10 Ways to Stretch Your Printing Budget

1. Use the Internet- Call a few local printers for estimates and then look on the Internet for the best deals. Usually the best areas to purchase printing from are the less developed states where industrial space and labor are less expensive. Printing in states like Pennsylvania, Southern States, and the Mid Western States can save you up to 50%. Once you have found a printer give them a small job to test their services. Chances are if you found them on the Internet they are not close and you can't just stop by to check them out.

2. Plan Ahead - I know in today's market this is often difficult but a little extra time can save big money. Printers will charge between 25% and 100% on rush charges. Shipping charges for ground instead of overnight can save tremendous amounts of money. I have witnessed print jobs where the shipping costs exceeded the printing costs. If the printer is far away then give him the time to ship your job the most economical way possible.

3. Talk To Your Printer - Some printers specialize in certain paper stocks, sizes, and colors. Ask them these questions and you may be able to save money. I deal with a printer that runs two different paper stocks, four-color process, only. I save up to 50% if I give him a four-color process print job to print on his house sheet. Other printers may specialize in envelopes or long print runs.

4. Ask About Their Equipment - Do they have their own bindery or do they send it out? If they send out that tells you the turnaround may take longer. What types and sizes are their printing presses? Printing a one or two color print job on a large four color press will typically cost you more then if you find a small shop with an older, smaller press.

5. Use Industry Standard Software Programs - Many printers will only accept certain formats. If your materials are not the correct format then they will need to be redone. Find out in advance before you create your project.

6. Know Your Specifications - One of the fastest ways to waste money is changing specifications after the designs are done. It may sound like nothing to you, but telling a designer to change the number of colors or the size of the job will take time and typically you are paying for it.

7. Run All Your Printing Together - If you have multiple similar print jobs run them at the same time. Inform the printer that you are giving him all the jobs at one time and tell him to run them together to save cost.  Although he would run them together anyway he may not give you the discount unless you ask.

8. Die Cuts - Stay away from complicated die cuts. They are very expensive and add extra turnaround time to your project. Instead of an expensive die cut consider a standard that the printer has already. Many printers have standard die cut templates they will give you, just ask.

9. Varnish - Varnishes can set your collateral apart from the competition and many printers charge little or nothing extra. Dull or gloss varnish make your materials stand out. A creative approach is to use spot varnish. Spot varnish is defined as varnish applied to a specific area only. A combination of both gloss and dull spot varnish will give a very rich appearance without breaking the bank.

10. Paper Stock - Paper can get very expensive if you are not careful. Determine your needs and ask your printer for paper samples. A number one sheet of paper is much more expensive then a number two or three. Ask to see a sample of the house sheet. Many printers will buy number two or good number three sheets in bulk and pass the savings on to you.

I hope these tips will help your budget go farther and make your job a little easier. Good luck with your next print experience.

Article written by Scott Pfaff - General Manager of Art And Design Unlimited, Inc. and first posted at http://www.artanddesign.com Any reproduction of this article needs to have an html link pointing to http://www.artanddesign.com

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