What to choose and avoid when looking for printing services

posted by Precision | 2nd Aug 2016

Here at Precision Printing, we know a thing or two about what you need to look for in a printing service. Having worked in the industry for over 50 years, we have established long-term client relationships and understand which elements of our services have benefited our clients the most.O9IY141-01

If you’re looking to work in partnership with a printing firm, we’ve compiled a list of things to watch out for before you make that final decision. Here’s what to choose and what to avoid:

Avoid: A questionably cheap quote.
When you’re shopping around and trying to find the most cost-effective price, it’s instinct to choose the cheapest prices. Sometimes, however, that may not represent the job’s true cost. There may be hidden charges too which you aren’t aware of. 

Choose: A comprehensive, all-encompassing price
Make sure you get the specifics. How much delivery will cost, any card or other payment fees, or jobs that need to be returned in hurry.

Avoid: Complicated payment systems
This is especially true if you have a team of people using the service. When setting up credit card payments, you could be expected to enter the same credit card information twice, or have a new credit card with each user. If this step in the process takes up too much time, it’s going to impact on the time staff spend on each individual job.

Choose: A simple, single-card payment
Find a print service provider that gives you a company account. Not only will they likely be experts in working with businesses and agencies, they will also let you link one credit card to the company account. You could also save time by ordering with one click!

Avoid: Complex pricing structures
Another waste on staff time with print providers is complicated pricing systems. It can take a while to work out how much a job costs from different breakdowns, or even longer if you have to wait to manually be offered a quote over phone or email.

Choose: Instant quoting
Eradicate any time wastage by choosing a printing service provider that gives you instant online pricing. This way, everything is open and clear from the start, and you can save essential time waiting and calculating costs.

Avoid: Inflexible delivery
Variety is the spice of life, so whether you’re working on behalf of clients or working on in-house marketing projects, you need to have access to a range of options to suit your timescale and budget. Avoid restricted and expensive delivery options, and shop around to find a selection that works for you.

Choose: Access to a variety of delivery options
Make sure you have access to swift delivery and fast turnaround times. Make sure to check the manufacturing times, in case you need to wait for production, and see if there are premiums for next day delivery. If you choose right, you could get next day delivery as standard for some products.

If you are providing print services for clients, it could be worth opting for a provider that offers white label delivery. This means that materials are delivered to clients with unbranded packaging and delivery note, preventing the client from going direct next time.

Avoid: Putting all your eggs in one basket
Print and production firms occasionally run into issues, where a printer may jam or break down, there may be a power outage or they may simply run out of capacity. Keep in mind that these issues could set you back.

Choose: A multi-site facility
A print partner with more than one site offers you much more flexibility and security. The multiple sites support each other, giving you added piece of mind as the customer. 

Avoid: Lots of outsourcing
Some print companies only do certain jobs in house, outsourcing others. If this happens, you need to consider longer lead-ins, and consider the likelihood of more administration errors. 

Choose: A wide range of own production facilities
The more printing that’s done in-house, the easier you can plan and get accurate delivery rates. This makes for happier clients, and happier marketing teams too.

Avoid: Restrictions on products
You want to be able to get all of your printed materials from one supplier. That means you shouldn’t compromise on what you want. Avoid printing partners with a limited or restricted product range so you aren’t faced with these limitations.

Choose: A wide, unique product range
Make sure your provider can offer you all of the print services you can imagine. This includes your commonplace items like business cards and leaflets, as well as photobooks and printed journals. Make sure your printer also gives you non-standard sizing, as well as alternatives to A4 and A5, to give you alternative solutions for your clients.

Avoid: Clunky user experiences
There is nothing more time-consuming and off-putting than dealing with an archaic system that is difficult to use. When you’re trying to work efficiently as a business, you want everything to be working for you, as well as an online setup and production experience that makes life easier.

Choose: A good online experience
There are now some great user experiences to be found with print providers, and specialist website functionalities to make things a little easier on you. A ‘Save Your Quote’ function will help save you time when recreating orders – it’ll also be helpful when you do great work that you want to repeat.

You need to be able to see alternative options too, if you’re building up a selection of ideas. Some providers have a live price builder where you can change the option instantly to see the difference in price.

And finally, it sounds simple, but good online product guides can transform your experience.

We hope this has helped you in knowing what to consider when looking for print services. Here at Precision Printing, we’re proud of the work we do for our clients. If you would like to know more, contact our team today.