Which Type of Print Shop is Right for You?

We’ve talked a lot about the gradual slimming-down of the print world. So you might think that there aren’t many places you can go for print.

But that isn’t true. As a print customer, you’ve got options. There are many different ways to sell print, and one isn’t necessarily better than another. It all depends on what’s important to you.

Here are the major print players you need to know.

The Internet Printer

These are big web companies like VistaPrint and Shutterfly. With printers like these, you can get lots printed for cheap, often without ever talking to a human. VistaPrint and others have made next-day delivery commonplace, raising the bar for printers everywhere.

Best if: Budget is more important to you than quality, especially on general services. These services are cheap, and you’ll get what you pay for.

Skip if: You need any kind of custom work. When you order from companies like these, you’ll be choosing what you want from a drop-down menu. If you need anything that’s not on the list, you’re out of luck.

The Big-Box Retail Printer

Think FedEx Office (formerly Kinko’s), Staples, and other storefront print shops. You can at least talk to a service rep here, but these places are still not known for quality or problem solving ability.

Best if: You need prints in hand, stat. Need to dash off presentation notes or a few dozen black-and-white flyers? You can get what you need here. These spots are also handy if you need to print and mail a single item.

Skip if: You need design work. Staff offer customer service and minimal technical advice, but aren’t typically trained to do much else.

The Full-Service Marketing Services Provider

Big, bold, and national or international in reach, these companies print campaigns for major consumer brands, catalogs and magazines, and other large-scale products. Quad/Graphics, R.R. Donnelly, and other regional companies are examples.

Best if: You want an entire campaign taken entirely off your hands. These companies often handle concept, design, execution, distribution, and more.

Skip if: You’re on a budget. These players don’t come cheap. And if you have a small request, like only a few hundred copies of business cards or a brochure, working with a company like this may not be worth your time (or theirs).

The Mid-Size Regional Printer

These are local or regional printers, like Oregon, that focus on small print runs for businesses, as well as some design and mail work. They balance automation and customization, and may do some web-to-print sales.

Best if: You need help with a print campaign, particularly one involving variable data. These printers are also a good match if you plan to reorder in the future.

Skip if: You have a super-sized request (think hundreds of thousands of impressions). Or you have a small, one-off job you need in a hurry.

 

We’re not afraid to admit that there are some jobs we’re not the best fit for. But we also believe that regional printers like Oregon offer something that none of the other guys can: a genuine, lasting relationship.

We’re large enough to offer the best in digital and offset equipment and techniques. But we’re small enough to really get to know each one of our customers. To learn their preferences and give advice. To listen to their needs and give them exactly what they want, even when it requires a little creative thinking.

Think of choosing a printer like picking a restaurant: when you’re in a rush, you’ll settle for something fast and easy. If you have money to spend, you could try a busy, high-end joint—but might end up just a face in the crowd.

But when you want community and a meal done right, it’s best to go where people know your name.

Got questions about where to take your print work? Contact Oregon—we’ll point you in the right direction. 

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Great piece Judd! Only the best and most confident business have the courage to discuss the options a customer has openly. It shows that you really do look out for the clients best interests.

  2. One of the most ‘coaching’ posts I have seen. If you need something printed this is spot-on accurate. I’ve been there. Besides, it is well written. Thanks Judd.

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