How to Choose a Professional Printer

by Rich on May 22, 2009

You can do a surprising amount of professional-level printing on a home printer.  But if you’re doing a large print run for a mass mailing of brochures or postcards, a large number of CD inserts, or some other large job, you may need to look into the services of a professional printing company.  Here’s how to choose the right company to handle your big print job.

Capabilities that meet your needs. Can the printing company work with the type of graphics files you have? Do they have the capability to perform your print job within your time frame? Do they offer print-on-demand services, web-to-print capabilities, an in-house bindery or die-cutting services?  Talk to the company staff to be sure the company can handle all your printing needs in-house.

A printing company that does more. Many printing companies don’t just print. They may also offer graphic design service, mailing fulfillment, mailing lists, and more. Check with your printing company to see what added services they offer that would be useful for your project. In some cases, it can cost less to use a full-service printing company than to hire separate vendors for mailing, graphics, and other tasks.

Samples that look good. Bear in mind that some printing companies specialise in a specific type of printing. Before hiring any printing company, ask to see some samples of the type of work you’d be looking to print-not just generic samples of any print job.  If their brochures, mailers, flyers, postcards or other marketing materials look good, it’s a good sign for your pending project.

Satisfied customers. Does the company have a list of satisfied customers who can give you recommendations? Before hiring a printing company, ask for a list of professional references and give them a call.  Ask about the company’s level of service, printing costs, ability to meet the client’s budget and quality of extra services.   If there were any problems with the print run, ask how the company handled it. If the printing company can’t or won’t give references, it may not be the best company to go with.

Knowledgeable and helpful staff. The staff at your printing company should be able to discuss your printing job from a professional standpoint and advise you of any ways to make your printing project better. In addition, the staff should have your best interests at heart-including letting you know when making a small adjustment, such as using matte instead of glossy paper or printing in three instead of four colours, could save you significant money on your print run.

The ability to meet your deadlines. How fast is their turnaround? Some printing companies can offer a range of full-service options, but they can’t make your deadline-often because they have too many clients and not enough equipment to handle everything in a timely manner. Check beforehand to make sure your printing company can get your documents to you before your deadline.

Green printing. If your company is environmentally conscious, it makes sense to look for the same values in the vendors you use.  Printing companies can be environmentally friendly in many ways, including using recycled paper products and making a commitment to conserve energy or use renewable energy resources. However, most printing companies go green by offering soy-based printing.

Some printing companies use soy-based inks exclusively, and some offer the option. These are more environmentally friendly than traditional inks, which emit volatile organic chemicals (VOC’s). These chemicals are known to contribute to global warming and are believed to play a factor in certain health conditions. Soy-based inks tend to be more expensive by weight, but their colour is more intense than that of traditional inks as well-so you need less ink overall than you would with traditional inks.  If you care about environmental factors or are making an effort to run a green company, it’s definitely a good idea to discuss using soy-based inks with your printer.

Not every printing company is created equally.  Check with the company you’re considering to get a sense of their capabilities, knowledge and extra services.  Always check references to get an unbiased second opinion on the company’s customer service, level of professionalism and skill. With the right preparation, you should have no problem finding the printing company that’s right for you.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Printers Northampton May 27, 2010 at 9:00 am

Choosing a printer that you can trust is really important. If you don’t trust them to do their job, then, chances are, you’re not going to be satisfied with their output.

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