Printbuyers Online

What your printer should know about you

Written by Suzanne Morgan, Print Buyers

The learning curve in a new relationship between a buying company and print supplier is often rocky. The time when the first few jobs are produced can be the least profitable for a printer and the most frustrating for the buying company. It’s no wonder. It’s not only difficult to communicate accurate and complete specifications, but in order to get across all those other expectations, our printer has to be on the same page as us. Otherwise, it can lead to trouble.

But take heart! The list below provides some examples of the type of information that can significantly reduce the learning curve when communicated up front. Indeed, printers can better shape their services around your special needs once they learn the nuances of your company.

Consider sharing this information with your prospective and current suppliers:

  1. Profile on your company – e.g., what your company does and how the printing is used.

  2. Policies that may affect them – If your company’s policy is to pay suppliers only after 60 days, you had better believe that prospective printers want to that information up front.

  3. Corporate culture – Will the printer be working with a lot of “cooks in the kitchen” to get approvals on print proofs, attend press checks, etc?

  4. Workflow issues – Do the originators of the artwork work in-house, freelance, or through an agency? How will the printer get the artwork?

  5. Products and services needed – It could take a long time for the printer to find out what types of projects and quantities your company purchases. If the printer has a clear understanding up front, it could save you both some time.

  6. Volume of printing – If you feel comfortable doing so, tell your printer the total volume of printing that you buy per year and how much of that is “open” to new suppliers.

  7. Bidding process – Do you want to receive price quotes by fax, e-mail, or phone? Will the printer have a chance to give a second bid or is the first quote the final one?

  8. Expectations for scheduling – Typically, what turnarounds do you expect?

  9. Describe critical factors – Do you have to use a certain portion of minority firms? Does your company specify printing only on recycled paper?

  10. Invoicing – Who should receive the invoices? What types of information are necessary for the printer to include in the invoice?

  11. Contact by the supplier – How often should the printer contact you? Do you prefer to be contacted by phone or e-mail?

  12. Company goals and expectations – Has your company mandated a 5% decrease for the print production budget within the next year?

This is just a start. So if there is something that we’ve forgotten or that you’d like to add to our list, please e-mail me at and title your e-mail "learning curve."

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