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A Guide to Choose the Right Printing Company

If you do not know how to choose a printing company, you may end up expending extra cost and effort on your print requirements. To avoid this, here is a guide to choose the right printing company for your business requirements.
How to choose the right printing company
Quick Tip
Hire a printing company that is environment-conscious and adopts green ways of printing.
A business has several printing requirements like calendars, business cards, brochures, letter heads, leaflets, marketing material, annual reports, etc. Finding the right printing company can be difficult, given the fact that hiring a wrong one can cost you time, effort, and money. Hence, opt for a company who recommends efficient and effective printing techniques and provides quick solutions that will enhance the quality of your print order.

If you need a customized solution, like printing some marketing material for a conference, your printing company should be able to proactively cater to this demand. Though, you will be sending ready-to-print files to the printing company, it is always beneficial to have a designer at the print end who can carry out minor rectifications if any. Many printers do not have a designer, and wait till you resend the rectified file. This can delay the job.

Online vs. Local Company
You can either go for an online printer or avail the services of a local company. Online printers will be cost-effective as they require you to just upload the file. However, they may charge more if you also outsource the delivery to them. They may also offer special proofing tools.

On the other hand, hiring a local company gives you the benefit of visiting the printing facility to check the proofs. The turnaround time is also low in case of local companies.

I would strongly recommend a local printing company over an online one if you want to avoid 'unpleasant' surprises, like change in text, opacity of colors, wrong paper size and texture, etc., after your printed items are delivered.

Cost Comparison
This is one business where cheap does not necessarily mean good quality. Hence, don't hire an agency which offers printing solutions and services at a relatively throw away price. You may end up compromising on the quality of the intended print job.

It is advisable that you compare price quotes from three or more vendors before you zero in on one. Remember that this is a highly competitive field, and you may reap the benefits of cost comparison.

Also, compare costs of printing, sourcing papers with different basis weight or gsm, delivery, pre-flighting, binding, etc. Know which overhead is going to be treated as an add-on, and which will be included in the price.

Know what is the cut off for minimum quantity of prints of various items. Many printers offer a discount if you have a bulk order of a certain item. Hence, always get an estimate for varying quantities.

Online Reviews
Go through online reviews about printing vendors and services on various websites like Yelp, Printaholic, etc. While not all reviews are accurate, you will be able to gauge what most customers have to say about them.

Visit the BBB ( Better Business Bureau) website to check if a particular company or vendor is enlisted on its site. You will also be able to check out its grade and read complaints, if any, against it.

Visit the company's social media page to see how their officials interact and engage with followers. This will also tell you what the followers have to say about the company's service.

You should also visit its website to check out customer testimonials and case studies in order to know more about the company's policy towards clients and business in general.

Recommendations
One of the most reliable methods to choose the right printing service or company is to ask for recommendations from your friends, family, and colleagues who may previously carried out some printing work. This will give you a few names from where you can start your search.

This will enable you to get a first hand account of the strengths and weaknesses of the printing company. While the company may offer an excellent print quality, its turn around time may be extremely long.

It is difficult to know about such things regarding a printing company unless one consults or interacts with other clients of that company. In most cases, you will end up hiring the right company or agency if you rely on the recommendations and referrals of others.

Services
One of the key indicators of a good printing company is that it offers a plethora of printing and allied services under one roof. Hence, it is important that you check out the services offered by competing printing companies on the basis of quality, cost-effectiveness, and turnaround time.

Ideally, it should offer services like printing, cutting, binding, spiral binding, various finishes like UV coating, matte lamination, etc. It should not only offer printing solutions for papers of different basis weight, but also for other materials like canvas, plastic, steel, etc. It should also be able to process different types of file formats for printing.

Inquire if the agency provides printing solutions for business cards, bookmarks, etc., which are cut in odd shapes and sizes. Also, ensure that the company undertakes small designing and customization work for your print material in future.

There are many companies who will utilize multichannel distribution for printing, especially if your order involves flyers, direct mails, posters, or door hangers. Also, many will offer free delivery service for your print material if you have a bulk order or are a regular customer, so inquire with them.

Print and Material Quality
If your brochure's cover page is attractively printed but the print is skewed in the inside pages, and the color does not show, imagine what kind of an impression will it make on your customers.

Hence, it becomes essential that you hire a printing agency which offers quality printing and material. To avoid attracting embarrassment and a huge re-print cost, always ask for samples and do not give a go ahead for bulk printing until you are satisfied with the output.

Also, try to print samples on various types of papers to understand what will suit you best. Most importantly, ensure that you and the printer proofreads the print material before it goes for bulk printing.

Hire a printer who will not do a substandard printing job, and will bear the cost of a reprint if there is any problem with the printing or material quality.

Visit the Facility
It is important that you visit the printing facility to ensure that it follows industry-standard printing practices and processes.

You must ensure that it has updated machinery and software programs that will cater to all your printing requirements. Meet the owner and check if he/she is abreast with the latest trends in the printing industry. Look at the resourcefulness, market knowledge, professionalism and discipline he/she displays.

When it comes to printing of your company's pay slips, checks or annual reports, certain protocol needs to be followed. A visit to the facility will also tell you how the printing company plans to maintain the secrecy of the printing.

Take a walk around the facility, meet the employees, take a look at the samples of printing, and ensure that the company is capable of supporting your every printing need.

Reliability
Just imagine, you place an order to print annual reports and want the reports to be delivered before a certain date. However, the print company delays the delivery and the annual reports do not reach the shareholders before the AGM.

Not only will this create huge problems for the AGM, but it will also affect the reputation of your company. Hence, it is advisable that you give a few lesser important print jobs to the printing company and verify their turnaround time before you entrust them with work that requires a deadline.

You must ensure that the print company is reliable enough and has a good standard turnaround time. Also, the delivery needs to be time-bound, organized and well-managed.

Ensure that the printing company employs the latest printing technology to print and deliver your items. Hire a company that promises to deliver flawless and high quality print on time. Now that you know how to choose the right printing company, choose one which offers customized solutions for your evolving business requirements. Most importantly, select a printing company that will be a full-service supplier and will adapt easily according to your business needs.
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Published: January 20, 2014
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