By Harry Smith
Despite how ubiquitous the digital world has become, there’s always going to be a need for physical materials. Print shops exist to help businesses and private individuals alike create beautiful prints of just about anything under the sun. With all of the different printing techniques available today, there’s just about nothing we can’t put an image of any size onto. Like just about any other service out there, it’s extremely important to find the right outfit to trust with your job if you want to walk away satisfied at the end of the day. With just a little bit of due diligence, it’s entirely possible to find the right shop for you at a price you can afford.
So let’s get into what you should be doing before trusting any given print shop with your patronage:
Understand What You Need Done
Far too often, people understand they’ll need a print shop and seek one out before they’ve even really figured out what they’re going to be printing and why. It’s important to sit yourself down beforehand to fully understand what will be printed and the intent you have in getting it printed in the first place. If you are getting prints of your artwork, it will be extremely important that the print shop you’re looking at can provide consistent, high-quality representations of your work at whatever resolution necessary. Those who have a goal of just needing to print a large number of promotional materials will likely be a lot less focused on overall quality and consistency so long as the finished product turns out within acceptable limits.
Ask For Samples
Any print shop worth their salt will have tons of samples on hand that can be used to best showcase their skills. If you can’t even get samples of their work in the first place, it raises questions as to whether or not they even do print jobs at all. This is the easiest way to gauge a print shop’s ability to produce the kind of quality you’re seeking out. Check around the edges of the print to see if any ink has gone where it shouldn’t, as well as for general smudging of ink. Secondly, look for anything in their samples that might show that print shop’s deficiencies. If they always give you small printed materials, there’s a good chance they can’t adequately reproduce images at a higher resolution.
Check For Guarantees
Print shops that can stand behind the quality of work they produce are much more likely to give your job the level of care it deserves. This guarantee can be anything from a guarantee of the quality to a price guarantee to even a guarantee on turnaround time. The simple fact is that by offering a guarantee on their work, the print shop has put internal pressure on overall customer satisfaction. It can also be worthwhile to ask how often people need to make use of these guarantees, then gauging their response to that question to see if their money is where their mouth is.
Get Quotes From Different Shops
There is nothing obligating you to go with anyone shop once you’ve asked for a quote, so don’t hesitate to give your exact requirements to as many different print shops as possible and then compare the price offered. You can always use a more favorable quote from one print shop to bargain with another that has earned more of your trust as well. It can help to see just how wide the variance is between different shops as well as different printing techniques to get a better understanding of the printing industry. It’ll only help you in your further projects by allowing you to quickly spot a business offering suspiciously low prices or one that’s clearly gouging customers.
Level Of Service Means A Lot
You should absolutely take the time to give an in-depth explanation of why you need print services and your intended goals to every shop you speak to so you can gauge how they interface with their customers. A shop that’s willing to help guide you through the processes involved, as well as the different services offered, is a lot more likely to be a worthwhile shop to choose versus one that just wants you to sign an agreement as quickly as possible. The information listed here is a good example of a transparent shop that shows off their operation. Try and find a shop with a commitment to explaining their processes for fixing work that isn’t exactly up to snuff. This way, you’ll know if they have a robust customer service regime or if they’re just going to produce work that you’ll have to accept regardless of whether or not it’s what you asked for.
Understand The Size Of Their Operation
If you’re looking for high volume work, you should do everything in your power to go with a job that regularly deals with lots of work. It’s important to ask how many printing presses they have on hand, as well as how many prints they produce in any given week. Some shops are a better choice for lower volume, niche jobs like a small number of pamphlets, or a handful of team t-shirts, while others are much more industrial in scope. So if you’re working with a smaller time frame and need a lot of work completed, you should find a shop that can actually accommodate that. Some shops are willing to use some of their extra printing presses to ensure that your job is finished on time after some adjustments need to be made. For them to do that at all, they need to have the extra presses to begin with.
It can be a lot of work to find the right print shop at the end of the day. However, it’s entirely worth it to get the level of quality you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to talk to as many different shops as you can until you feel satisfied with what they’ll provide. You’re looking for a professional level of work at the right price as well as in a reasonable time frame. There’s nothing more gut-wrenching than receiving a huge load of printed work just to find out it’s barely a step above what any household inkjet could provide.