Whether you are an individual, freelancer, small business owner, or a marketing/PR manager at a large organisation, choosing a reliable print company to help you with your printing needs has become a foremost challenge nowadays. There are countless commercial printing companies that claim to give you different packages, all at what seem like, very competitive rates. How do you tell them apart and choose the one company that’s right for you?
Choosing the right printing company may sound like a pretty basic task, but you will be surprised how easy it is to make a mistake. There are many options available, from local printers Cambridge to online printers based half way round the world in Singapore. Many people simply buy from who they already know, or go for the cheapest quote they get and hope for the best, but quality, service and green credentials are just as important as price. Here are a few important steps that will help you chose a reliable printing company.
Why Hire a Printing Company?
Let’s be clear on why you are planning to use the services of a printing company; what exactly do you need printing/constructing? See below some reasons I have suggested why you want a printing company:
- You want to promote your companies presences in the community and will other businesses
- You have an event/story/news that you want to connect out
- You want to seek new customers and business
Having some basic knowledge about the printing techniques makes it easy for you while deciding on a printing company. No idea? Don’t panic, here’s brief overview: there are two major types of printing techniques – offset printing and digital printing. Offset printing expertise, is the use of plates which are used to transfer an image from a plate onto a rubber blanket, and then to a sheet of paper – ideal for bulk orders. Digital printing does what it says in the title, it is printing using large-format and/or high-volume laser or inkjet printers. However, digital printing has a higher cost per page than more traditional offset printing methods.
Go for a Visit
By going to visit their premises before committing to any type of contract, you have the chance to ask questions, see how they perform and how their system works in terms of efficiency. The quality and presentation of their premises will reflect the quality of work they produce. Remember you are testing to see if your account holder and you have a good rapport with one another, this will mean a friendly working relationship can blossom.
Check the Quality of Work
It’s always best practice to as to see samples of recent work from your short-listed printers that reflect the specification of your project so you can make an informed evaluation. Check if the finish is to the standard and quality you need – is there any smudging of the ink – or mis-spelt text? Are the images clear or blurred? It’s not always the case but sometimes low price can means low quality, because companies can use cheap ink and paper to be able to offer very low cost printing. Whether you go for an expensive company or a cheap one, just make sure you are happy with the quality of print you will be receiving and that it’s right for your business!
Investigate Customer Service
It is more than likely that you will be assigned an account manager – you want them to be honest, trustworthy. Ideally you should look for a printer who can manage your project in its entirety, from print, personalisation, binding, storage and delivery. It is far more cost-effective and efficient if the same company can handle it at every step.
Google around – search on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and most importantly their website! How long have they been established? What do their customers say? What companies have they worked for? What examples of their work do they provide? It’s worth doing as much research as you can up front, before you exchange any money or signatures.
Now this may be more important to some rather than others, however if you use a printer who does not manage its carbon footprint then this could reflect badly on your business. Look for a printer who is committed to taking care of the environment, they are aiming to prevention of pollution, and are using as many natural resources as possible. You could always look to see if they have FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC accreditations, or they may even offer recycled paper and environmentally-friendly inks!
Be Loyal to your Print Provider!
Once you have found a good printer offering a quality, value for money product and excellent customer service then stay loyal! Good working relationships with your printer will potentially enable you to get better service such as discounts, faster turnaround and personal delivery – you really will reap the benefits!