Most good quality print companies have in house designers. They can help you realise your vision and produce results that will have a real impact. The in house designer can produce designs from scratch or take a back seat and simply take your final high resolution artwork check it and get it straight into the print room ready for production. The key is that they offer you flexibility.
Cheap printers often don't employ any in house designers and expect you to have the artwork in a format ready to print. This is fine if you are comfortable producing print ready PDF artwork. If not an in house designer may be a saviour. They do all the hard work ensuring that your artwork looks right and will be produced properly with no mistakes.
Does the printers have their own print presses or do they outsource their printing
Many cheap print companies are in fact print brokers. They simply re sell other companies print and add a mark up on for the privilege. Ask what type of printing presses they have on site. If they have none then they are a print broker and may not understand important details when it comes to producing the best results.
So where would the gap in their knowledge be
Well knowing the best type of print for your project. Would offset lithographic or digital printing be best? It isn't just a matter of knowing which is the most cost effective either. They would also need to consider the technical aspects of the work to give you the best option for your specific job.
Some smaller quantities might appear to be cheaper when printed digitally but if for example you would like a metallic or fluorescent ink or certain types of paper or card the best result may come from printing the job using offset lithographic printing.
Can the printer produce speciality items
Beyond printing you also need to examine other things that the printers offer. Can they collate fold stitch or staple number punch drill perforate or glue your printing with precision and quality in mind? Can they die cut shapes in house?
So if you need small packaging boxes food wrappers do not disturb signs to hang on doors or perhaps you'd like to create your own shape and have it cut out they have the ability to handle it in house.
Do they get work done on time?
There is more to a printing service than putting ink on paper and cutting things out. Getting the job done on time is very important. Make sure the print company you select can meet your deadlines. Ask them to provide details of previous jobs and find out how happy previous clients were with their printing service. Any reputable printer should be willing to provide references for their work.
Do they deliver the finished items
Check that they can get the finished items to you and double check the price for this is built into the fee.
Having a reliable nationwide delivery service is important. What's even more vital is dealing with a company that is flexible. So if you'd like to upgrade an anytime delivery service to before noon or before 10.30am delivery they will happily arrange this so that you get your printed items when you need them.
Are the printers good value for money
If you go for cheap printing then the job will most likely not include a full personal free quotation design printing finishing and delivery with a choice of payment methods. Instead you will have to do all the work yourself. This would involve creating the quote via a website and you will often be hit with a host of extra hidden fees if you want to deviate from the standard options offered.
For example cheap printers may offer a standard turn round time of 10 days but to get things quicker may result in a large surcharge.
The DIY approach also means that you have to create the print quote yourself. This is fine if you are comfortable with print terminology but what if your not? You may end up ordering something you didn't intend to with no comeback.
If you want piece of mind and advice on what is best for you then paying a little more to get a personal service will be worthwhile.
Not all quotes are equal
You may think that it is a simple process to compare all of the quotes you have received. You look at all the print prices and pick the cheapest right? Wrong. Why? Well printers offer different types of paper inks and finishes so you need to check the details of each print quote to ensure you are comparing like with like.
For example some printers may quote based on single sided printing or a thinner paper. They may not include delivery or charge extra for using environmental print stock. Make sure you check the small print and ensure that each printer is quoting on an identical job so that you are comparing prices properly.
Some less scrupulous print companies have been known to quote assuming a very basic specification only to increase it later after they win the work.