5 Reasons to Use a Local Commercial Printer Instead of an Online Printer
We’ve all done it – when we need to get something printed, we go online and search for the cheapest place to get whatever we need printed done. Vistaprint, favorite among most people, offers cheap printing and fast turnaround. But, is it really the best option? Chances are, wherever your business is located, you’ve got a local commercial printer. Online printing can be a fast, convenient option IF you know exactly what you want, including paper and finish, can prep your files for commercial printing and are willing to pay the extra to have them shipped. But… is it really the best option?
Having a local commercial printer you can turn to for printed collateral is important – more important than you know. Don’t get me wrong – the convenience and availability of an online printer is great; however, sometimes, you need a little more. What if you have questions about the type of stock something should be on or finishing options such as gloss vs. matte, folds and trimming? How should a file be prepped for commercial printing? These questions aren’t really going to be answered well by an online printer, though they may have some general FAQs that you could weed through.
Still not sold on using a local commercial printer? Here are five solid reasons why you should have a local printer to go to:
Local is Local
The great thing about having a local commercial printer is just that – they are local. You can go in, talk to their staff, get to see samples of stock, finishes and find out what the best options are for your printed collateral. I’ve found that your local commercial printer is interested in giving you what you want by finding out what your needs are. In some cases, their advice may be critical to the success of your piece. For instance, if you’re sending out a direct mail piece, the proper size and placement of the address area is extremely important to whether or not the post office will be able to send it out or not. Your local commercial printer is more likely to be conversant in the requirements of the post office and therefore be able to advise you before your piece gets printed whether it’ll mail or not. Being able to talk with people locally is not only helpful, it could save you time and money down the line.
Who Do You Call When There’s a Problem?
If you’ve ever used a service like Vistaprint or 4-Over, you know that once you submit the order, almost in minutes, the order is being processed and could even print and ship the same day. Additionally, if you’ve ever tried (or needed) to adjust or cancel an order that’s been submitted, it is nearly impossible to get to it before it prints. Why? Because services like Vistaprint are largely automated so that very few hands (as few as possible) actually touch it. Your piece is ganged with other pieces and printed together. It’s likely that as soon as the order is submitted that the artwork is imposed and plated. That’s why it’s so important that your artwork is perfect and ready to be printed when uploaded. Otherwise, it will either be printed wrong or not printed at all.
When you use a local commercial printer, most of the what-ifs go away – they will either create or prep your files, preflight and impose and finally print them according to how you’ve specified to them. If there was an error, or something to change on the order, it’s much easier to contact your local printer than to stop a large ganged run. Additionally, and perhaps one of the biggest reasons that using a commercial printer is the better option is that many times your local printer will discover potential errors that could ruin a printed piece – misspellings, RGB color where it should be CMYK, watermarks – and see that they get fixed before the piece is printed. Online printers won’t do that. They’ll just print your piece as it was uploaded.
Supporting Small Business
A great deal can be said about supporting local small businesses – and it’s all true. Yes, you may spend a bit more buying local, but the relationships – both business and personal – that are created when that happens are worth more than the potential savings of using an online service for your printing. I’ve worked both for and with local commercial printers and realized the importance of those relationships. Online printing services aren’t worried about whether or not you’ll be a loyal, return customer – their business relationship with you is transactional. Dealing with your local commercial printer, you’ll notice that customer service is what sets apart the cheap online printing from the local small business owner. Try to shop local!
More Likely to Get Advice & Expertise Locally
As I said above, you’re way more likely to get advice from a local commercial printer than you are from an online printing service. A lot of times, the support that comes along with an online printing service isn’t located in this country and you can’t talk to them via phone. Yet another case for dealing locally with your printer.
While some online printing services have some pre-designed templates that make plugging in your information easy, you’re at the mercy of their template. Sure, they might allow you to upload a logo, but it won’t really be branded to your business. Most printers either contract with a local graphic designer or have one on staff in-house that you can talk to about your design. If you’re having a bunch of things printed (such as stationery, business cards and brochures), you might want them to all look the same – cohesive branding is important.
If your lucky, you might even find a printer or graphic designer that offers a subscription based design service where it’s one fee for unlimited design throughout the month. Check out our service for more details!
The point is – you won’t find an expert to chat with – because it’ll likely be an e-chat and not by phone – to help you decide on how best to print your piece. You won’t get design help without paying extra money and they won’t be trying to cater to your needs – just complete the transaction.
So, we know that online printers tend to be cheaper than your local commercial printer – that’s why people go online, right? But, sometimes, they aren’t the best deal in town. Sometimes, your local commercial printer can offer a better deal than what you can find online – but how would you know? Well, first of all, as with any purchase you make, you should shop around. You already do that anyway on other purchases, why not for your printing?
The other thing you probably haven’t considered about saving money on your printing is shipping. If you’re ordering from an online printer, you’re paying shipping (though there are some that will ship for free IF you buy a certain amount). Of course, the other part of that is having to wait for your printed products to arrive and we all know time is money. Depending on who you order from and in what part of the country you’ll need to ship to, you could be both paying more and waiting longer to get your printed pieces shipped to you, once they are printed.
Local commercial printers can often fit your printed pieces in on press (either digitally or offset) the same week you order them and perhaps they’ll even be ready for pickup the same week. You may find that the money saved online is made up in the price at the local commercial printer. If there’s little to no difference between the two, if it were me, I’d shop local and support small business.
There you have it – five reasons to use a local commercial printer over using an online printer such as Vistaprint. By dealing with your local commercial printer, there can obviously be fewer headaches, the job gets done the way you want it the first time and you get their advice on stock and finishing options in an effort to save you time and money.
Who is your local commercial printer? If you use an online service, how do they compare with a local printer?