There are a variety of “printing company yardsticks” to use and many depend on the variables of your color printing project. Printing companies vary greatly with capability and equipment, labor costs, rents depending on what part of the country they are in and unfortunately in some cases how their business is run.
If their business is well down, you may be looking at a printing press that will sell cheap due to the need for cash flow, but also more than likely have ill maintained equipment and your color printing job may pay the price that you did not pay at the beginning. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can tell if the printing service you are getting is appropriate or if the printing quote is even accurate.
Printing Press Capability:
As I mentioned above, all printing companies are not created equal and it is important if you want the best and most professional quality printing that you first look at the capabilities of the printing presses that you are considering. It is just like buying shoes; buy a size too small and the fit stinks and more than likely you will be tossing them out. It is the same with printing companies. You want to be sure that the job you seek to be done fits the printing company that is providing you with the printing quote and then running the job at their shop. Example: If your job is for magazine printing and therefore a sizable run and page count, then the only place you want to see a printing quote from is a printing press with web printing capability. On the other hand if you are producing a short run for catalog printing you would choose a sheet fed printing company. Book printing does not require the same equipment or the better quality printing of a heat set press and in that case your best bet for price and appropriate quality is a web printer with a cold set one. In any event “if the printing press fits, us it”!
This is a pretty straight forward issue; if you find a printing company who answers all of your questions, provides solutions you were not even aware existed and is generally available to you and providing your emails and questions are answered professionally and expeditiously then you in the long run have found a printing company that over time will save you more money than the cheapie printing companies without such quality printing service.
Quality Of Printing:
Do not ever be shy about asking for samples and who else the printing company prints for. You have every right to a visual inspection of the print work that the printing shop produces. However do allow the printing companies you ask this of for some slack in what they send you as they are printers and not sample warehouses, as they may not have a sample of everything that they have ever produced. You may have to settle for a few samples to show you with exactitude what it is you will be getting that is similar. For example, one magazine may have the text you want to reproduce and another may have the cover.
Printing Quote And Printing Price:
Of course you cannot totally get away from paying attention to the printing price of the quotes you receive. Whether it is due to the location, capability or other factors the printing quotes that you receive may vary widely for any of the reasons mentioned and more. One rule of thumb the old time print buyers at corporations used to use, and sadly there are few left in these economically trying times, was to never accept the lowest quote. I guess they felt that it was not a safe bet. One thing I will tell you is that if you do get multiple quotes, please compare them. Many times magazine printers, or book printers and others may substitute size, paper, and binding styles and vastly different turnaround times to produce your catalog or magazine based upon what they can efficiently produce at their printing shop. If you do not adequately compare the specifications from all of the printing companies providing you with a printing quote, you may wind up with a good printing price, but in the end not get what you want.
The Bottom Line:
Here is what I would like to impart with you as a final suggestion: If you plan to print somewhat regularly, and have found a printing press with the capabilities and printing services that can accommodate all of your requirements, choose the magazine printer, catalog printer or web printer that you feel the most comfortable with due to the whole package of price, printing service, capability and one you feel understands what you are trying to accomplish and work with you in order to fulfill those requirements. In the long run a relationship with this kind of printing company will save you the most money, as well as saving you from the stress from dealing with printing companies who will not meet all of your requisites.
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