Does your printer look worried? A good sign…

Printers (no, I don’t mean your laser printer) are a lot like auto mechanics. It is hard at first to tell how competent they are. Their profession is both art and science, where many things can go wrong. Some work directly with customers, others only with trade professionals.

As a marketing professional, I like a printer who looks worried when I hand them a job. Since there are many things can wrong when a job is on press, with a worried printer you have chance that he or she is anticipating problems. A sunny, carefree printer, on the other hand, can be a disaster waiting to happen.

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Next time you choose a printer, ask yourself:

  • What’s their attitude? Are they worried or carefree (you now know which is better!)
  • Do they have the right equipment to run the job? They may say they do, but is the equipment theirs or a subcontractor? For example, I wouldn’t give a printer with a 2 color press a four color job. Two things might happen—he’ll run the job in 2 passes of 2 colors each, generally a bad idea; or he’ll subcontract it to another printer—meaning you lose control of the job.
  • Are they professional and organized? For example, is their press area clean or messy? Can they give you progress reports on you project quickly? Your job may be late if they lose track of it.
  • Are their prices competitive, but not too low? Yes, printing is a commodity to an extent, but you can get burned with a lowball bidder. If his bid is more that 10% lower than everyone else, be wary.
  • Are they including the cost of an accurate proof in their quote? To keep their bid low, they may be including a cheaper, less accurate proof. For color jobs, ask for a match print. A laser print or PDF does not cut it for most jobs.



Too picky? Actor George Raft’s career went into eclipse when he turned down the starring roles in four all-time classic movies: Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, HIgh Sierra and Double Indemnity.