Lets talk about Online Printing Companies

Posted on April 12th, 2014 | Tags: Technical, Tips and Tricks

We have seen those companies on TV or in the banner of the websites we visit – the online based printing companies. They offer you painless printing, just upload your files or use their templates and get what you want printed at a ridiculously cheap price. They are also our best referers as we often get clients who come to Copy Express after being disappointed by what they get from an online printer. Let me tell you why they may not be as great a deal as you think.

Good – They are cheap

I’ll be honest here, in some circumstances we just can’t compete on price with the online printing companies. They have huge operations design to print volumes far greater than I could ever do here. That’s why we don’t try to compete with them on price alone.  We offer a more personalised and custom service than most online printers.  And we employ local people and support local businesses (you work is not printed in Amsterdam and then sent here by airmail) – your jobs are all printed and finished in the Wellington region.

Good – They can be quick-(ish)

If you are using their online design site to create your printing from a predefined template and filling in the blanks, they can drop you into the next printing slot and ship out a couple of days later. So it’s possible to have your print job in 3-6 days.  However, our STANDARD printing time is two working days, with express and on-demand options also available.  We frequently are able to complete jobs that clients need urgently when other printers can’t deliver.

Not so good – What you see isn’t always what you get.

Online companies can’t do proofs for your job. They are built for volume so when they print your business cards, you are just one slot out of 40 or more being printed at the same time, so it’s just not practical to generate a physical proof. I can speak from experience that no matter how many times you check a pdf, any mistakes will leap out at you the minute you hold the real thing in your hand. Copy Express on the other hand is more than happy to print samples for your inspection before beginning production.

Not so good – Customisation isn’t cheap

Sometimes you don’t have a choice when it comes to what gets printed. If you want something different size or printing on a different type of paper or card.  Their price is built around volume and volume means they have to fit every job within given paper, printing and cutting templates. If you want do something outside that normal size, ‘going off the rack’, that means a custom print job and you will start paying a lot more for that. One online printer is notorious for printing all their business cards to the US format which is noticeably smaller than the NZ one. This is because the standards of 4 million people isn’t enough to justify the expense of to add a new size template to their operation. We don’t mind doing custom sizes and formatting on any job and working out the best value for you.  You know that when we print internally we do every job separately and to order – so to us every job is ‘custom.’

Not so good – The people you deal with are not the people doing your job

Part of the price model for their services is by reducing involvement of people in the process to the absolute minimum. Because of this the only people you can talk to are in the call centre and you have to hope they can understand what you want done because they will be explaining (electronically) it to the people doing the printing. At Copy Express the people you talk to are the people doing all parts of the job so you can explain exactly what you want done and we can make sure it happens.

Now you might think I’m bad mouthing my competitors just to drive potential customers away from them. I’m not. Though it’s a very competitive marketplace, there is room for business like them and us. If you need mass produced boilerplate material done fast and cheap but with very limited options then the online printers will fit your needs to a ‘t’. If you need personalized material made exactly the way you want it then you come and see us at Copy Express.