Are you paying the right price for your print?

by Darren | 11 February 2015

In this blog I thought I'd help you ask the right questions about your print job, work effectively with your print supplier and avoid any extra costs on your next print job.

Even today, the printed piece is still a major part of every organisation's marketing. You could even say it's making a comeback as inboxes are getting full of marketing email. Let's look at some of the common questions that you should ask when you're commissioning a print project.

My client might ask me something like "Is it possible to...?" I would normally say "yes". A better way to phrase the question is "Can you affordably produce for me ...?"

My client should ask me "What are the price breaks per quantity?" I would normally say "The first one is really expensive but after that it gets much cheaper!"

The next question should be "I love that green but on this area I would like the green to be more yellow. Is that possible?" I would say "Unless you would like to pay extra and use a specially mixed Pantone ink that may not be possible."

Some of that is a bit tongue in cheek but there are a number of options. A four colour project on a six colour press will leave two units empty and you could always add two further colours but this will increase the price of the job.  It takes a great deal of understanding between customer and print supplier to come up with a solution that is effective and within budget, as there are many processes and scenarios to consider.

Litho vs digital printing
A large quantity printed may need to be litho printed which requires plates to be made. Each plate is for one of the four process colours; cyan, magenta, yellow and black. A four colour project on a six colour press will leave two units empty and you are able to add two further colours but this will increase the cost of the job as there's an extra cost to produce the plates, with additional ink costs.

If you want a project that has a smaller quantity and will fit on a digital press, there are no plates to produce, a four colour job is as inexpensive as a single colour litho job. Inks aren't used in the digital process, so there is no additional charge. You may be surprised as the end result may even help you to stand out from the crowd.

Price breaks
The majority of costs are incurred getting the litho presses ready to print (also known as make ready). Once a press has started and is ready to run, almost three quarters of your budget has already been spent. Litho presses run quickly. Once a press is running, printing an extra 1,000 sheets is almost paper cost only. It is the first sheet that is expensive. 

In a recent job, the cost of 500 sheets was nearly the same cost as 1,000 sheets. OK it's a small run, but you get the idea.

If colour really is critical, consider using specially mixed Pantone inks. You get the exact colour you want without comprise but it will cost more. 

You must to bring your print manager or designer to your initial project meetings. You will learn about inks, colours, paper stocks, size and weights.

After all you don't need to know all of the industry specifics; you just need a print manager or designer who does. If you have any questions or need any help contact me here.