With the huge number of large, nationwide printing companies that are available, you may be wondering if selecting a smaller firm is the right choice when it comes to handling the print management needs of your business.
When you consider that to a large commercial printing organization you might just be an order number, but with a small firm you'll be a name and someone with whom they'll develop a personal relationship, the choice becomes clearer. Smaller print management firms are also less likely to engage in such practices as price gouging; have a greater degree of loyalty to their clients; are invested in their clients success (when you succeed, they succeed as well); and often pay greater attention to the details of each job than a larger firm.
Smaller printing firms are also more adaptable than larger ones when it comes to providing your business with the ongoing support, recommendations and consultation you may require as your company expands and its printing needs evolve. You'll also find they have a higher degree of responsiveness to their clients than a large print automation firm. And, that response might just come in handy if you find yourself up against a tight deadline that involves a printing job. A larger firm might not be able to tackle an unexpected, last minute project, but a smaller firm with whom you have an established relationship can and more than likely will complete your job on time.
So, you've decided to selecting a small firm to handle your printing needs. Before you sign a contract and decide which small print automation firm to hire, be sure to consider and answer a couple of key questions: Do you want to outsource all your business printing needs, everything from letter heads to billing to payslips or are you looking to reduce printing costs in one area such as billing or payment processing?
When you answer those questions, you will be well on your way to choosing a small printing firm that can offer innovative solutions that are capable of adapting to your unique business environment.
You should also remember that deciding on which printing firm to hire is unique to every individual. And, since most printing firms, regardless of size, offer quality work under tight deadlines for reasonable prices, how should you start the process of selecting which one is right for you?
A good place to start is with samples, which most small printing firms will be happy to supply. Take a look at the quality of the firm's work before you decide to hire them. Be sure to pay special attention to the variety of formats, folds, die-outs, fonts and colors the firm uses. Many larger operations simply will not have the time for a prospective client to look at their work, but smaller ones will.
Check the firm's references. A small firm will happily provide you with the names and numbers of its clients, where a larger firm may not feel the need to do so. Ask the references is the printer's work has been both consistently good and consistently on time. Keep in mind that your relationship with your printer is just that -- a relationship, and like everything else in life, things can and will go wrong from time to time. When you are checking with the firm's references, ask them how the printer has responded when things have gone wrong and difficulties have arisen.
Smaller firms will also be able to give you a tour of their printing plant, which will provide you with even greater insight into their operation. Seeing whether a plant is clean and well-organized and how the firms employees interact with one another can tell you a lot about the printer.
You should take hiring a commercial printing firm as seriously as hiring a new employee. Interview the firms you are interested in hiring and get their responses to certain key questions, such as:
- What systems are used to keep your data safe?
- What quality control systems are used?
- How long will it take to complete your printing job?
- What sorts of technology do they use to complete the job?
- Is the firm financially stable?
- Is the firm reliable?
Finally, don't rely on price alone when hiring a small printing firm. You simply can't gauge how good (or bad) quality is based solely on price. Cheaper is not necessarily better, nor is the most expensive always the best fit for your needs. Carefully examine your printing budget and select a small printing firm that fits both your bottom line and requirements.
Your printing job is the end product, and smaller printing firms do have the expertise, equipment and technological ability to handle your job.