Why are printers so inconsistent with pricing?

Answered by Dick Gorelick

Since the economic slump hit late last year, the disparity in quotations from my suppliers is growing wider and wider. What’s going on?

A cardinal rule of print buying is that, given enough time and effort, you can always buy it cheaper. That’s fine if price is the sole criterion of the buying decision. No two buyers of print have the same situation or value system. In fact, your own criteria may change from job to job. Look carefully at quotations to make sure that your criteria are met. Those criteria could include:

This list could go on and on. The point is that price is one element of value. Consider the others.

In the meantime, the disparity in quotes is likely to get wider and wider as some printers struggle to make ends meet. Many suppliers and would-be-suppliers are struggling with cash flow and sales volume. Be careful of a low front-end price. It may be followed by excessive alteration charges or excessive billing for overs. Whatever the case, make sure that you will be receiving all the services you want and need — and an attractive price may be only one of them.
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