Way back in the mid-1970s there was a prediction of the paperless office. Computers were starting to appear more commonly in the workplace and it seemed only natural that paper would eventually disappear. However, this never really came to pass.
Although the print industry is in some decline with newspapers and magazines moving to online versions, printed products are still very much needed. You can see examples of print everywhere you look, from packaging, to hang tags on clothing, to Point-of-Sales stands and kiosks.
If you have a small business it is likely that at some point you will need a printer and as in any industry, you will want to separate the good from the bad. Here are some things you should look for when selecting a printer.
You want to hire a reputable, professional company offering solid printing services. If you were hiring a company to fix your roof you could ask for recommendations from neighbors but it might be a little harder with printers. If you have a relative or friend with a business who has used printing services in the past then by all means consult them, otherwise, you may have to look online.
Check online reviews and websites
Google reviews are a handy and easy way to read about previous customers’ experiences. You will know that sometimes there are fake or malicious reviews posted online. Through reading a good selection of posts you should be able to get a picture of what the company is like to work with.
Next visit their website. Ideally, there will be some testimonials there and also a good-looking portfolio. Ideally, there will be a gallery where you can see some of their previous work and a list of clients. You will also want to see the services they offer and contact details and location.
Visit the print shop
If it is possible then try and visit the printers themselves. This way you can have a face-to-face with a representative and receive advice in real-time. By physically visiting their location you can see how the company operates and also look at samples and discuss pricing.
Check their previous work
Whether you visit the printers in person or online you will still need to check the quality of their work. When in the print shop you will be able to see work being carried out live and no doubt any representative who is there will be only too happy to show you their previous work. If you are unable to visit then contact the printers and ask to be sent a few samples. These will normally be business cards, brochures, and pamphlets. You will be able to see the print quality and also different paper and card used.
Getting quotes and discussing pricing
Before you choose which printing company to go with you will have to get quotes. Narrow down your selections through the services offered and their reviews and then start to compare pricing. If you are asking for quotations then you will need to make sure the printers are giving your prices for the exact same services.
If you are planning on regularly using the same print service then you may want to discuss contracts. By promising a regular amount of work going through the print-shop you can gain preferential pricing and become a valued customer.
There are many print services that operate online only. This would involve you uploading the artwork in a format and size requested by the printers. After the printing has finished you would be sent the product usually by couriers such as DHL or FedEx. The process is usually quick and a good company will offer support and talk you through the upload process.
The negatives of using these sorts of companies are that it can be difficult to ever see any printed samples or talk face-to-face with an employee. The advantages are that the pricing is transparent and on the website, the printing is usually expediated and you can check reviews online easily.
Ask about turnaround times
Make sure that any deadline you have is able to be met by the printer. To this end, you may want to ask about the printing equipment they use too. Assuming you are using a traditional print-shop that you can actually visit you can ask what presses they use. Of course, it helps if you have a little print knowledge yourself but ask how fast they can turn over print orders. If you are planning on repeat business it will be good to know they can handle last-minute orders coming in with short deadlines.
Customer service is the key
As a company owner, you will already grasp how important customer service is. Bad or good service can make a buyer spending money repeatedly with you or walking away, never to return.
Any printed work you have done for your company needs to reflect your qualifications. Shoddy workmanship will make you look unprofessional. However, mistakes do happen and sometimes things go wrong. The key here is how quickly and easily these mistakes get rectified. You will want to pick a company that has a good customer service team that is easy to contact and swift to help. This is especially significant if you choose to use an online print company.
Check if the print company is eco-friendly
If your company has a social responsibility drive then you need to know your suppliers are on the same page. You could sully your own reputation by using a company that is pumping out chemicals into the environment. Ask about the products they use such as ink and others. For further advice try Supply Link USA. If you can, try and print on recycled materials too. More and more consumers make considered purchases and will choose eco-friendly options over others.
Using the above steps cannot guarantee the best printer but it will certainly give you a good chance of selecting a company that has your interests at heart. Building a good face-to-face relationship, arranging a mutually beneficial contract, and knowing they produce high-quality print work should lead to a long working future together.