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How much should I mark up print projects that I purchase for my clients?
Answered by Suzanne Morgan

How much should I mark up print projects that I purchase for my clients?

Many advertising agencies and design firms mark up print projects that they purchase and manage the production of by 15% to 20%. This percentage mark up may or may not be appropriate. It depends on several factors. One important factor is the value or expertise that the agency or design firm brings to the project. If there is enough value, then this mark up or an even higher amount may be warranted. Another factor is the total cost of the project. If the cost of the printing is $1,000, then 20%, or $200, may not be sufficient. If the total cost is $1 million, then $200,000 is most likely way too much. And another factor is whether or not the agency or design firm is being compensated for managing the production of the project in addition to the mark up. For instance, some companies charge an additional cost per hour for production fees. While other companies may not mark up the printing at all – but instead charge flat hourly fees for print production and proofing.

This can be a sensitive issue. Many clients have decided to buy their own printing to avoid these mark ups. In the past, some agencies have taken advantage of mark ups and have given agencies as a whole a bad name. It’s best to be open with clients about how your company operates. Then honestly and clearly communicate the value of handling this service for them.

Members, I’d love to hear your advice on this matter. If you’d like to share your thoughts with the e-community, please send me an e-mail titled "marking up print projects" at

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