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Buying Print? - Why prices vary

Discussion in 'Printing & Print Design Forum:' started by Stationery Direct, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    There are many reasons why printer A may be cheaper than printer B, it's not neccessarily that printer B is just making more profit which some people tend to think, it can be as a result of many things, such as...

    1) Printer A specialises in this particular product, finish or printing method.

    2) The quote is not like for like as the method of production is different (digital v litho).

    3) The quote is not like for like as the printing method is different (digital v cmyk v spot colours).

    4) The quote is not like for like as the quality/weight/finish of the stock is not on a par.

    5) Printer A may have less overheads to Printer B. As a result it could be that printer A has a 15 year old press that produces rubbish and Printer B has invested heavily in top of the range kit.

    6) The product in question is a loss leader to draw customers in, who's going to compete with a price where there is no profit!

    7) The printer/reseller may be sourcing the product from overseas (namely Eastern Europe/Germany).

    8) The job is more suited to a B1 press than a B2 press.

    9) Printer A has the volume to batch print where printer B doesn't.

    10) Printer B may outsource some of the finishing where printer A can do it in-house.

    Just a few reasons off the top of my head, hopefully they will enlighten some of you and obviously feel free to add some more if you can think of any...
  2. printbar

    printbar Active Member

    11) Printer A has had a slow month and just wants to get something on the books. Printer B is looking at his numbers and thinking they ain't too shabby.

    12) Printer A employs sales staff who make commission on turnover, not profit (you laugh, but it happens).
  3. opalprint

    opalprint New Member

    so true!!
    Its amazing how many "estimators" dont even know their true costs.
    Guess thats why so many printers go bust...
  4. New Member

    We fall under answer 1. We thought about what services people most wanted and limited it to what we believe are the core requests for online document printing. We could have filled our pages with hundreds of options but this would have slowed down the ordering and more importantly, the production times.

    Having done this, we can work fast and efficiently meaning we can offer prices usually much lower than our competitors.

    I believe the best online sites (not just printing) are those that have a clear aim and specialise in what they do best.
  5. PrintGarments

    PrintGarments Member

    We've gone a totally different direction and i think more t shirt printing companies should do the same.

    100% transparent pricing, all published on line.

    Sure, sometimes it's nice to alter a price when you either need the deal (for slow months), or you think the client will pay more.....

    But consider this:

    - Apart from gaining an email address for future marketing (and there are other methods for this), dealing with a lost or unqualified quote is costly in time, cash and other opportunities. Transparency ensures better leads

    - Discounts come right off the bottom line and out of directors profit

    - Turnover based sales targets with fluctuating prices is the road to ruin, even the most virtuous sales rep is bound to start thinking about number 1

    - Varying prices make for bad data. Systematised catalogue and print prices can be analysed much better in CRM's like salesforce and Zoho and tested with a complete picture of the pricing.

    We've noticed a huge change in the way the business operates by going transparent. The sales team feel more confident because the price has been agreed to in the heads of the client, before they are on the phone. It now becomes a customer relationship exercise and sales targets are based on:

    How much repeat business is being delivered
    What are the quality of the client relationships
    etc etc
    VLAHAKISA likes this.

    VLAHAKISA Member

    It's easier for those of us selling that printing to our clients for the pricing to not keep changing on us. IE we don't want to have to recheck the price every single time we quote a client, it's just making it all the more labourious to have to do that constantly.

    All pricing should be readily accessible online (again, I don't want to spend time phoning and getting quotes for something every single time I quote a client, I want easy and quick access to the information without waiting) and it should not change radically all the time each time I look.

    It's about making life easier for the people buying the printing, because it's about ease of service as well as prices. If it's easier (ie good customer service), they will be more likely to come back again for more.

    PrintGarments likes this.
  7. PrintGarments

    PrintGarments Member

    Agreed Amanda :icon_smile:
  8. robsteele

    robsteele Member

    I have had two quotes recently for business cards one quote was £20 pound more expensive. Does the printers location play a part in their charges?
  9. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    Couple of points: location may be a factor - if their costs (rent/rates/wages) are higher they may well have to charge more.

    I go to 3 or 4 local printers for quotes and generally they are within spitting distance of each other. The last quote though (1000 x 36pp A4 4/4) had £500 between the priciest and the cheapest. The cheapest guy consistently gives me good prices as he says that he knows the artwork will be good (ready to print no faffing) and he doesn't have to pay a salesman. Of the printers who gave the 2 cheaper quotes (£170 difference) neither have salesmen on the road.
  10. PrintGarments

    PrintGarments Member

    Location is absolutely a factor, costs "walk on two legs" as the saying goes... Every time we move to a larger premises the risk of increased printing costs is a big worry. You have to balance it with savings in your new economies of scale; faster printers, better fulfilment processes etc to ensure your expansion doesn't mean the customer has to pay more.
  11. Gail W

    Gail W New Member

    Interesting thread, never thought of the amount of variables that go into a quote when I get one.
  12. LocalBizPrint

    LocalBizPrint New Member

    Also another thing being that, i;e Some one wants a quote on 250,000 24 page booklets. Lets say the actual cost for us printers is £8,000

    If company A is turning over hundreds of thousands of pounds, then they could afford to pay for the job again if it was to go wrong so they sell it at £10,000 and take a gamble.

    If company B is turning over tens of thousands, then they may won't be able to afford the cost of a reprint as easily if it went wrong, so they sell it at £14,000 and take less of a gamble.
  13. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

  14. Inky Fingers

    Inky Fingers Junior Member

    Having worked as an estimator at litho and digital printers for many years I agree with most of the reasons in the initial post. One reason you missed off your list is mistakes by estimators. I've known some to forget to allow for paper within their quote!

    But in my view the biggest factors affecting your print quote are the type and size of kit your printer possesses. When sourcing quotes you really do need to ask printers who have the appropriate equipment for the job. People make the mistake of thinking that every printer can do every print job. Trust me, they can't! The old phrase "horses for courses" has never been more appropriate.

    If you have a fairly consistent print requirement (e.g. you usually order small quantities of products that lend themselves to digital printing) then you've probably found a competitive printer that you are happy with. But if you suddenly need a job printing that is very different in scale/specification to what you normally require, then I would strongly advise you to shop around! Otherwise you could easily pay way over the odds for that item with your regular printer. If he doesn't have the appropriate kit he might still feel obliged to give you a quote (printers don't like saying "no, we don't want to give you a quote for that").

    It's also worth considering using Print Management companies for some things. They'll have a wide range of suppliers they can ask for quotes and they'll know which ones will be competitive for which types of job.

    Just going back to the original post, the "not like-for-like" is a very very common reason for differences. At one company I worked at we had a contract to produce a monthly A4 catalogue, a contract which we held for many years. One day the customer suddenly says to us that he's got a better price from another printer. We knew our prices were competitive but we re-quoted for the work to try to retain it and the customer then tells us "no, you're still miles dearer". Not wanting to lose the regular work, we cut our prices further still almost to the point where it was hardly worth doing - just filling capacity and retaining a bit of "base work" really. Anyway, the customer tells me we're still out on price and he's taking the contract away from us. Naturally we were gutted. About a month later our sales rep comes into the office all red-faced with a copy of the first catalogue printed by our competitor and guess what? It's finished size was A5 not A4!!
  15. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

  16. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    either someone wasn't listening properly or the 'client' didn't say they wanted it changing to A5.... either that or they misunderstood the other quote was for a smaller item... I wonder which reason it was lol

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