Have you ever seen advertising on television for low cost 4-color business cards? They make design and printing sound easy and inexpensive, so when a long time client asked me to find a low cost printer for their annual newsletter I agreed to get estimates from some on-line print companies who offer below market prices. Here’s what I discovered…
Getting estimates on a print job? Look online and local, too.
Good copywriters make everything sound easy. Think of the last time your swore at your desktop printer and you’ll know it’s never as easy as it sounds.
Printing is a complex process. My knowledge of this industry, and how to get a job file ready for a printing press is extensive and comes from 20 years of experience working with every local printer — and some hundreds of miles away.
Real Life Story
One of my long time clients, Bright Spot Therapy Dogs had a ‘happy’ problem — their list of followers and contributors continue to grow so they need more newsletters each year. They also need many more to handout at speaking engagements, local events, and community outreach opportunities. I’m always trying to save them money, while maintaining quality, so when they requested 2,000 newsletters this year, it seemed like a good time to check out one of the large print houses that advertise on television, and the Internet.
Printing Bargains Can Be Found Online
A few of the more ‘famous’ value printers could not accommodate the large size of the BrightSpot newsletter which measures 25.5″w x 11″h flat, and is tri-folded to 8.5″w x 11″h. They only run industry standard sizes:
- 3.5″ x 8.5″
- 5.5″ x 8.5″
- 8.5″ x 11″
- 8.5 x 14″
- 11″ x 17″
I was able to locate two reputable value printers who offer “standard size” brochures as large as 25.5″w x 11″h flat.
The actual printing price was less expensive than my local alternative – not by a lot, but enough to give them serious consideration. The Bright Spot job needed to be tabbed for mailing, as well. When compared to the price my local printer gave me for tabbing, I was surprised to learn the value printers charge more for this “additional service.”
Don’t Forget to Add in Shipping Costs
Shipping costs are based on weight, and paper gets very heavy, very quickly. When shipping was added the per unit cost rose. In the end I chose Marcus Printing, a local, high quality printer to produce Bright Spot Therapy Dogs 2014 newsletter because it was less expensive, plus I knew I would get a great product.
I was pleased to learn my long-time local printer was the least expensive option to print 2,000 newsletters on 80 lb. coated house stock, on the size the customer needed, that also required tabbing plus two different finish fold options: one for mailing and one for promotion.
Personally, I prefer doing business locally. As a graphic and web designer who still offers print services, I value my resources and business relationships that took years to develop. An added bonus was being able to be on site when the newsletter was printed. There’s nothing quite like the sound of the pressroom, and watching one of my jobs run through the inked rollers, and be handed a sheet that’s literally, hot off the press.