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How to Choose a Printing Company

Selecting a printing company should be no different than choosing an accountant or lawyer. Identify the criteria you deem most important – e.g. quality, customer service, areas of specialty, pricing – and then weigh the prospects on how well they stack up against each other. The better your decision-making process the longer and more prosperous the business relationship will be once you’ve chosen a printer with which to partner. Choosing the right printing company can yield significant short- and long-term benefits, but lots of businesses get this wrong. Here are the most common mistakes to avoid.
  1. Selecting the Lowest Price – Price shopping makes sense for commodities only, otherwise you need to factor in other elements that equate to VALUE, like quality, workmanship, price and service. New customers tell us all the time, “I went to XYZ Discount Printers or tried and the product I received wasn’t what I expected.” You get what you pay for!
  2. Getting Multiple Bids – Imagine doing this with your doctor or lawyer. Sometimes this approach may work, but good printers are busy and already have a loyal customer base so trying to win your business by submitting a low bid may not be their priority. Printing is a skilled craft and most good printers won’t risk their reputations by lowering their quality standards to be the cheapest bidder. Buyer beware!
  3. Thinking All Printers Are the Same – Producing a quality product requires experience, expertise and a focus on customer service. Great printers ask lots of questions to ensure they are providing solutions and delivering products and services that meet or exceed their customers’ expectations. They are also skilled craftspeople who know how to operate their equipment to ensure the highest quality results; they are not just some kid punching buttons on a copy machine at a big box retailer.
  4. Accepting the Status Quo – Printing has been around for centuries, but technology has changed the landscape of visual communications and the best printing companies have adapted to meet these new demands. From modern equipment to specialized services like variable data, digital printing, and web-to-print, these innovations can save you time and costs without sacrificing quality.
  5. Treating Your Printer like a Vendor, Not a Partner – Your printer has a vested interest in your success. Therefore, share as much about your business, customers and marketing objectives as you can so they can provide you with solutions that best address your needs.
  6. Waiting Until the Last Minute – Rush projects are the norm for many businesses, but mistakes are most common when under the stress of tight deadlines. When you have an established relationship with a printer, they know your business and are more likely to catch typos and other mistakes that may slip through when you need a job delivered tomorrow. Also, giving a printer adequate time to review artwork, print and complete a job ensures quality checks are made throughout the process.
  7. Not Investing in Properly-Prepared Files – I’m sure you’ve heard, “Garbage in; Garbage out.” Your print files are crucial to the end product, so don’t be afraid to ask your printer for help. Most printers have skilled designers and pre-press operators on staff who know how to create a print-ready file at a fraction of the cost you would pay a freelance designer or advertising agency to do the same thing (and many of those people don’t know how to prepare a file for printing). And while I’m on this topic, don’t be pennywise when it comes to high resolution images. Most pictures downloaded for free off the internet are lo res (72 DPI) and too small for print reproduction.
As with any business partner, finding the right “fit” is crucial to a long-term relationship. It starts with a collaborative mindset rather than a customer/vendor approach. Take the time to understand what you value in a partner and apply that to your printer. Like so many other businesses that have chosen to partner with AlphaGraphics in Lake Mary, Florida, you’ll be very happy with the results!

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