Top 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing an Online Printing Company

by Robert - Date: 2008-09-16 - Word Count: 1900 Share This!

The frightening truth is that anyone with internet access and a functioning printer can market themselves as an online printing company and claim to be able to transform your beautifully designed marketing material into a printed masterpiece. So how do you know for sure that the online printing company you choose is everything they proclaim themselves to be? There are a few precautions you can take to help eliminate the imposters. For one, avoid the yellow pages whenever possible. Unless they have a website listed or some other innovative way of showcasing their work, you'd be better off checking out examples of print that you like and finding out who did it. It pays to ask questions; besides, if you don't, it could mean bad news for your pocketbook!

Consider the following situation - Everything is going according to plan; you have a deadline approaching and yet still manage to get your material to the printing company in a fairly reasonable timeframe. When you finally get your hands on your urgently-awaited package, you excitedly open the box expecting to find a stunningly produced product, but to your surprise, you pull one out and are instantly horrified. It's a complete disaster! Not only do the colors look faded but there are smudges, missing pages, and the lamination that you paid extra for is wrinkled. So much for the deadline; now everything, including your wallet and that smile you were just wearing has officially taken a detour - south. The only way to avoid similar situations and elude the fly-by-nights is to know what to look for when choosing an online printing company.

With so many online printing companies out there competing for your business, each with their own set of claims and promises to help you achieve your goals, how could you possibly narrow down your choices? Whether you're looking for a company that offers the lowest prices, or one that gives you the best service and quality printing for your money, it will all be easier once you learn to recognize some of the common mistakes that people make when choosing an online printing company. Below are the 5 most common mistakes along with a few straightforward tips to read, heed, and be on your way to finding a printing company that best suits your needs.

Mistake #1: Choosing a Printing Company Based Solely On Price

Price is certainly a major factor when it comes to the printing business. The old adage, "You get what you pay for" couldn't be any more true. Searching the internet for the best possible prices is one thing, but if you want great printing, you should make your decision based on the overall value you receive - not just because they have the lowest price!

Most of the time, when prices seem too low to be true, they usually are. It is virtually impossible for any company in the printing industry to offer the lowest price, the highest quality, and the best service. Have you ever heard the old joke that floats around in the printing business? It says, "You can have it cheap, you can have it good, you can have it fast - pick any two!" In other words, you can have it good and fast, but it won't be cheap; you can have it good and cheap, but it won't be fast; or you can have it fast and cheap, but it won't be good. With that being said, here are a few things to consider.

Avoid "absurdly cheap" prices. Companies who offer their products and services far below industry standard prices may not stand behind their work if there is a mistake. So before you decide to go with a company who can save you money, be sure to consider the way they might treat you if there is a problem with your finished product. Look for a guarantee, and if they don't have one, don't buy from them!

Professionalism is everything. Your printed work is your image. It will directly reflect your own professionalism and the standards that you represent. Many on-line printers hire less experienced employees and cut corners by using cheap ink and lower quality paper. The little bit of money that you do save may end up costing you more in the long run. The bottom line-value for your money is critical.

Don't get "nickel and dimed" to death! With some less scrupulous printing companies, you frequently end up getting charged extra for things that more reputable printing companies usually include in their quotes. So what seems to be a great price might just end up costing you more in the end. It's a common practice of many online printing companies.

Mistake #2: Assuming All Online Printing Companies are the Same!

When was the last time you saw any two of anything that were EXACTLY the same? Even down to the shirt you're wearing or the pen you may be holding, no two things are ever truly identical. Sure, there may be others similar to it, but there will always be something that differentiates one from the other. That said, no two online printing companies are the same. They each have different equipment and different employees, each with different knowledge, backgrounds, and abilities.

Many people who use printing services don't really understand that despite all of the advanced technology that we have today, printing is still basically ink on paper, just as it has been for decades. It is a combination of both art and craftsmanship, and involves more than just running paper through a press; it takes skill to turn out quality printing. Acquiring the right paper, adjusting ink and water balance, and making perfect printing plates have to happen long before the first sheet can be printed.

