For over 10 years I worked for a 5-star brand and during that time I was responsible for designing the business cards and also selecting the print company who would be printing these business cards. Now I work for myself and I create business cards for my clients from time to time along with many other print-based branding such as brochures, labels, product stickers, and signage. Like any business, I want to ensure I give my clients the very best results for their own businesses. If you select the correct print company for your business card needs it will not only reduce your costs but also give the best results for your clients and also save you time and effort.
All of the print companies I used in the past all had varying advantages and disadvantages; some were local, and some were a distance of 2 hours away and some had excellent support while others were less so. The stress of designing a business card and also procuring the right supplier is made a lot easier when you have a printer that offers great support, uses the best technology, and has excellent turnaround times.
Here are my top tips that you should use before committing to a business card print supplier.
1. Is there an online digital design portal?
The best print companies will offer a digital design portal where you can upload your designs before printing. Essentially, these online accounts enable you to upload, edit, proof, approve, and review final designs before paying for and arranging shipping for your printing.
I have used many of these portals and the best ones have online checks to ensure quality of design, i.e. if the images in your suggested design are too low for print, plus there may also be checks on dimensions and layout. For business cards, you may also have a sizing check to ensure your print design has the right color profile and bleed settings. If you are not a designer some of these portals have templates to allow you to design a business card there and then use a click and edit procedure within a WYSIWYG system.
So I would recommend using a supplier who uses such a system as opposed to a basic email us your design suppliers.
2. Are there extra costs that may be hidden?
The best suppliers will have everything laid out up-front. So have an initial chat with your potential print suppliers and ask about any extra costs, so that it is not a surprise when you eventually pay for your order. You should ask if there are extra charges, ask for details of costs for the following;
- What are the Shipping charges?
- Is there a cost for the use of an online design portal (if available)?
- Is there an extra charge for extra users of the online design portal?
- What extra costs are there for full colour as opposed to black and white print?
- What extra costs are there for double-sided printing?
- Are samples of print stock available to check which is best for your purposes and is there a cost for this?
- Is there next-day printing and delivery available and what are the costs?
- What design support is provided and is there a charge for this?
- Is there a Bulk ordering discount?
- What are the return policies?
3. Do they provide a full-service solution?
If you are not a graphic designer then you may wish for someone else to do the graphic design for you. If you don’t know what the terms Pantone, bleed, trim marks or die cut means, then perhaps leave someone else to create the designs for you. There are advantages & disadvantages to using this method. On the Plus side, you don’t need to worry about design issues and you save some time/effort. On the downside, you may find that due to the print company workload, your designs might take a few days to develop and even then there may be a bit of going forward and back to get the designs right – but at least you are guaranteed that they have been done to the requirements of the print company.
Business Cards and Custom Stickers
I was recently designing business cards for a client when noticed that the print vendor could supply custom stickers ideal for my client’s product. This was ideal for the vendor as they were able to include these stickers as a method for securing the wrapping on their new skin-care products. This was an excellent benefit from working with a print supplier and further clients can now enjoy these stickers as an extra benefit for branding and product enhancement purposes.
4. Are Shipping costs Included?
In the past, the print companies I used for the 5-star brand had local representatives who would deliver the printing for free – I feel this was to ensure continued business for them as they were providing value. Many print vendors will have a shipping charge so you really need to check this. A recent order I placed had the business cards costed at €65 for the total print but it would be an extra €9 for shipping. Perhaps you can negotiate this when ordering or you can try to find a vendor that offers free shipping.
5. What Customer Support and Quality Control is included?
You must have good customer support and also good quality control when dealing with your print supplier. I find that using ticketing systems for customer support is not that effective. I prefer direct email and phone support so I would recommend checking their customer support levels.
Also, check your print suppliers’ quality control processes. What is their customer promise?
Some final comments
Finding a print supplier that can provide your printing solutions at a good value cost, with excellent support, good reliability, and extra benefits that support your needs is what you are after. I try to think of a printer to be part of your business team, so having a meeting with the printers before you start working with them is a good step as it helps them to understand your brand values, your branding requirements, and your quality and cost requirements – this should hopefully have them thinking towards a long term relationship.
If you have any questions please leave a comment below.