Ever wonder why certain projects cost more than others to print? For example, why do 250 business cards cost more than flyers? They are smaller, shouldn’t the price be lower? It all depends on where you are printing them, what the quality of paper is, and how they are designed. Using a local printer has its benefits, the two biggest being quality control and customer service. When you print local you are able to feel the paper, see and touch a proof, check colors – colors do not always match what you see on screen, the same file will print differently on different printers and different paper, often the turnaround is just a few days, and you are supporting a fellow small business. The downside to printing locally is that the cost is usually higher because they are not bulk printing and cutting their jobs. For example business cards, are generally printed multiple on a page depending on how the card is designed. A large web-based printer can bulk many jobs together and trim them all at the same time which saves money. A local shop may only have a few business card projects a day and therefor your order may be the only one to share the cost of the time it takes to trim the cards.
The large web-based printer doesn’t have the same quality control and customer services. I once tried to print return address labels during the holidays from a certain online printer that was running a deal. I was shipped the wrong labels three times. Each time I had to call to have the problem corrected taking time out of my day and time away from my kids. I was put on hold, hung up on, and ended up hand-writing the return addresses anyways because it stopped being worth my time. I ended up spending more time on the phone than I would have if I just wrote them myself in the first place! This would have never had happened if I had just printed locally at the higher cost – although it is important to remember that local printers only have so many services that are in-house. Some design elements such as foil-stamping would be outsourced.
So while the benefits to using a local printer generally outweigh the cost, sometimes the budget just isn’t there. If you have the time, shopping your job around gives you the opportunity to get a better price per card on your preferred paper stock. A good designer can take into consideration your budget, timeframe, and end goal and design your project to maximize each.
More thoughts on Business Cards…
I personally prefer to print business cards on #100 uncoated stock which is a bit heaver and more “luxe” feeling than the standard #80 stock. I also believe a 2-sided full-bleed (color to the edge of the card on both sides) is worth the extra cost because it is eye catching and memorable. Your business card is like a handshake that your potential client takes with them. A well-designed card gives the impression that quality is important to you. Do you want to leave them with a flimsy generic card or with something they want to hang on to that truly represents you?