How to choose the best cheap printing company
To find the best cheap printing company you first need to ask a number of questions:-
1. What is your deadline?
You are much more likely to get the best job and price if you allow enough time. If you want to minimise costs and ensure good quality you should allow at least 2 weeks for even the simplest jobs.
2. Do you have a marketing strategy?
It can be tempting to run-off some leaflets and distribute them at random and hope for the best. However you are more likely to get a return on your spend if it is part of a well considered marketing strategy. The 4 P's of marketing strategy are product, price, promotion and place. Assuming you have a settled product, price and distribution method (place), how will your printed items fit into your promotion plans? What is your target audience? How will this print job complement the rest of your advertising? Is there a cheaper more effective method than printing? For example could you use online advertising such as social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc), Google Adwords or an email campaign?
3. Have you completed the design and wording of your print?
Do you already have a well designed company logo? Are you sure that you know how to effectively communicate with your target audience or do you need a copywriter? If you are unsure about these questions you might need to employ a graphic designer and/or a copywriter. Alternatively you might to look to a marketing company to provide a one-stop solution covering everything (marketing, design, copywriting and printing). Many marketing companies offer special all inclusive deals for start-up companies. Unless you have a talent for marketing and design then this would be a wise investment.
Assuming you have resolved marketing, design and wording, how do you choose the best, cheap printing company? Answering a few more questions will help you make the right choice.
4. What quality do you require?
This should be consistent with your marketing strategy and your target audience. Are you marketing a high-end product? If so your print job will require quality paper/materials and perhaps offset printing. If you are selling high volume, cheap products then lower quality materials and printing will meet your requirements.
5. How will you approve the print before final printing?
Remember that the physical print may look different from computer version. This is especially true of colours. For the first print it would be wise to see a real-life proof before final printing.
6. Will you source online?
There are many online printing companies to choose from but finding a good local printing company could be the best solution. You can talk to your printer face to face and get advice. The process of approving and delivering your prints is greatly simplified. It may be worth paying a small premium for peace of mind. However do not be afraid to negotiate. Most small, local businesses are likely to offer a discount to ensure that your custom is not lost to a national company.
7. How much quantity discount can you get?
If you are confident that you have the basics right (marketing, design and copywriting) you will feel more confident about ordering a large quantity. You will feel that your print will be a successful part of your marketing mix and you will not have to resort to small volumes to test your market. Because of high set-up costs the printing industry offers very significant volume price reductions.
8. Can you see samples?
All reputable printing companies will allow you to see samples of their work. This is the only sure way to appreciate the quality they are offering.
9. Can you find recommended printing companies?
This is perhaps the most important point. Seek out testimonials. Use your local business club or chamber. Ask your customers and suppliers. Ask about service, turn around time, reliability, quality and how they deal with problems. Use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to ask your contacts and friends.
10. What about the extras?
Make sure you are comparing apples with apples. How much are delivery costs? Do you have to pay extra to meet your turn around requirements? How will the printing company react and charge if you want a small tweak once you've seen the proof? This is where a local printing company is likely to offer the best deal. Perhaps the most important extra is your time. You could save a little money by going to the cheapest supplier but then have to spend a couple of hours drawing up an exact specification. Whereas you could go to a local printing company and agree the specification, face to face, in a few minutes.
Going through these set of questions is likely to save you time and money but more importantly it will ensure that your print jobs give you the maximum return on your spend.