You want the printer to be interested in your business and your project. Ideally, they should recognize that they have a vested interest in the outcome, so they take steps to understand and improve the print project that you are planning.
If practical, tour the printer’s facilities. This will give you the opportunity to see if they run a clean and well-organized shop. A tour will also allow you to meet the people at the printer who will be servicing your account. These are the people with whom you will be building a long-term relationship.
When you have a solid relationship with your printer, you’ll find that your print projects will be more successful. Keep in mind that things will occasionally go wrong on either your end or theirs. For instance, if someone on your end has made a mistake with a file, having a good relationship with your printer might make all the difference in whether that project gets printed on time. Perhaps the printer will be willing to step up and correct the mistake even though it is an inconvenience to them. Likewise, if they make a mistake, their willingness to correct the mistake in a way that is satisfactory to you will be based on the relationship you have with them.
Additionally, you want to know as much as you can about the printer. Start by assessing the printer’s expertise.
Assess the Printer’s Expertise
Find out everything you can about the printer. The objective here is for you to feel comfortable working with them. Read online reviews to see what their customers think of them. Don’t forget to ask them about turnaround time. Time is always of the essence, and it does you no good to receive print projects late, regardless of how well they are printed.
Also, ask how long they have been in business. You want to work with an established printer with a long track record. They should also be financially stable. Remember that all printers must buy ink and paper, buy new equipment, maintain existing equipment, and pay their employees. If the printer can’t handle all of these things, then they are in no position to handle your print projects.
When Choosing a Printer, Understand the Capabilities
Remember that it is crucial that your printer’s capabilities match your needs. Because it’s a good idea to only work with one print vendor, you want them to be able to take care of all your printing from pre-press to delivery. So, whether it’s signs, labels, banners, packaging, business cards, brochures, holiday greeting cards, or direct mail, make sure that the printer can handle it all.
Evaluate the Printer’s Quality
One of your top concerns should be that the printer you select must produce top-quality work. Since the quality of the print job ultimately reflects on your business, always, always look at samples of what the printer has printed. Don’t just pick up a random sample of something they’ve printed. Look at a representative sample. If you need signage printed, look at sample signs. If you need packages printed, look at samples of printed packages.
ImageMark Delivers on Price, Quality, and Turnaround
Here at ImageMark, we seek to apply our expertise, capabilities, and experience to deliver top-quality printing on time and at a reasonable price. That’s because we believe that you should sacrifice nothing when you choose us as your printer.
We not only have the ability to print jobs on one of our 18 printing devices, but we can also design projects, finish them, and distribute them via USPS or other methods. Moreover, because we care about your business, we work hard to make sure that your project gets completed in the most efficient and effective way possible.
Don’t choose your next printer on price alone. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive services. We’d love to discuss your next project with you.