What to look for in a print service provider

Whether you’re a brand-new start-up company, or a well-established brand, finding the right print service provider is of paramount importance. Your reputation is dependent on picking the right provider as mistakes can diminish that trust you have built up with your clients in a matter of minutes and take a long time to recover from. It can also prove rather costly. With a vast amount of print service providers out there offering quality work within strict deadlines at a reasonable price, it’s hard to know where to begin.

So, you need to ask yourself some very important questions:

  • What can printing companies do for you?
  • Do they do more than just print?
  • Where are they located?
  • Can they provide samples?
  • Do they have positive and trustworthy reviews?
  • What do they if things go wrong?

What can printing companies do for you?

Most printers specialise in certain types of print. Very rarely will you find a print service provider that can do all varieties of print work. You will therefore need to think about the type of printing you are after and search accordingly.

Do they do more than just print?

Whilst you are looking for a print service provider you might also be looking for someone to design your printed pieces, and manage everything from initial concept to final delivery and distribution. Finding a business with print and print management services can be a lifeline to many companies who find it much less complicated than finding a separate designer and printer.

Where are they located?

This could be a huge deciding factor if you are working on stricter deadlines. If you need something printing quickly, having a printer closer to home could save time and money when it comes to deliverables. It also has the additional benefit of building a closer face-to-face relationship and could also allow more control over your print job, as queries can potentially be dealt with a lot quicker. You can visit the printers to see everything in action, gaining a better understanding of the printers’ practices, and ensuring the workplace is up to standards. And best of all, you will be supporting local!

Can they provide print samples?

Asking for samples is one of the most important questions to ask yourself, and any potential print service provider. It’s all very well saying they can do it but with something as important as print, you need to be able to see the proof of the pudding. If the printers can’t provide the correct samples, then perhaps they are not the right print service provider for you.

Do they have positive and trustworthy reviews?

Nowadays, everyone does their research when it comes to choosing anything new. Choosing a print service provider is no different. And reviews are the best way to know whether a company really can do what they say. Do they deliver items on time? Do they produce top quality products? Is their communication open and honest? If you find more negative reviews than positive it’s usually a good indication that you may not work with that particular provider.

What do they do if things go wrong?

Whilst mistakes are best avoided, sometimes things can happen that are out of everyone’s control. It is therefore important to know what provisions the print service provider has in place should these mishaps occur. What is their account management structure? Do they proof work or do they just move jobs along? This can prove very important when deciding who to choose for your print jobs.

Do they offer a trial print run?

This might be worth considering once you’ve decided upon your printer. Although it might not be completely free, they might offer some sort of discount on the first job. If you’re feeling pretty confident with their references and reviews, then this will work as a good test to see how they measure up to their name. Choose a smaller print run with no immediate deadlines to really test the waters and then if you’re happy you can take your business further!

Do you have a good rapport with them?

At the end of the day, printing is based on a relationship of trust between you are your print service provider. This can take time to develop, so it’s best to start small, where possible, and go with your gut. You want to be very clear about what you are looking for in your printed products, including what you like and don’t like. And if you’re lucky, you will build up a good relationship with multiple print service providers, which, over time will create a number of key contacts for your specific needs.

Birch Print

At Birch Print, if it involves print, we’ll do it! We offer print and print management services taking your brief and managing it from start to finish; from proofing to print, finishing to stocking, to final delivery and destination – we’ll manage the whole print process. If you’re looking for a new print service provider or you need some help or inspiration with your next printing project, we would love to hear from you! Call us on 0115 951 2468 or email us @ [email protected].


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