The aim of this article is to share the benefit of our experience and outline some useful steps to help you select the right printing company for your print job. The reality is there are many options available, from your local printer to online services printers based across the globe. So how do you ensure you are going to get a quality, value for money solution? The fact is that your marketing collateral will leave a lasting impression on your prospects and it pays to get it right and deliver a professional finish! If the quality of your printed materials is not good, then your prospects may well consider that your products or services are not good quality as well. This step-by-step guide will help ensure you select the right printer for your project.
1) Visit their premises.
Your print job is important, so where possible it’s worth visiting the printer yourself, touring their facilities to check out how they perform, ask questions, talk to the staff and generally get a feel for how they operate. The quality and presentation of their premises will reflect the quality of work they produce. Ensure you meet your account handler and see if there is a rapport between you.
2) Check the quality of work – Don’t sacrifice quality for price!
Ask to see samples of recent work from your short-listed printers that reflect the specification of your project so you can make like-for-like comparisons. Check if the finish is to the standard and quality you require – is there any smudging of the ink – or mis-registered text? Are the images clear or blurred? The reality is that going for the cheapest option can prove a false economy. If the products printed are not up to standard this will reflect badly on your brand. Low price often means low quality, because companies can use cheap ink and paper to be able to offer very low cost printing. Furthermore low costs can also mean your job gets printed at the same time as other customers – which can affect your lead times & the finishing quality. We’d recommend choosing a printing company that is a bit more expensive but that offers good quality and value for money.
3)Investigate the level of customer service you will receive.
Find out how your account will be managed– you need to be able to trust your printer and your account handler. Ensure that they are open & honest and will deliver a professional service with good communication and client management skills. Ideally you should look for a printer who can manage your project in its entirety, from print, personalisation, collation, finishing, binding, storage and fulfilment. It is far more cost-effective and efficient if the same company handles every step.
4)Check the reputation of the company
Look at the printer’s website and review their client list, look at their experience in printing, how long have they been established? Don’t be afraid to ask for existing customers’ references and personal recommendations. Use social media like LinkedIn and Twitter to check on other client experiences. It’s worth doing as much research as you can up front!
5)Investigate the printer’s ‘green credentials’.
If you use a printer who does not manage its carbon footprint then this could reflect badly on your business. Look for a printer who is committed to the care of the environment, prevention of pollution, and efficient use of natural resources. Check if they have FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC accreditations. Many printers are now ISO 14001 accredited and offer recycled paper and environmentally-friendly inks to print your marketing collateral.
6)Choose the right format of printer for your job.
The type of printing press the company uses is important, because it will determine the cost and to some extent the quality of your job and the turnaround time. Many digital printers now offer good quality results at low cost for low volume print runs e.g. 200 copies and these can be turned around very quickly from receipt of artwork. However litho printing will be cheaper for larger quantities and produces higher quality print with the option for special finishes or print effects such as foil or spot colour.
Finally…be loyal to your print provider!
Once you have found a good printer offering a quality, value for money product and excellent customer service then stay loyal! Good working relationships with your printer will potentially enable you to get better service such as volume discounts, faster turnaround and personal delivery.