A superior printing partner can be a strong asset for a business. But with all the printing companies in the country, how can you choose the right one? Here are the questions you’ll need answered — either through your own research or by actually talking with company representatives — before you start working with a company:
- Where Are You Located?
There are so many online printing companies today that you may be tempted to upload your files and just wait for your products to arrive in the mail. But while this might be a great option for a family, it’s not a smart long-term move for a business — even a small one. Not only are you likely to pay a higher price per unit, since these online services cater toward low-volume buyers, you may also be looking at significant shipping costs and time. If you’re located near a major city, you should have several highly qualified printing companies to choose from right in your backyard.
- What Printing Techniques Can You Offer?
The two major processes used by printing companies are digital printing and offset printing. Which one is better (or more affordable) depends on factors of turnaround time, desired quality and print quantity. A company who offers both can help you decide on a case-by-case basis which will better meet your goals.
- How Much Experience Do You Have?
The best printing companies have good equipment, of course, but they also rely on the skill and experience of their employees. Especially when it comes to offset printing processes, there’s a lot more to printing than running paper through a big machine.
- What Types of Products Do You Offer?
There are certain kinds of print products that may be entirely irrelevant to your business model (if you operate purely online, for example, then aisle signs or window graphics won’t be of much use to you). But try to think beyond this individual project and imagine what you’ll want to be printing as your company grows and changes. It’s a lot better to develop a relationship with one print company now who does everything than it is to have your large format printing company, your direct mailer printing company, your business card printing company, your calendar printing company and so forth. Working with multiple printing companies will cost you both money and time over the years.
- What’s Your Customer Service Model?
Some print projects might be extremely straightforward, in which case you’re looking for an easy way to submit and track your orders, knowing that they’ll be done — and done well — every single time. But your business might also be taking on more complicated projects that involve some trial and error. In that case, you’ll want to make sure a company has a robust and knowledgeable customer service team to help you plan and adjust your project if necessary. Look for printing companies that can meet both these goals.
What else should businesses think about when comparing printing companies? Share your advice in the comments.