Quote Out Your Projects

Shows like Extreme Couponing have started a revitalized interest in price sensitivity.  How sensitive are you when looking over the costs of your marketing? One lady I recently spoke to didn’t know to quote out a direct mail piece she wanted to produce.

Start by asking around with colleagues, family and friends: who are they using for their print jobs? Do they like them? What were their experiences with them?  As always, word of mouth will get you the best local options. Barring this, do a search using yellow pages or the internet to find local printers.  Call them and ask a few key questions. A good list might be:

1)   Do you do printing for the type of job I need?

2)   How long would it take to get this made if I got it to you by X date?

3)   What format do you need this file in?

4)   Can you send me a quote for X number of pieces?

5)   Is there a price break for more or less pieces?

6)   (If the price is too high) Can you recommend a way to lower our cost on this project?

7)   Can you provide me with some samples of your work?


Obviously, have the size and basic specifications of your project ready when you call.  They will need to know:

1)   What size is your project?

2)   What type of paper do you want us to use?

3)   Is it color or black & white?

4)   Is it one-sided or printed on both sides?

5)   Is there a bleed?

6)   Is there any folding or binding needed? What type?

7)   How many do you want?

8)   Are there any other special needs for this job?

Ideally at minimum you should quote out a project to three printing companies.  Printing companies… NOT, I repeat, NOT printing/shipping or printing/office supply companies that jack up prices on unsuspecting, uneducated consumers.

I’ve mentioned before that I also like an online printing company called GotPrint.com – at least for their exceptionally cheap and nice quality business cards. Some of their pricing for projects is much too high, so take that with a grain of salt. Their system lets you work out the specs and cost of an order ahead of time. (Keep in mind shipping is costly, something you will save by ordering local.)  Untried online companies can be a crapshoot. GotPrint was recommended by a designer I know and she showed me her work so it wasn’t a gamble for me.

I hope this gives you a basic primer on how to quote out your printing projects.  This works for mailers, brochures, business cards, training materials, banners, signage and more.  Keep an eye out and stay savvy!

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