How to Avoid Hidden Costs When Buying Printing
There are helpful people and there are people waiting to take advantage of you in every business, no matter what you are doing; planning a vacation, redecorating a room, etc.. Here we will help you Avoid Hidden Costs When Buying Printing
If you have ever asked for a printing price, accepted the lowest bid and been shocked when the bill arrived, you know there are lots of places where hidden costs can crop up. Every printing job has to go through 3 stages: preparation, printing, and finishing, so let's examine them all and see where surprise hidden costs can "get you."
Preparation: Was this added to the cost of your job? Some printers won't include this price in your printing quote, just to hold the price down, so they can come in with the lowest bid and get your work. But you'll have to pay for it. If no one asks you if there are pictures, how they will get the job (on a disk, film, camera ready, etc.) . . . run, because when they do get your job, they can charge you anything they want.
Does your printer have a minimum charge for corrections? If he does, this is the minimum you will pay every time you make a change, no matter how small that change is (these charges will be added to your estimate and they add up faster than most people realize).
Another favorite tactic of the unscrupulous printer is not including a proof in the estimate. We insist that our clients see a proof before we print their job, so we automatically include it in the price of the job, but not every printer does, and for your own protection, you should always get a proof. A proof is your last chance to make sure your job will look the way you want it to look. If you don't see a proof and the job is wrong, it becomes your word against the printer's as to where the fault lies. If you have a proof, you can tell what went wrong. Color proofs cost more than blueprints, so make sure the proper proof is included in the price.
Printing: This is where you must make sure you are comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges; and even then you can still be fooled. Paper is the trickiest part to learn, and paper can make or break even a well-designed job. Some papers absorb more ink than others and can leave a job looking dull while others can help bring your job to life. Just as there is a large variety of papers available, they all have different costs. One printer can come in with a low estimate simply because the paper he based your estimate on costs less. Make sure all your estimates are based on the same paper, and then permit each printer to recommend and explain a substitute. There may be very little difference between the two papers other than cost or there may be a great deal of difference. Ask to see paper samples, and if possible, something printed on the recommended paper.
Finishing: Does your job get folded and/or die cut? Was it included in the price? Should your job need extra care such as hand folding, you should know about it before the job is printed, because it costs more to hand fold than machine fold. Maybe a different paper can be substituted to allow your job to be machine folded.
And what about shipping? We ship most local jobs for free, but many printers charge for shipping, and some even mark-up shipping. Ask if you will have to pay extra for shipping.
All good printers expect to do a little extra work. They realize their clients are not printers and may have left out a detail or two, but if you get a really low price, be cautious, there are a lot of places where extras can be added to your bill.
Once you receive your quote, make sure all the information you gave the printer is included in the quote in writing. That way no one can say you left out important details and add it to your bill after your budget has been set. And one last bit of advice, make sure your printer guarantees, in writing, you get what you order or he reprints your job free.
Don't let this happen to you
There is nothing as costly as having to throw away a finished job because someone didn't proofread it carefully. When proofreading something, don't just read it very carefully, spell every word you are reading. Let at least three people read it if possible. Different people catch different errors, and remember, it's the most obvious mistakes that are missed the most, so make sure names, addresses, and phone numbers are correct.