Questions to ask before selecting a printing partner
There have never been so many options when it comes to choosing a good printing company. All have their strengths and weaknesses. When looking, consider the list of products you will need them to create or print and the turnaround time you will typically require. Once you have that defined, here are few things to consider.
Do a little research before you create your short list of printing companies. You can learn a lot by reading online reviews and testimonials from other clients. Find out how long they have been in business and what experience they have had. A quick call or email will give you an idea of their response time and friendliness before you choose them to produce your projects.
Things to determine:
- Are they able to provide ongoing support, recommendations, and consultations on your print projects?
- Do they offer excellent service with an experienced and friendly staff?
- Can they demonstrate the extent of their expertise and services?
- Are they passionate about becoming your print partner?
- Can they meet your lead times and quality requirements?
Ask as many questions as possible until you are confident in making them a partner.
Some online companies cut their cost by having little to no customer service. This becomes a problem when you need help creating a custom job or have questions about your project. It is beneficial to partner with a company that has an in-house designer on staff. There will be times when the experience of this individual will prove invaluable. Even if you have a designer on your staff, they still may have questions regarding the proper way to set up your printed item. The in-house designer can act as a liaison to put printer language into terms you will understand.
Some printing companies specialize in one type of printing such as business cards, posters or calendars. If you have a broad range of projects, it will be easier to build a relationship with one company that can accomplish them all. They will understand your brand and bring value to your business outside of just ink on paper. This eliminates the need of working with numerous companies.
Online Web to Print portal
Do they offer customized B2B online portals? These are useful for printed items that are reordered frequently and online portals allow you to place orders 24/7, quickly and easily.
Products that are ideal for this type of ordering include:
- Company Business Cards
Dynamically enter business card data, while maintaining strict brand guidelines. Your company business card template can be set up so you can easily proof and order your cards online, all while keeping approved fonts, logo placement, and format.
- Envelopes and Letterhead
Have all your stationary set up in one central online storefront. Have different address locations, envelope sizes, and styles? No problem, each can easily be ordered in the amounts required.
- Business Forms and Manuals
Do you have business forms or product manuals that rarely change and are ordered frequently? Organize them all in your central B2B online portal and streamline your process so you can manage these projects easily.
- Turnaround Times
Find a company that will clearly tell you their turnaround time upfront, or can be flexible to meet your project’s needs. An item doesn’t serve its purpose if it can’t be delivered in the time required.
In addition to turnaround time, shipping costs are also a consideration. Some online companies offer amazing prices but after you go through the steps ordering you find that shipping and handling costs as much as the printed product. Partner with a printer that can be upfront with shipping costs and delivery times. Any good printer should be able to provide a delivered cost estimate for your specific project.
It is a process to find the right printing company, but it’s important to remember that you only have to find it once, so it’s well worth the effort! Once you’ve found a company that you know you can trust, the sky’s the limit, so take your time and choose wisely!