02 Mar The Best Place to Buy Print. Print Management, Commercial Printer, Online or High Street Printer?
Buying print can be fraught.
There are several million variants on every print specification. There a number of different printing processes. There are also hundreds, if not thousands of commercial printers, printing services companies, high street printers and print management companies all ready to convince you that they are the right company for your job.
So how do you choose?
Here’s a quick look at the main players, what they’re good at and what sort of job is appropriate for each:
Print Management Companies
Straight away nailing our colours to the mast, Printing Brain is brought to you by Webmart, a Print Management company. But what do Print Management companies do? Well, the term can cover a multitude of different business types so we’re probably best sticking to what Webmart does. At the core of Webmart’s business is a team of print buyers, project managers and software developers, all linking in to a network of printers and printing service companies. Webmart spends it’s time working with these suppliers to deliver print projects on behalf of clients. The print buying team uses software to help them buy the print at a competitive price for clients, then the project management team ensures the print is delivered to the client on time. The performance of each printer is continually assessed to ensure Webmart works with only the best printers in the market (in terms of delivery times, print quality etc.)
What are they good for?
- Because Print Managers work with a number of printers, they are a one-stop-shop and can usually print more or less everything.
- Typically best for medium and larger sized orders.
- Their business is there solely to add value to your business so they should bend over backwards to help you out. If they don’t, move on.
Commercial Printers are the businesses who own the presses. They do the actual printing and are the people who print purchasing and management businesses buy their print from. All things being equal (such as staff quality), the strength or weakness of a commercial printer depends on the presses and other equipment they own. What they can offer the print buyer depends on their equipment, so much so that the first thing many professional print buyers will do is ask for their equipment list so they can understand what the printer will be good at. So while a Commercial Printer can make an excellent partner, finding the right one for your particular print specification can take experience. If you need a wide-variety of items printing, you may also be somewhat limited by the variation of job they can deliver due to equipment constraints, though some will outsource to other printers to fulfil orders they can’t do themselves.
What are they good for?
- Any type of job, depending on equipment and experience.
- Again, commercial printers are there to advise and add value so should bend over backwards to accommodate you.
Website printers come in all shapes and sizes. Because the internet is a front or interface, you never quite know if the website is backed by a printer, a print management company, a broker or any other type of company. Having said that, websites do make it easier to shop around and price compare to some extent, although print specifications can be so varied that comparing like-for-like can be difficult. Web printers do offer a wide range of products and can be very cheap for simple items although often aren’t competitive for larger runs and more complex items.
What are they good for?
- Usually smaller, simpler items like business cards or folders.
- They often include templates and designs which are great for small businesses and start ups.
- Good prices for some product lines and offer a wide range of product types.
High Street Printer
Great for their convenience and a personal touch, they’re particularly good for small run and bespoke items. Some high street printers are backed by larger organisations so if they can’t do a job at the site, they might send it off to another printer to fulfil the job and you pick it up later. However, high street printers aren’t usually so competitive for medium to larger runs as they have higher costs and are really geared towards fulfilling smaller orders.
So there you have it. Finding the right supplier for your job is usually about two things – equipment and people. Find a supplier with the right equipment supported by people with the right ‘can-do’ attitude who take the time to understand your business needs and the experience to really understand how to add value, and that’s probably the supplier for you!