Choosing the right printing company may sound simple, but you will be surprised how easy it is to make a mistake. There are many options available, from local printers to online printers based halfway around the world.
Many people simply buy from who they already know or go for the cheapest quote they get and hope for the best, but quality, service, green credentials and reliability are just as important as price.
- Check the quality of work. The appearance and professionalism of your printed documents have an impact on customers. They are a representation of your company, so it pays to get it right. Ask to see samples of work the printer has done before. Is it of the right standard and quality that you want for your own products? It may seem better in the short term to go for the cheapest option, but this can prove a false economy if the products printed are not up to standard and this may reflect badly on your business.
- Check ‘green credentials’. More than half the trees chopped down in the world are used for paper. Before choosing a printer, make sure you know what their carbon footprint is and that they have FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forests) certification. Unfortunately, some printers promote their products as “FSC approved” without a valid ‘Chain of Custody’. If you want to be sure asked to see their Chain of Custody Certificate. For more information visit www.fsc.org and www.pefc.co.uk
- Check their green printing policy. If your customers care about the environment, they need to know that you care as well. The International standard ISO 14001 is only awarded to those companies who reach specified requirements for an effective environmental management system. Make sure you chose a printer who is certified and doing it’s very best for the environment, not just paying lip service or talking about it. Remember that your business will also boost its green credentials if you are using a proven eco-friendly printer.
- Check out their premises. Your print job is important, so it’s worth visiting the printer yourself to check out how they perform. Ask to be shown around the factory; don’t be afraid to ask questions, talk to the staff, see samples of the work they are doing and generally get a feel for how they operate.
- Check the level of service you will get. The best printers can look after all your needs under one roof. It is far more cost-effective and efficient to have all your design, print, personalisation, mailing, finishing and distribution done under one roof if you can. Finding out how your account will be managed is very important – you need to be able to trust your printer and your account handler and know that you are in safe hands.
- Check for a good reputation. Ask for testimonials, recommendations and examples of other work. Look at their client list and ask how long they have been working for their top ten clients.
Generally, do as much research as you can – it may seem time costly but it will be worthwhile in the long term. About the author
This article was written by David Richards, Group Sales Manager at Wirral-based LT Print Group.