Why is it that printers do not make a profit with new customers on the first several jobs?

Answered by Suzanne Morgan, founder, Print Buyers Online.com

Your online research has shown that printers usually do not make a profit with new customers until after the first several jobs. Why is that? Could it be that they low-ball pricing on the first job or two just to get the work? Or is it that they know that a first time client needs more hand-holding and they factor that lost time into the profit figures? I’d be interested in your feedback on this.


To answer your question, most printers don’t make a profit on the first job – or even the first several jobs – because they are learning all the nuances of what a particular customer needs. Most buying companies do a good job describing the standard print specifications needed for a job (the type of paper, quantity, size, etc.), but few do a great job at describing the goals of the project, their internal workflow, expectations for quality, etc. Often printers have to learn those critical factors "trial by fire." So it takes time for a printer to really learn how to accommodate and satisfy each specific customer and then learn how to make the job profitable! By the way, the best print suppliers have a way to capture client’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and nebulous expectations and then share that information with their entire team.

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