Better, Faster, Cheaper.

We are on a roll over here at Reno Type. We’re busy. We’re doing great work. We’re doing our best to help our clients achieve their goals (as opposed to simply “filling the order). I’m blessed that our staff is so solid, that someone as talented and important to our operation as Davey, our GM can take 2 weeks off to welcome his new daughter, and we still get everything done.

But today, my parade is being rained on. By one (or several) of Reno Type’s competitors. Competitors who are charging less than the true cost of printing for their work: “Lose money on every job… and make up for it in volume.” I know that times are tough, and that everyone needs to save a buck. I know that printers, like most businesses in this economy are hungry. I HOPE that all of this can be viewed through the lens of common sense, though.

I am also lucky that Reno Type’s Customers appreciate the value that we bring to the table, and our relationship enough to tell me that someone is 20 to 50% cheaper than we are. Instead of just chucking our business relationship in the trash-can to save a buck, they’re calling to see what’s up, and to see if we can be any cheaper. Here are a few thoughts:
1) Anyone can make an error on an estimate. If you see prices wildly different between two printers with roughly similar capabilities on the same project, Check with BOTH to make sure neither was in error.
2) Understand that not everyone has the exact same equipment, and that a slight difference in press size can make a huge difference in price. Sometimes changing the size of your piece by an 8th of an inch can save hundreds of dollars. Check with your preferred vendor (Reno Type, I assume….) to see if some very slight change could bring the disparate estimates closer together.
3) If after looking at 1 and 2, there’s still a huge difference, ask yourself why. Printing is, despite our most ardent desire, a commodity. How can the exact same thing be so different in price? Something is missing. You owe it to yourself to figure out what. Does the cheap printer provide a hard proof? If not, are you willing to take the risk on the quality and correctness of the job? Will it be done on time? Does that matter?
4) Finally… if none of that matters… if you really just need the printing cheap. Call me. I always give my best price… but if it isn’t good enough… if someone else is THAT cheap… know that there is always someone cheaper, and I will find them for you. If that is what you need… and the other stuff doesn’t matter — reliability, quality, community involvement, employees being paid a fair wage and having insurance, on-time delivery, friendliness, fairness, honesty… if that just isn’t in the equation, and you need ink on paper cheap, I will find you someone cheaper than the cheapest price you found. Honest.

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