What do you look for in a printing company?
I own a printing company where we focus on the best price for the quality desired. We also have in house graphic designers to make sure that the design and the concept will produce a visually appealing final product. We are anxious to grow in size and I'm interested to know; when other business decision makers are seeking printed products, where do they go to find a reputable company? When you are looking for a printing company, what are you looking for?
Thanks in advance!
I look for relationship, reliability, flexibility, and timeliness to delivery - long before price. Cheapest price does not always mean business.
What are your core values, what is important to you to provide to your customers, etc...I ask this because, for example...as a consultant, coach - with tons of us out there, I could deliver on my core values and go inexpensive..but that is devaluing my work, and customers will see that - therefore it works against me - it certainly doesn't work for me. So, I have defined that I deliver significant results, and in turn, the customers I chose to work with have to see and invest in that value. And they do...though it does take a large number of potential clients out of the game.
What is your choice?
That is an interesting question. What I look for is the best price with acceptable quality and service. To a degree, printing is pretty much a commodity. My motivators are different than Joseph. I won't pay extra for quality but do expect a reasonable quality and reasonable level of service or I won't buy at all from that printer. Right now I use 4 different printers. Some of the things I look at would be is the type of printing I need done the type the printer specializes in. For example, I have one printer for my one color offset printing. He does 4 color work as well but my 4 color printers specialize in that and is my best source. I really just changed my main 4 color printer in the last year after using a different printer for 12 or more years. The decision was totally price. The new printer is about 20-25% cheaper and the quality and service are good,
We've been working with a number of printing companies for the past 5 years on this very topic. There's no doubt that it's tough world out there for printers. But I think there's a valid argument to be made that the current environment is as much the fault of the print industry itself as anyone else.
I would agree with Ray in that, for most people/companies, printing is seen as a commodity. As a result I think that focusing your message around price not only positions you as playing the same game as everyone else, but also continues the longer-term trend of restricting both growth and profit margin. There is *always* someone, somewhere, who's prepared to do the job for less, and playing the pricing game is one long downward spiral that has an inevitable conclusion.
Similarly, I don't think that print companies can continue to sell purely on quality, as for most customers quality is presumed. The only exceptions would be in specialist print fields such as packaging, grand-format, Hexachrome/Hi-Fi color, or lenticular.
The path that many printing companies have been taking over the past 5+ years has been transitioning their company from being a print services provider to a *marketing* services provider. Concretely, this means providing a range of more marketing-related services for their clients that may happen to involve print, but may not. Offering added-value services such as mailing fulfilment and logistics, web and digital marketing, campaign management, digital asset and/or brand asset management, 3D printing, etc. helps increase the size of the sales funnel as well as helping to promote differentiation. Looking at your website I can see that you've started along this path, but I think that the communication and messaging could be reworked to better convey potential customer benefits.
Every printing company is different and you have to make that your positioning strategy. Don't go for any customer, find a target market. You'll save on your advertising budget and have less competition. Price and quality are usually apposing factors. Be one or the other. You can't get a Ferrari at a Toyota price. I personally care about quality and customer service. I want it done right the first time and I'll pay extra for that. What do you direct competitors do and how can you differentiate yourself?
To answer your question directly, the main thing is the attention I get to my requirements, as well as good proofs and samples, if I get the impression that my query is being rushed or that they look for a quick closure to move on to the next client, I look for another company to commit seriously to my business requirements. I also value having contacts inside the company that I can phone/email personally to discuss my requirements and analyse possibilities, I don’t deal with faceless companies for anything important.
I hope this helps.
As a printer and designer myself, I know the main competition are places like Vista Print and the like. Most people want 'cheap'. The problem is 'cheap' docent mean good quality. I find a lot of times, clients will come to me complaining about places like the aforementioned lamenting about good design and high print quality. When they learn the old you get what you pay for adage is true, they usually are fine in spending a bit more for professional grade product.
That being said, I find most people I talk to have little to no knowledge of what good printing quality is and assume getting 1000 business cards for 5$ is a great deal. Its our job to prove to people who valuable good printing quality is to a company.
I always explain it in terms people can understand: The way you present your company represents every facet of your company. Even the business cards. Present your business card the same way you would yourself in an interview. As professional as possible. Do you want to show up looking like a cheap used car salesmen? Or a Polished CEO?
A good company knows the investment in design and print is worth it in the long run.
As an online printing company, we would expect that there are a few factors in the decision to choose a printer that makes you happy.
1) Experience & Flexibility
2) Unique & Quality Products
3) Fair Turnaround Times - Sometimes fast doesn't mean better. Some high-end products can take a couple weeks.
4) Someone you can talk to who knows what you need.
5) A company with a physical location. Those without a location have no idea about the process.
If you have these, you can be a great company. We started 13 years ago and it takes a lot of work to stay in the game.
I look the location as main preference and followed by timely delivery
I think printers fall down on growing their business when they start trying to sell things they are not set up for. I would say first off concentrate on your companies strengths if you are a B2 printer there is not much point if most of the work your going for is B1. Second point I believe is your staff you can have the best front of house team in the world but if you are let down in the factory with QC it's very unlikely the clients will come back. The other thing I find from printers is they spend all their time producing marketing material for other companies but very rarely have anything themselves. Also embrace the future use social media to advertise your services. I'm not saying this is right for everyone but this is what I see on a daily basis. Like others have said added value services are great but you need to to do them properly with skilled people.
Hope this helps.
I think that your focus on price and quality will cover what most small business owners are looking for. It is easy, as a print shop owner to get wrapped in what type of equipment you are using, compared to what your competitors are using. Most small business owners and managers don't really care about that, as long as it looks good, they are looking for the best price point. Another niche you might be able to tap into is printing odd items, such as offering envelopes.