How to Spot a Bad Print Partner
When searching for the right print provider, you need to strike the perfect balance of service, quality, and price for the project at hand. Quality is, of course, a top priority. Your print project will reflect on you and your brand. If you find a printer who seems to be a good deal with a low price, you need to be sure that’s not the only thing they offer.
Be sure to take the time to partner with a printer who will give you the excellent quality, great customer service, and a fair price you deserve. All printing companies are not the same, so here are a few tips so you can spot a bad one.
Ask questions to understand the level of customer service you will receive. You want to trust your account manager to be open and honest with you whether things are going well or production has hit a snag.
- Do they take time to understand your business and the goal of the project?
- How quickly will they respond to your preferred method of communication, whether by phone, email or text?
- Do they provide alternative ideas and solutions to print requirements to enhance the product or troubleshoot issues, or are they just order takers?
- Are they honest and upfront if a project is outside the scope of their capabilities?
Samples and file work
When asked, a good printer will offer samples of the type of work that they do. If you want to see examples, just ask! A good printer also reviews your submitted files and will look for things that may impact the quality of the finished work. Know as “Prepress” in the industry, a good printer will make sure your project will fold as intended, check the image quality of pictures, and if required, provide color proofs. Sometimes a simple explanation or helpful tip provided by a good print provider can aid you in setting up your print files correctly. In some situations, a file “is what it is,” but at least you will know ahead of time what you can expect when your project is completed.
Things to watch out for when reviewing samples:
- Color and print quality. Does the piece look nice?
- If the piece was printed on a thicker paper stock, is there cracking on the folds?
- Consistency from project to project. Does the color of similar branded pieces look the same over multiple printed projects
Slow to respond
Notice the time it takes them to respond to your inquiries. How fast did they return your quote request or respond to your initial questions or concerns? If they are slow in these areas, it should be a red flag that they would definitely struggle to meet your expectations as a client. When they respond to your inquiries is it with an automatic email or is it a real person?
Do they deliver the goods
The ideal situation is to find a print partner who can manage your entire project, and deliver on what was promised. Did they meet your deadline? If there is an issue, do they stand behind their work, or will you be stuck with a pile of paper that needs to be recycled? A good printer is quality and service driven. They identify and solve problems before they happen, and consistently get it right the first time.
Don’t waste your time or money on printers that may charge less, but produce bad work or provide lousy service. Take the time to ask questions, get references, and be confident that you are working with a trusted partner. And remember, the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.