Pricing up a printing job
Are you asking the right questions?
Times are tough, and the marketing budget of most businesses is shrinking. This is especially true for small and medium size businesses, so it is important to understand some basics of the printing industry.
First of all, there’s a variety of different ways to produce printing: lithographic, screen printing, digital printing and embossing just to mention a few. Each of these systems will have different pricing structures and peculiarities, and will be most suited to different projects. Let’s have a look at the most important ones and cover some basics:
Is what most people understand as commercial printing. The key factor to consider here is quantity. Although litho printing can be done from 250 and upwards, there’s always a high set up cost, so smaller quantities will bear a higher cost per printed item. Things become much more economic from 1000.
Also important to remember is that most commercial printers will prefer to produce in set quantities (batches). For example, you can have batches of 500 up to 2000, then batches of 1000 upwards, or sometimes even batches of 5000. This is because a good quality litho press can produce thousands of sheets per minute, and the economies of scale will bring the price down on large quantities. From the printers’ point of view, it is a lot easier to manage set quantities rather than having to ‘break’ a print run at, let’s say, 3750 flyers/leaflets.
In recent years, digital printing has become faster, cheaper and with better quality. It is, essentially, very similar to printing on a desktop colour laser printer, but with better production capacity and overall quality. The main characteristic of digital printing is the low initial set up cost and less economy of scale on larger quantities. This allows for digital jobs to be very competitive on quantities up to 500 or 1000, but after that is probably cheaper to go litho. Digital printing also enables certain features like variable data and a larger variety of papers, but with certain limitations in format and finishing.
What to ask
When requesting a price for a printing job, whether litographic, digital or anything else, the essential things to think about are:
- Quantity – how many do you need? This will help not only to get the price right, but also to choose which is the best type of printing to use.
- Format – what is the finished size? Sticking to standard sizes (A4, A5, A6, DL, etc.) will always be more economical. Conversely, custom sizes can get your printing noticed and increase the response rate of you marketing.
- Colours – how many colours? The price difference between a black only and a full colour job is generally very small, and the full colour printing will always get a better response. On digital printing there are saving to be made when printing black only, so this information is very important.
- Finishing – do you need folding or binding? It is important to think the project as a whole, how it is going to be distributed/delivered. Finishing can add significant cost to the project, so it is essential to get it right from the beginning.
So, next time you are looking to get a price for printing, don’t forget to provide all this information! We hope this post have helped, if you are looking for high quality printing and very competitive prices, check our printing website.
July 31, 2014 Design Talk