Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Vancouver Printing Company Bryce June 13, 2017June 2, 2017 News Hiring the right Vancouver printing company is a big decision. Your printing jobs require fast turnaround time and the most accurate colour possible. Working on a limited budget shouldn’t mean you need to sacrifice quality, however you definitely don’t want to be surprised by hidden fees after the job is complete. Most importantly, when you hire a printing company, you want to make sure they have a long-standing reputation for excellence. So, what questions should you ask before hiring a Vancouver printing company? These 10 questions will help you hire the best of the best. 1. What Kind of Equipment Do They Use? Speed and accuracy are important in the print industry. While you don’t need to be an expert on printing equipment, a little knowledge goes a long way. You’ll want to know if your chosen printer is using offset presses, digital presses, or both. If you’re unsure of which is best for your project, you’ll want to read this article on Offset Printing vs. Digital Printing. Did you know that there’s a new print press that reduces 90% of the waste from colour printing? If you’re organization is environmentally conscious, this will be important to you. 2. Do They Have a Wide Array of Products? Your printing needs are as varied as your business functions. From flyers, direct mail pieces, rack cards, waybills, and business cheques, you need a printer that can handle it all. Think of the most obscure printing job you would need to be done. Then ask your printer if they can handle it. If they can’t, they should at least be willing to source a solution for you so you don’t have to constantly deal with different companies. 3. What Quantities Are They Best At? You may need 10 pieces printed. Other times 10,000. Possibly even 1,000,000. Every printing company has equipment that is suitable for certain quantities. Ask your printer what quantities they’re most efficient at. This will give you an idea of how your projects fit with their machinery. For example, if you’re looking to print 250 standard brochures and you receive a quote of $500, they likely have high setup costs and are more suitable for larger print runs. Another way to do this is to talk to your printing company and ask how the per-piece cost changes based upon order quantity. 4. How Is Shipping Handled? Most of the time, you’re not going to want to pick up your printing job. It can be a huge inconvenience to your day. The majority of printers have no problem shipping your product to you. But at what cost? Discuss the possibility of free (or very affordable) shipping on larger quantity orders. After being a valued long-term customer, your printer may offer you free shipping on everything. 5. What Is the Typical Turnaround Time? When hiring a Vancouver printing company, you need to know what to expect for turnaround times. Sometimes you’re going to have emergency jobs that you’ll need done overnight. Can your printing company handle those? Do they have an up-charge for Rush printing? Other times you’ll have plenty of lead-time before needing a job completed. How many days from when you approve the proof will it take for a standard digital print run? What about an offset print run? 6. Will They Provide a Proof Before Going to Press? Even if you’ve provided a perfectly formatted PDF, sometimes things go wrong. Although many printers don’t provide proofs as a measure of cost savings, the good ones do. Ask your printer if they will provide you a free proof of every print job before it goes to press. This could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars, as well as a ton of wasted paper. 7. What are My Paper Options? Depending on your print job requirements, paper can be a key detail. You’ll want to hire a Vancouver printing company that offers the widest array of stock options. Talk to your printer about what options they have available for each type of print job. The more paper options at your fingertips, the more varied jobs your printer can do. 8. Do They Provide Sustainable Printing? A sustainable printing company will help support your organization’s commitment towards reducing its environmental footprint. In most cases, printing on wood-fibre paper just doesn’t make sense anymore. While there aren’t a lot of sustainable printing companies, there are several reasons to find one. For one, it’s the same price! Sugar Sheet paper, for example, presents no difference in quality, performance, or price compared to traditional paper made from trees. This means you’re saving trees and money. Secondly, your customers will agree with your decision. It’s no surprise that consumers nowadays are taking sustainability into account when making a purchase decision. Ask your printer what measures they take to be more sustainable. Most will tell you they use FSC-certified paper, they recycle, and they use vegetable-based inks. While this is a great start, you’re looking for companies that take it to the next level by using green energy, for example, or other unique initiatives. 9. Do They Have Clients That Are Similar to Your Company? This is very important to know. If you’re a law firm, for example, and they’ve never been hired by another law firm, there may be a reason for that. On the flipside, if they have worked with similar organizations to yours, they’re more likely to be familiar with the type of printing you require and can provide you with valuable feedback. Ask for specific examples of flyers, direct mail pieces, and other print samples that relate directly to your business. 10. Flat Out Ask Them: “Why Are You the Best Choice As a Vancouver Printing Company?” Seriously. Ask this question. After all, you’re interviewing them for your long-term printing business. Their answer will surely help you make the right decision. Don’t have any specific expectations on how they should respond. Have an open mind and see if the fit makes sense for you. Hiring the right Vancouver printing company will turn into a relationship. You want this relationship to fit your needs and the needs of your business. Interview at least 3 different printers before making your decision. Figure out which of these 10 questions most directly relate to your business, and assign each question a point value. For example, if turnaround time is your top priority, make that a 4-star question. If you won’t often need different papers, make it a 1-star question. Grade the printing companies on each question based upon the number of stars you have assigned. When you’re done interviewing each printer, it’ll be clear who the best choice is. Treat it like an interview and you will uncover the best Vancouver printing company for you.