Custom Printing: Do's and Don'ts

So here we are talking about custom printing again.  I'm starting a new series called Do's and Don'ts and my hope is that the questions and topics in this series will help you to understand the print world a little better and make it easier for you the next time you need a piece custom printed.

Today's topic is a "Do."

DO:  Order in standard quantities

Ordering in standard quantities will save you money.  Printers tend to run jobs in batches.  Monday may be envelope and business card day, Tuesday may be full color day, etc.   Most, if not all, printers adhere to the following standard quantities - 500, 1000, 2500, 5000, 10000.  Why are these the standards?  Because they are the most commonly ordered quantities and the most cost-efficient to run.   Does that mean that you can't get something printed in other quantities - 1500 for instance?  Not at all.  Read on................

 Every print job has a set up cost associated with it.  Your printer may or may not itemize the set up cost on your invoice - they may just give you one sell price.  That's what we usually do.  Because, let's face it - do you really want to see every tiny cost itemized?  I didn't think so.  You just want to know how much it's going to cost to get your flyers printed.  But the set up cost still exists and if you order in standard quantity, your job can be combined with other  jobs that have the same specifications in what is called a "gang run."  What that does is spread the set up cost over all of the jobs being run at that time on that press and that lowers your price.  

 If you order an odd quantity, say, 350, or a really small quantity, like 50, 100 or  200, one of two things is going to happen - 1) your unit price is going to be significantly higher because the printer is going to set up the press separately just for your job and your job is going to absorb the entire set up fee or 2) the printer is going to run your job on a 500 (read: standard quantity) run, give you the 350 you ordered and toss the remaining 150.  Wouldn't you rather get everything you paid for?  

Wait....there's actually a third option.  The printer may refuse to run a small job or an odd quantity.  Here at Office Express, our answer is "Yes!"  We'll run your small quantity, but because we believe in being advocates for our customers, we will make suggestions and provide you with information to help you understand and to help you get the most out of your money.  And if you really only want 75 or  100, we'll do it.

Ordering in standard quantities also saves you time.  Odd quantities that are truly run as odd quantities will take longer to get done because the printer is going to run the gangs first to knock out as many jobs as possible and maximize the use of the press.  Your odd job will be done later.

Is this the only factor that affects your job price?  Of course not.  But it is a big one.  We'll discuss other do's and don'ts along our journey.  Until next time - have a wonderful day!