When you print online or outsource overseas, it is difficult to speak to a representative about what the best option for your project would be. It is also hard (and costly) to get paper samples, print proofs, and have a full understanding of what will be delivered ahead of time. For some projects, this may not be all that essential, but for a large scale print job, this is a vital step in ensuring your money is well spent.
There is always a risk when you release your credit card information to an unknown third party or online. If you have been given a recommendation from a colleague who had success with an online or offshore printer, this isn’t as much of a factor. But there have been multiple online and offshore businesses that collect and disappear without delivering. If this does happen, there is very little you can do to get your money back. Most local print shops accept payments in increments or after the project has been delivered. This establishes a higher level of trust. The printer does not get paid until the project is right. If you receive the project, and it isn’t what you wanted, you don’t have to accept it and can request a rerun of the project at no cost (given that the printer was in error). If you never receive the final product, the printer does not get paid in full.
Different paper stock can print color differently and react differently to different inks. When using an online printer, you get a one size fits all approach to the print process. The result is adequate, but not quality. Online printers only offer digital printing, which is less expensive, but is not always the appropriate print method for every project. This also limits the kinds of paper you can use when printing (for example, you cannot use a thick paper stock when printing digital because it will not run through the machine).
Online and offshore printers cannot deliver color proofs or paper samples as easily as local printers, which makes it difficult to adjust your project to ensure the color and content work well with the paper selection. Shipping charges for print proofs can be expensive and timely, and usually involve an additional print charge. Paper overseas is different than the paper in the U.S. and has a tendency to print more yellow, making color matching an essential, timely, and costly step when outsourcing printing.
If the recent recession has shown us anything, it is that small businesses are the back bone of our economy. As a manager/owner of a few small businesses over the course of my career, I encourage my clients to support local businesses. When you support local business, you are helping your local economy succeed, which in turn creates a better community and can even create more jobs.
Most business decisions come down to one simple factor – money. Fortunately, many local print shops are pretty competitive with their pricing. More times than not, the quote I get from a local printer will beat an online printer price. Many online printers advertise low prices, but once you factor shipping, setup charges, and other fees, the project becomes much more expensive than anticipated. Also, if you tell a printer a price quote received elsewhere, many times they can bring down the cost to better meet your budget needs.