Keep your print prices high to save clients money

It’s all about price!

That’s the constant message that we are told when we are selling print. The only way to win a print job is to give the client a lower price than the competition.

This system doesn’t work for anyone. Naturally, you know that fighting on price reduces your profit margins. But here’s something else for you to consider.

Most buyers don’t make huge savings by reducing price

This may seem to defy logic, but it’s true. It’s a sad fact, but pricing has now been driven down so low that it often hard to reduce prices much further. Buyers aren’t generally going to make significant savings by driving down someone’s profit margin by a couple of percent.

So why is it still possible for buyers to make substantial savings in their print budgets?

The real savings are in process

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Reducing printing costs need not about be about asking about lower prices

When I go and help clients with print purchasing projects it’s often easy for me to make double-digit savings for them. This doesn’t require me to batter suppliers down on price.

Many of today’s buyers often have no knowledge of print. This often means that they are making basic errors in the way they source and use suppliers. Here are three key errors that I see being frequently made:

Print is often bought inefficiently

There are still a surprising amount of companies that go and ask for three prices for every project. It’s much easier for a printing company to set up a simple price matrix for a client (and this saves estimating time too).

Naturally, this can be taken further using a web-to-print portal as well. This often reduces artworking costs substantially for clients.

However, this only works if clients are choosing the right suppliers.

Print is often bought from the wrong supplier

One of the biggest areas of over-spend is that many buyers do not know what type of printer to place their jobs at. Small digital printers win large catalogue jobs. Printing companies with large litho presses win small runs of business cards.

A small group of suppliers working together can make sure that each job is handled by the right type of press. A common system between the companies can keep jobs running efficiently and ensure everyone retains their own clients. This can produce substantial benefits for customers.

But this system doesn’t stop one other issue.

Opportunities for standardization are usually missed

In big companies, print purchasing is often not as centralized as it might be. Different departments demand similar jobs. They could achieve a lot more by managing these jobs together. They could also save a lot of administration time (and create brand standardization) by using standard specifications.

Printing companies have a great opportunity to help customers with these issues.

But isn’t price still important?

Naturally, printing companies need to offer pricing that is in line with the market. However, by helping clients overcome these print buying challenges they are more likely to help clients find the right market price. Many small print management companies sell successfully to their clients in this way. They manage to make good markups on their print. There are similar opportunities for printing companies as well.

In addition, your clients will value you if you bring them business improvement rather than just cheap prices.

So how do you help a client improve their processes?

The first stage towards this is to offer suitable clients a print audit. This may seem like a lot of work from your point of view. This is why I recommend making it a chargeable service.

Three days before I wrote this article I spoke to a printing company. One of their clients had just paid them £500 to spend the morning with them going through their print processes. As a result of the audit, this company is now receiving a lot more work from this client.

Focusing on process will allow you to keep your prices higher. Your clients will be better off. And they won’t just think it’s all about price.

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2 Responses to Keep your print prices high to save clients money

  • hi Matthew another very interesting article. I agree, there are often substantial savings to be made just by putting the right tools and processes in place. We have seen experienced buyers insisting that they always get the best price by bidding every job. However good processes and great software can show what others in the same organisation buy, who from, what they and which suppliers are right for the job. Better specifying, inviting the right suppliers, more standardisation, more integration and better supplier alignment to performance can deliver significant savings without having to squeeze supplier prices….it all comes down to processes plus data plus expertise.

  • Gerrard Moss says:

    Hi-i think you’re spot on with your comments, especially the “not” lowering of prices, service and quality should always be the main selling points. i’ve run my own company for 26 years, both as a “print consultant” and environmental print management company, although i’ve been semi retired for the last 4 years. It’s amazing how the thrust to save money has over-ridden the “carbon footprint” ideal as it’s very rarely mentioned and it’s the same with recycling. The biggest offenders of waste and mismanagement i found was with the Government departments, local authorities and large businesses.

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