How to Save on Printing Costs
Six simple steps you can take to lower your costs on every print job
In today's economy every expense can have a dramatic effect on your business. The more you can save or cut
down on costs, the more funds you will have available for improving the business or adding that extra equipment you
may need. Here are some common mistakes that people make when ordering print materials which cause them to
• Go With Standard Sizes Check with your printer to see what their standard sizes are before you start designing
your art work. Let’s say you’d like to print some post cards. Since print shops usually try to combine multiple jobs
together and print those at the same time, there are standard sizes they will utilize to fit more jobs together and save
money. Let's say you’re planning to print a large 6 x 10 post card. You have the design ready and you check with
your print shop… and learn that its standard size is 6 x 11. Now what happens is that the printer will charge you for a
6 x 11 post card because it is their closest standard size. In addition they might charge you a bit extra for a custom
down cut in order to make it fit your desired size. So you not only paid for a larger size, you also paid extra to cut it
back down to 6 x 10.
• Print Large Quantities You can save on printing if you print larger quantities. Usually 1,000 or more prints per
design is standard. Even though many print shops offer short runs, in most cases it is more expensive when you
calculate the per-piece cost on a short run compared to printing 1,000 or more pieces. You’ll also usually find
additional savings at higher levels, such as at 2,500 and 5,000. Ask your printer where the price breaks are.
• Have your design done by professionals who know the printing process Specific knowledge is needed to
design your final art so it matches the printer’s requirements and is ready to print. This will save you time and help
you avoid extra charges by the printer for the file corrections they will have to do in order to provide you with quality
• Ask for free second side printing Since today's print presses are very advanced, print shops can print on
both sides of paper at the same time. This means many print shops can provide you with a free second side
upgrade on certain products such as business cards, post cards, flyers and so on. Consider printing the other side
in a second language, or adding a map, etc.
• Plan ahead on how you will distribute your printed materials It is wise to plan the entire process in advance
so you can avoid printing more than you can use. There are numerous distribution choices and each one has
certain requirements and possible ways to save. Let's look at a couple scenarios. First, if you are printing post
cards for mailing you should consider the size as it will affect both the printing cost and the postage. Today printing
is usually cheaper than postage because postage costs have gone up substantially while printing costs have come
down. One way to save will be to go with a 4 x 6 post card, because the post office has a cheaper first-class post
card stamp for that size. But if you’re going for a larger size, you might consider a jumbo size of 6 x 11 because even
though it will affect your print cost it will not affect your postage cost, since it’s the same price to mail a 5 x 7 or a 6 x
11. This gives you a larger area to work with, so you can create a nicer design or include more useful information. It
will also be more noticeable in the mailbox among all the other flyers your customers receive. Another distribution
option is door-to-door flyers. Many restaurants prefer this option as it is much less expensive than mailing if you are
targeting a certain neighborhood. In this case you might consider lighter weight paper instead of post card stock
because you will save on printing and your carrier will be able to carry more of the flyers and therefore visit more
neighbors on his daily route.
• Consider Paper quality, coatings and custom shapes Unless you are planning to print larger quantities such
as 5,000 or more, consider which paper or coating you will use for a particular order. Thicker card stocks are usually
more expensive and if you don't really need that, you can save by printing on thinner paper. Custom coatings such
as spot UV will add to your cost. Even though they might look “cool” and be necessary in some cases to make you
stand out, it is not always needed and you can save by avoiding it. Custom shapes, custom die cuts, and custom
folds may look like great ideas but will add dramatically to your print costs as they require specialized extra steps at
Keep these six factors in mind as you plan your next print job. They will help you get more bang for the buck!
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