Committing to a large print order with a new printer can be a stressful and financially costly process, but it doesn’t have to be! Working with a reliable printer can facilitate the process in a smooth, stress-free and affordable way. To ensure that you are working with a printer that’s dependable and right for you, it’s important to do your research before signing on any dotted lines (and consider that a contracted job might not even be in your best interest). Knowing and analyzing your options is crucial. Here, we’ll give you some insight into the things you should take into consideration when making your decision.
If you’re in the market for a reliable printer, there are certain questions to ask and answers to determine: What are the competitive advantages of working with different printing companies? Are there any unforeseen fees that you should be made aware of? What sort of reputation has this company built for itself?
But before you get into any of that, you have to actually find printers to compare and research…
Find Printers to Compare
If you’ve ever been in the checkout line at a store, you’ve more than likely been exposed to a wide range of printers without even realizing it, simply through exposure to the magazines lining the shelves just inches away. One of the best ways to find a quality printer is to collect local magazines and print publications that are up to your quality standards. You can simply use the contact information inside to reach out to the publishers and ask for their printing source. However, it’s important to be careful. If they are competitors of your own publication, you aren’t likely to get much compliance with your request. Other sources for printing company names can be found on social media sites like Twitter, by tweeting for printer suggestions, or through broad Google search terms like “commercial printer” or “magazine printer” or more local searches like “magazine printer in Texas,” “magazine printer in Oklahoma,” etc.
Do Your Research
Once you’ve got a printing company or two in mind, there are some important things to think about…
The History of the Company
Experience often translates into an excellent product, so finding out how long they’ve been in business is a great way to figure out what you can expect in terms of quality.
Potential Benefits, Knowledge and Resources
Some printers evolve from publishing companies or magazines themselves, and tend to have a deeper sense of the fine details that might be important to you. They might even offer resources on ways to improve your publishing skills.
Find out what current and former clients have to say about their services through reviews on Google+, Yelp, etc. Looking for recurring complaints and rave reviews is a well-informed way to establish an impression of the company and get a good sense of their reputation. However, when reading reviews, it is important to keep in mind that people tend to complain when unhappy and are much more likely to publicly express their frustration than their glee.
Another thing to consider when on your quest to find the best printer is the type of press (heat-set we press, sheet-fed, digital press) and accompanying equipment and how current it is. Printing technology has improved not only speed (turnaround time) but also quality, so be sure to look into the printing service machines being used to ensure they align with your goals and objectives.
Read the Fine Print
As the old adage says, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. It’s important not to be captivated by low numbers alone. It’s essential to read the fine print and ensure that the printer operates with no hidden fees or overages, as many companies will charge you up to 3% to 10% in overages without making this charge clear up front. Before giving the green light on a print job, be sure you know all the associated costs. If you decide to go with a contract, be weary of entering into an agreement with a company who is pushing for you to sign without offering low-rate incentives. A contract means commitment from you, and should result in more affordable services in return.
Consider Non-Local Printers
Often, people turn up their noses at the thought of an online or non-local printer, but by disqualifying options based solely on their geographical (or digital) location, you could miss out on your best opportunities. Working with your printer from a distance can be just as effective as working with them face-to-face, but the key to this relationship will be accessibility. After all, although the aforementioned specifications are essential pieces to solving the puzzle of finding the printer that fits your needs, none are as important as quality customer service. Creative jobs like printing require frequent interpersonal interaction to achieve satisfying results, so choosing a printing company with a live customer service representative designated to your account is a wise decision. Not only does this frequent and effective form of communication speed up the entire process, but it also allows less room for error.
Since non-local printers aren’t in the nearby vicinity, you’ll want to get your hands on some examples of their work to make a decision. Most companies will offer to send sample packages, which you should absolutely accept and look over for quality measures. Generally, these packages will be shipped at the expense of the company, but if this isn’t true for your pick, be prepared to foot the bill (and consider looking at other options, as you should want to work with a company that is confident enough in its work that it will back its promotional shipping costs).
Look at Competitive Advantages
Before sealing the deal and making a final decision on a printer, go the extra mile, research the company’s competitive advantages, and have a few questions answered: Do they offer free online magazine publishing? One-on-one account representatives? On-time guarantees? Multiple-publication discounts? What is the quality of paper they print on? How quick is the turnaround time? Are they offering additional, more high-tech benefits like custom mobile websites and augmented reality options?
No matter what these advantages are, they are important to consider because if you choose this printer, they will become your advantages, too. Good luck and reach out to us if we can help you further!