Managing the print budget for your department can be tricky business. On the one hand, few business leaders think about on demand posters for marketing or custom training manuals when prioritizing budget line items. On the other hand, collateral like sales brochures, proposal documents, and training materials are essential to the operations of your business.
That’s why it is important to find the right document printing services to maximize your print budget. Whether you need flyer printing services, booklet printing services, or next-day printing services, we’ve rounded up seven tips for planning your print so that your budget lasts longer.
Tip #1: Find On Demand Print Services
First, select a vendor who offers on demand print services. On demand printing is pretty simple in concept: it means that when you place your order, they fulfill it without any wait time. When printers use traditional offset printing, they have to make changes to the machine before each order, which requires set-up time. On demand print services use digital printing technology (kind of like your desktop laser printer) to print without any set up.
On demand printing is obviously a faster way to print. It turns out that it saves you money, too. Since traditional printing requires so much set-up, you usually have to order a minimum number of copies for any one document, and you may get discounts for purchasing more copies at once. While that makes sense for larger print runs (like for books or magazines), the average organization doesn’t need ten thousand copies of any business document.
That’s why on demand printing services save you money and help you stay within your print budget: you order the right quantity of documents at the right time. This is especially beneficial for projects like custom printed booklets, custom printed brochures, or custom printed manuals, since you may want to change up the personalization for each customer, or you might want to match the booklet to a specific marketing campaign.
Tip #2: Find Online Document Printing Services
Next up, find a vendor that offers online document printing services. We don’t mean a shop that offers “online copy and print services” by way of email and FTP upload. Instead, find a vendor whose online document printing includes a real-time file upload, menus to select your own customizations, and a real-time preview to approve the order.
Here’s why that matters: online ordering saves you time and increases transparency so that you place your order faster and actually know what you’re going to be paying. If you have to upload files to a shared folder and then spend hours emailing back and forth about potential customization options and changing document quotes, you are wasting time that could be spent doing all the other things on your to-do list. On top of that, you may not realize how tiny changes to your document – like changing the paper stock – are impacting the price of your order.
That’s why the best online document printing services offer virtual proofing and real-time quotes. Instead of googling “how much does it cost to print a brochure,” you can build your brochure to set an accurate budget, including down to the minutiae of whether you want it folded before it ships.
(When it comes to document printing services online, we don’t mean to brag, but we invented real-time proofing back in 1999!)
Tip #3: Be Creative With Your Designs
Once you have selected a print partner who will save you time and money, it is time to think about designing your documents to maximize your print budget. Whether you are ordering custom printed manuals that are thick 3-ring binders or custom printed brochures with Z-folds, you’ll want to make sure you are making the best use of the space available to you.
For example, review the margins, font sizes, and image layouts of your documents. While you don’t want to stuff so much information onto any given page that you overwhelm your reader, you do want to avoid spending money printing an extra page that contains only one sentence.
Tip #4: Be Creative with Your Customizations
Next, work with your printer to make sure your document customizations don’t blow your print budget. Again, this is where online proofing and real-time quotes come in handy so that you can play around with the document on your own. However, even if you have to review all your options on the phone with a print operator at a copy shop, it is worth doing to maximize your budget.
For example, if you are ordering a custom brochure, instead of googling “discount brochure printing” and going with the vendor with a huge promo code, try a couple of customizations with your preferred printer. You can test out how paper stocks, gloss vs matte finish, and different fold options impact the price of the document. For complex documents like RFP responses or training workbooks, try upgrading only the cover stock or inserting specific pages as color sections to make sure your documents look professional without breaking the bank.
In the end, cheap online document printing doesn’t need to equal shoddy online document printing, so make sure you work with a print partner who will help save you money without providing poor-quality documents.
Tip #5: Keep Your Deadline In Mind
When planning your print budget, keep in mind how much lead time you will have for ordering and delivering any given document. There are times when you need to overnight documents, such as for investor meetings, business proposals, or last-minute event needs. In general, however, you will be able to save money by planning ahead to place your orders about two weeks before you need your documents.
For example, when you have latitude on delivery date, you can save money in two ways with Mimeo. First, you can tell us you don’t need us to print it immediately. Our system will move it down in the queue by as much as five days, and since you are giving us leeway, we give you a discount. Second, you can tell us you don’t need fast shipping. You’ll see the shipping prices decrease with slower options, as well.
Next day booklet printing, manual printing, or proposal printing is sometimes necessary, but the more you can plan ahead, the more you can maximize your print budget.
Tip #6: Deliver Directly to Your Audience
Speaking of shipping, many organizations end up paying twice for it: once for delivery to their office or administrative location, and another time for delivery to their end-users. This is particularly true if you are organizing print documents for events, training workshops, or sales meetings.
Instead, place your order for delivery to your audience. Sometimes, this is as easy as sending documents to a tradeshow receiving dock. Other times, especially as the workforce becomes more dispersed, you have to take a page from direct mail printing and mailing directly to residences. Either way, online document printing services are great partners in this instance because they are accustomed to delivering orders all over the nation (and even internationally).
Tip #7: Lock In Preferred Pricing
Our final tip goes out to anyone who plans to print more than once or twice per year. Many organizations make the mistake of quoting out each print project as it comes up to find the best cheap online document printing of that month. Others don’t coordinate departments, so that the training, marketing, sales, and operations teams each have to find their own print solutions.
Instead, we recommend locking in preferred pricing with a print vendor who can handle your entire organization’s needs. When you commit to sending your print projects to a single partner, that partner can offer better rates on per-unit documents, reduce customizations prices such as locking in specific paper stock costs, and even find you discounts on shipping prices.
That way, you don’t have to coupon-shop to get printing that is within your budget. On top of that, you’ll have an established relationship with the business so that if you have any questions, need deadline extensions, or run into printing problems, you’ll have a trusted partner to help you out.
Print documents remain essential to many twenty-first century businesses, but it is important to be smart in order to maximize your print budget. Mimeo can help with faster, higher quality, and more affordable printing. Set up a call to get a quote for your next project!
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