As a start-up, you will almost certainly need to purchase print in one form or another. Whehter it is only 500 business cards or a full marketing package, it is essential that you find a print supplier who will be able to offer you the quality that you need at a price that you can afford.
1. Do they offer a good price?
Lets cover price first. Yes its important but dont be persuaded to buy your printing from the cheapest supplier you can find. Chances are its cheap for a reason, might be poor quality, poor service or it might not arrive as you expected.
The old adage buy cheap buy twice still applies.
How long have they been trading?
Do they guarantee their work?
If you found them on line - do they respond both by email and phone promptly?
If there is a problem, do you have a contact name who can help?
Are all costs included?
If you are able to check are they sensible financially?
2. What Printing Solutions do they offer?
Print is not an off-the-shelf product. Without getting into the technical side, it does still take craftsmanship to operate print presses but the people you deal with on the phone or by email are equally important.
Do they understand the item you are looking for?
Are they able to discuss it knowledgeably?
Can they help with either preparing artwork or checking any that you supply.
Are they keen to offer assistance and/or recommend solutions?
Each company has unique print requirements and it is important you chose a printer who is able to help with the majority of your printing requirements if not all. You dont want to end up with lots of different printers so you dont remember who did what. You want a printer that gets to know you and therefore is able to advise you on the best solution for you.
3. What Other Services do they provide?
Find out what else your printer can do.
Do they offer Free Storage and/or Free Delivery?
Do they offer a variety of print processes such as foiling, thermography etc and have full print facilities including digital and litho, i.e. can they cover any print work you may require now or in the future? Can they print items such as NCR, Continuous, General Stationery, Security Print, Marketing Material depending on your own requirements.
Do they offer account facilities subject to usual checks or is it always card with order?
In addition to artwork and typesetting do they offer design facilities?
4. How Quickly Can They Produce it?
Ask what the expected delivery time will be for your print work. Some printers offer cheap prices by batching different customers work together, this is not a good solution as colours can be affected and delivery can be delayed until they have enough work to print.
Similarly printers who offer unrealistic timescales should be treated with caution. Ink takes time to dry so if your printer is prepared to produce it too quickly quality might be effected or promises not kept.
Find out what is reasonable, a good printer will do their best to accommodate an emergency but be realistic in what you ask for.
5. Will they check you comply with Legislation?
For example on letterheads you must print your Company Registration No and Registered Address if you are a limited company. Whilst it is your responsibility a printer that draws this to your attention would certainly save you money in the long term rather than you having to get items reprinted if they are incorrect.
6. Look for guarantees
Find out if your printer stands by the work they produce.
Do they guarantee good quality?
If they make an error will they reprint Free of Charge?
A reputable printer will take the time to proof your job to you so you can check it prior to printing, if they spot anything strange they will also draw it to your attention. Whilst the onus is on you to ensure the proof is correct, a good printer will ask you to check proofs carefully and not print without your approval. If it should then get printed differently to what you approve they should be prepared to reprint it for you at no cost.
Do they have Testimonials of customers available for you to see or are they able to provide references?
People are happy to talk about good experiences they have had with their printers and printers understandably are keen to show them.
Most successful printers grow on the strength of repeat business so happy customers are key to that success.
8. Can they make your job easier?
The chances are that buying print is not the only thing you do. Once you have discussed your print requirements with various printers and have taken into account the above also consider the following:- Most print is required regularly either as before or amended, therefore a good relationship with your printer is important.
Too cheap printers may not be there the next time you need your printing or might put the price up and you dont want to have to go through the whole thing again.
Companies that insist on payment up front every time on line even though you have a great credit rating mean extra work. Companies that havent given you a point of contact might not know who you are next time when all you want to do is organise a reprint.
Were there any other services that the company offered that whilst you dont use at the moment might make your job easier in the future?
BDR PLC t/as Olympic Print and Design, Unit 2, 7 Fircroft Way, Edenbridge, Kent TN8 6ER. Tel: 0845 5212007. firstname.lastname@example.org www.olympicprint.com
Registered in England and Wales. Registered Address Olympic House, Unit 2 7 Fircroft Way, Edenbridge Kent TN8 6ER. Registered No 3270790
Olympic Print and Design