Printbuyers Online

The Role of a Print Buyer

Suggested Job Description and Responsibilities of a Print Buyer

Very few print buyers have the title of well…Print Buyer. And whether you are buying ten of thousands -- or millions -- of dollars in printing, most of you out there may also have other responsibilities outside buying printing. Some of you are designers, marketers, purchasing agents for other goods and services, or production assistants.

Regardless of your title, print buyers share several responsibilities in common. I’ll suggest the main responsibilities as I perceive them. You may want to adapt this list for your own situation. And for those of you that are using Print Buyers to train new print buyers in your office -- Bravo! Perhaps this will help you develop job descriptions for these newbies.

  1. Find and manage outside resources – This may include prepress, printing, mailing, list/data processing, and specialty suppliers.

  2. Develop and communicate specifications and expectations for projects – This may require collaboration with marketing folks, originators, editors, managers, etc. and certainly requires collaboration with print suppliers.

  3. Ensure that projects deliver on time, within quality tolerances, and at an acceptable price.

  4. Negotiate with suppliers and internal staff – for acceptable scheduling, quality, problem resolution, services, etc.

  5. Develop and communicate print standards. These are the standard operating procedures that include everything from treatment of samples to billing procedures and expectations. In the past, this has been an informal process. Increasingly companies want to see written standards.

  6. Create and maintain contractual agreements with print suppliers. Again, many companies are developing written contracts.

  7. Develop written quality assurance standards.

  8. Educate internal staff on new technology and developments. Examples of this could be anything from educating associates on production issues, what to expect from the different proofing options, advancements on personalization, marketing opportunities, etc.

  9. Provide financial accounting of expenditures and cost-containment programs. Depending on the company, there are various levels of expectations.
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 “job description.”

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