Is the cost of printing hurting your bottom line?

In today’s digital age, where technology offers us convenient alternatives to physical documents, the rising cost of printing has become a concern for individuals and organizations alike. The expenses associated with printing, from the price of ink and paper to the added costs of shipping and quality control, have steadily increased over the years. Not to mention the environmental concerns around paper usage and delivery services. However, there are practical solutions to mitigate these rising expenses and lower your printing costs.

In this article, we will explore some effective strategies and alternative approaches that can help you save money while still meeting your printing needs.

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1. Digital Alternative Solutions

The best way to keep your printing costs low is to avoid printing entirely. Annual Reports, Newsletters, and Event Invitations can be costly to print and ship out, which is why more and more organizations are turning to digital solutions instead.

One of our clients used to allocate thousands of dollars annually towards printing their annual report. However, last year they made the strategic decision to transition to a completely digital approach. To facilitate this change, we developed an interactive webpage specifically tailored for their annual report. The outcome was truly exceptional. What’s even more impressive is that this year, our client was able to independently create their annual report using the page-builder we had developed for them the previous year. Not only did this result in substantial cost savings by eliminating printing expenses, but it also enabled them to publish their annual report in record time.

Despite the convenience of digital alternatives, in some situations, printing is unavoidable. However, there are effective strategies that can help you save on printing costs.

2. Lower Your Page Counts

One effective approach to lower printing costs is to reduce the number of pages in your documents. For example, while we have designed 40-page Annual Reports for clients in the past, printing a booklet of that size can be quite expensive. By implementing simple measures like reducing copy and photo selections, you can significantly reduce the page count.

Another option some organizations have taken is to condense their Annual Reports into a succinct brochure format. This not only saves on printing costs but also presents information in a more concise and easily digestible manner.

But what if you still have important information to share and no room left in your document? That’s where QR codes come in handy. QR codes not only help you save space but also provide an opportunity to track valuable data. By using services like QR Code Generator or Me(QR), you can create Dynamic QR Codes that allow you to monitor the number of times they have been scanned. This tracking feature is particularly useful for development teams looking to track donations or analyze the effectiveness of newsletters and appeal letters in generating traffic.

By employing these strategies, you can effectively reduce printing costs while still sharing vital information with your audience.

3. Find a Great Printer

Investing in Quality Printing will Save You Time and Money in the Long Run.

Contrary to popular belief, opting for printing services at Kinkos or Staples may not be the most cost-effective choice. From our experience, we have found that these larger stores often charge higher prices for printing, while also lacking in important quality control measures such as sending print proofs and conducting thorough checks on the final product.

In contrast, choosing a smaller print shop offers several advantages. Not only are they more likely to provide print proofs and diligently review their work for any errors or discrepancies, but they also have knowledgeable professionals who can offer valuable guidance on paper selection and collaborate with your designers to enhance the overall design before printing, ensuring a satisfactory outcome.

Once, we had a client who decided to print a 200-page report at Kinkos. Unfortunately, the outcome was far from ideal. Not only did they mix up the pages, but they also failed to provide print proofs to our client. As a result, hundreds of error-ridden reports were delivered to our client and their partners. By the time our clients discovered the mistake, it was too late to seek a refund or have the reports reprinted. This incident served as a valuable lesson, highlighting the importance of choosing a reliable and quality-focused print shop for any important printing projects.

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4. Bulk Order Your Paper in Advance

Print shops typically only maintain a moderate inventory of standard paper in their shops. For specialty paper, they usually order it as needed. However, sourcing paper has become increasingly challenging for printers due to a shrinking number of paper suppliers. This industry-wide paper shortage means that when stocks are low and demand is high, paper prices tend to rise. The good news is that most paper suppliers offer significant discounts for bulk orders.

If your organization prints a lot of materials, you should consider speaking with your printer about placing bulk paper orders. This can provide substantial cost savings compared to ordering smaller quantities as the need arises.

One of our clients has found a great cost-saving solution for their regular postcard printing needs. Instead of dealing with the hassle of ordering paper for each individual project, they have established a bulk order arrangement with our printer. By pre-purchasing 50,000 postcards in advance, they benefit from significant discounts on large paper orders. Not only does this save them money in the long term, but it also ensures that our printer always has their desired paper in stock. As a result, they no longer have to wait for paper orders to arrive before printing, saving them valuable time and streamlining their printing process.

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5. Don’t Leave Your Printing Until the Last Minute

Because paper supplies are limited, sourcing specialty paper takes time. If you have a large printing project on the horizon, it is essential to communicate with your printer well in advance. By doing so, you allow your printer ample time to order the necessary paper, thus avoiding the need for costly rush orders.

It is advisable to provide your printer with a minimum of one week for printing, and if delivery is also involved, it is recommended to extend the timeline to two weeks. (Please Note: If you are shipping any materials out of the country, make sure to add an extra few days to go through customs. Even deliveries to Canada have to go through customs and can get held up.) This approach ensures that you can avoid additional charges for expedited delivery and achieve peace of mind by allowing sufficient time for the printing and delivery process.

Once, we had a client who waited until the last minute to print program books for a conference they were hosting and didn’t leave enough time for delivery. As a result, we had to come up with a creative solution to ensure the books made it to the conference on time. We ended up packing them into a suitcase and personally flying with them to the event. Unfortunately, this last-minute scramble ended up costing our client more than $600, including plane tickets and an extra $200 for an oversized suitcase to carry the books. This experience serves as a valuable reminder of the importance of planning ahead and allowing ample time for printing and delivery to avoid unnecessary expenses.

If you are hosting an event and working with a production company to print your signs or other 3D print materials, keep in mind that these production companies usually offer a significant discount (50% in many cases) on printing if you send them your print files 30 days in advance. When contracting a production company for your next event, make sure to speak with them about printing costs and ask if they offer any discounts. One of our clients hosted an event, but waited until 2 weeks before the event to send their print files. It ultimately cost them $15,000 more than it would have if they had submitted their print files 30 days in advance.

While the rising costs of printing may seem daunting, the strategies outlined in this article provide a roadmap for individuals and organizations to navigate these challenges effectively. By embracing digital alternatives, optimizing page counts, partnering with the right print providers, and planning ahead, you can significantly reduce your printing expenditures without compromising the quality or timeliness of your printed materials.

Remember, a little foresight and creativity can go a long way in keeping your printing costs in check. With the right approach, you can continue to meet your printing needs while maximizing your budget and minimizing unnecessary expenses. The key is to stay informed, explore your options, and implement the strategies that work best for your unique printing requirements. By doing so, you’ll be well on your way to achieving cost-effective printing solutions that serve your business or organization’s needs.

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