Finding the right online printing company for you ultimately boils down to communication...

Be sure to ask for the following:

- - Samples of their past work

- - Types of material they print

- - Their average turnaround time

- - The types of jobs they do not manufacture themselves, and must outsource

- - And anything else that may be important to you.

This will not only help you to determine if they are the best company for the job, but a company that wants your business will prove to you that they are a competent and quality-minded business partner. Remember, communication is a two-way street and a reputable printing company will let you know when they can't meet your needs. When you finally do decide on an online printing company, it is important to stay loyal to them, which brings us to our next common mistake.

Mistake #3: Having Numerous Printing Companies Competing With Each Other for Your Work

Though it may seem like an acceptable means to do business, this usually isn't the best way to deal with online printing companies. Here's why:

- - A good printing company usually has enough loyal customers that they don't want to deal with the job-hoppers. Once you find a good company, be loyal and stick with them. Jumping back and forth from company to company won't provide much motivation for a reputable online printing company to want to keep you as a customer.

- - Compared to good quality and service, price is a secondary consideration. Most buyers will go out of their way to get companies to compete for the same projects just to save a few dollars. But what about those times when you need a favor, or perhaps an extra speedy turnaround? How could you expect any of these companies to bend over backwards for you? Loyal customers are much more likely to get a break than the "job-hopping" customers.

- - One hand washes the other. A reputable online printing company will be willing to go out of their way every now and then for their loyal customers. Even if that means working all day and all night, or over a weekend in order to pull off what may seem to be "impossible". They are much less likely to do this for someone who uses a bunch of other printers.

Mistake #4: Not Giving the Printing Company Enough Time to Do Their Job Properly

The first thing many people do when there is a mistake on their printing job is to point the finger at the printing company. When you are in a hurry and everything is rushed, mistakes are bound to happen. Haste does indeed make waste. You may forget to give them certain instructions or may even make a mistake on your original document because you were more focused on getting it done quickly instead of getting it done right. Whatever the case may be, time management is crucial, and if it's not done properly, there really isn't anyone else to blame but yourself. Here are some tips that you can use to make things run more smoothly:

- - Communicating with your online printing company will save you time, money and headaches. By engaging them from the start, you may find out that there is a more efficient way of producing your project that you didn't even know about!

- - Don't take the printing process for granted. Waiting until the last minute to hand your project over is the worst thing you can do. For some reason, people believe that everything will be taken care of once their project gets to the printer. This is the furthest thing from the truth. Your online printing company should be viewed as your business partner. Let them know ahead of time what you want and ask them if they can provide any advice or feedback that can help your project run as smoothly as possible.

- - Work together. Of course you aren't the only customer that an online printing company has. If that were the case, they'd most likely be out of business by now! Be considerate and understand that they may not always be able to deliver ahead of schedule.

Mistake #5: Not Bothering to Check For the Three R's - Reputation, Reliability and References

Sadly, there are many fraudulent and disreputable online companies out there who engage in deceptive business practices. No matter how good you may feel about a particular company, it pays to do your research before deciding to do business with them. You can check out sites such as, or to see which companies have favorable records of service. Here are just a few things you should check for:

- - Make sure your online printing company guarantees their work. Any reputable company will have some sort of guarantee. What this means is if they make a mistake on your printing job, they will correct it at no charge.

- - Ask for references. A legitimate company will eagerly provide this information for you. This is one of the best ways to avoid problems with an online printing company.

- - Talk to others who have done business with the same company. This is one of the easiest ways to decide whether or not this is the right company for you. Just as people are extremely eager to talk about their bad experiences with a particular service, you'll be surprised at just how happy they'll be to talk to you about their good ones.

Knowing what to avoid when choosing an online printing company is very important. Not knowing can certainly cost you a lot of time, money, and even your clients. Though there are many common mistakes that are frequently made when choosing an online printing company, avoiding these top 5 mistakes will certainly make your life a whole lot easier.

Related Tags: brochure printing, printing company, cheap printing, discount printing company

Article provided by Conquest Graphics, a discount printing company that specializes in cheap brochure printing and other printing needs.

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