There’s nothing worse than the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realize that the fabulous price you were quoted for that key client job really was too good to be true. Now you’ve got to break the bad news to your boss, and then to the client. The budget for this campaign just went up - way up. Or worse, we can’t deliver what we’ve promised at any cost.
Fortunately, a little careful planning and you’ll never have to live through this experience again.
Your Printer Wants An Accurate Quote Too!
It’s true. Nobody wins when a printing quote misses important details and the budget for the project is out of line with reality.
Your print supplier also knows more about what’s possible than you could ever imagine. The best strategy is to find a supplier you can trust and involve them as early in the process as possible. A good print supplier will be able to offer solutions that will bring your ideas to life. They may even be able to expand your options, so that you can deliver campaigns you didn’t even think were possible.
On the flip side, the later you talk to your print partner about a campaign, the more dramatically you’ll limit your creative options. Who wants to do that!?
The more information you can share about the project you are planning, the more accurate your printing quote will be. What information you need to share will vary quite a bit from job to job, but here are a few key items you should be ready to discuss:
- Goals: Tell your printer what exactly you’re trying to achieve for your client. The more specific, the better. That way, they can steer you away from options that don’t support the end result you need.
- Timing: Of course, you need it yesterday. Everyone does. Assuming that’s not possible, be prepared to speak honestly about the timeline. If you’re well ahead of the game, you’ll give yourself and your printer some flexibility in finding options that fit your needs and your budget. On the other hand, if you’ve already missed deadlines and need help to rescue a project that’s going off the rails, now is a good time to bring it up. Bottom line - know when you’ll be able to deliver final creative to the shop, and how quickly you need the finished product shipped back out.
- Physical Details: Be prepared to describe your project in detail. What does it look like? How will it be used? Where will it be displayed - indoors? Outside? In what type of climate? How large will it be? Are there any unusual characteristics? Is this a one-off or will you be printing multiples? How many? How long do you need the product to last?
- Colours & Special Finishes: Are there any special colours or unique finishes that need to be accommodated? Does the project have any specific requirements around materials (must be 100% recyclable for example) that need to be considered?
- Materials: Do you already have a material in mind? Are you looking for recommendations? Material is one of the key factors that can impact your final price - make sure when you’re comparing quotes that the materials are identical or you may go with the lower price only to find out you’ve replaced a Cadillac with a Dodge Dart.
- Kitting and Fulfillment: What needs to happen once the project is finished? Are you expecting your printer to handle shipping and delivery? Where will it be shipped? Are there any specific packaging or shipping requirements that need to be addressed (like customs clearance for example)? How are you expecting these to be taken care of?
- Budget: being open about your budget will avoid wasting a tonne of your busy time on options that just aren’t realistic. You don’t want to get the client all excited about a campaign they can’t afford. Or disappoint them by delivering a pale shadow of what could have been because your printer was misinformed.
- Your Level of Knowledge: if you don’t know much about the type of printing you’re quoting, say so. A reputable printer knows it isn’t worth his reputation to mislead you, and most people are more than willing to help you make good decisions. The best way to learn is to admit you need help - and you just might make a friend in the process.
The Bottom Line
The best way to ensure that you always receive accurate printing quotes from your suppliers is choose a printing partner that is willing to work alongside you, answer your questions and make suggestions to help you get the result you want at a price you can afford and in a timeline that fits your campaign schedule.
And when you’re comparing quotes from different suppliers, take care to pay attention to the details. If one estimate looks distinctly out of line, ask questions. It’s possible that your supplier mis-understood your requirements. It’s also possible that you’ve overlooked a critical requirement in the RFQ that only one or two suppliers have picked up on.