A host of good reasons exist for using a local printer for your project and finding one online (not local). At the same time, a good number of reasons exist for not using a local printer or an online printer. Lets examine two benefits and two drawbacks (there are plenty more) for each one.
Local or online printer?
by Ben Baker
A host of good reasons exist for using a local printer for your project and finding one online (not local). At the same time, a good number of reasons exist for not using a local printer or an online printer. Lets examine two benefits and two drawbacks (there are plenty more) for each one
LOCAL PRINTER BENEFITS
First, the printer is local. You can make eye to eye contact. He can’t avoid taking your calls or answering your emails if you show up in his office. This is especially important if there is a printer’s error. Dealing with an answering service in India is not going to get you much satisfaction. Second is economics. You network and build contacts. By supporting the printer, you show an interest in his business. If someone comes into his shop and needs graphic designs that are beyond his ability, chances are he’ll refer the customer to a graphic designer who does printing business there.
LOCAL PRINTER DRAWBACKS
First is cost. Local printers can have higher prices than giant print shops you may find online. I recently checked on a business card order and found a number of online printers whose prices were less than half that of a local print shop.
Second is limited options. Local printers, especially small job printing shops, simply don’t have the resources a giant print shop has. That could be a variety of ink colors and styles (like raised or puffy ink). It could be a lack of printing ability, such as printing on hats or custom-cut papers.
Rather than just flip the above four around, let’s look at four different reasons for online.
ONLINE PRINTER BENEFITS
First, and this is especially true for speciality printing like books and magazine, is experience. A local job printer may be able to print your glossy paper magazine, but how much experience does that printer have with that kind of work. If its a major account, are you willing to trust that work to someone who does it every day or someone who does it once or twice a year?
Secondly is proofs. For some reason, job printers in my neck of the woods are often reluctant to provide proofs before taking the job to press. The online printers I’ve contacted generally offer a proof as part of the standard contract. Sure, you generated the project, but a printer’s proof may show some problems that your equipment didn’t show.
ONLINE PRINTER DRAWBACKS
First, is lack of control. Once you send that project off, you’ve lost control of it. You may get a proof, but that is not an iron clad guarantee of the quality of the finished product. You can’t monitor, if you have time, the printing process or at least be there when the presses start rolling. If the printer has a question or problem, you can’t run by the print shop and discuss things in real time. Emails, phone calls back and forth can amount to significant delays.
Secondly is turnaround time on orders. With small job printing orders this is often not a major problem, but you may have to pay a premium for a rush job. If your print job is a really big one, such as a book, a local printer might not be able to match the turnaround time of a speciality printer you find online.
Ben Baker has used local printers and online printers for work he does. He generally shops book projects to online printers and small job printing to a local shop.
[tags]print services, printing services, online printers vs local printers, online printer vs local printer, local printers, online printers, graphic design[/tags]
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