When it comes to selecting a printing partner, no two companies are exactly the same.
Here is a list of ten questions that will help you get a feel for the level of experience, dependability, and craftsmanship of your printer-to-be.
What is your printing company’s core product offering?
Follow up question: What is your experience printing materials for our specific industry or niche?
Just like you wouldn’t take your high schooler to an elementary school, you wouldn’t take your college course materials to a children’s book printer.
For this reason, do a bit of research before approaching your would-be printer and get a feel for the type of product they’re knowledgeable about and known for putting out.
If you aren’t able to find this information online, simply ask!
What is your policy for handling confidential or proprietary information that may be included in our print projects?
Depending on the nature of your materials, confidential information may need to be handled appropriately by your printer of choice. In order to protect your assets and prevent uncomfortable, costly breaches of privacy, be transparent about your needs and expectations.
Ask your printer if they have a history of dealing with sensitive, proprietary materials, and allow them to ease your mind with what is (hopefully!) a well-informed answer.
Still in doubt? Talk to any former customers and ask them to describe their experience using said printer. In the event you aren’t able to speak with someone directly, the next best strategy is to read online reviews.
What is your process for handling and storing digital files related to our print projects?
Every creator wants to make sure their materials and ideas are being handled with care. Ask your printer what their process is for holding onto and storing materials, both digitally and in print.
A few questions to ask could be, are end-to-end digital communications encrypted? Is your print data being stored in secure servers? Are your printed materials being made on demand, or are you batch processing and allowing them to be warehoused?
Will we be working with a dedicated account manager or a team of customer service representatives?
The quickest way to guarantee customer satisfaction is by establishing a point person for your primary business communications.
Ask who generally oversees customer service interactions, and follow up with questions about who will be in charge of tending to your order. The more information and accessibility you have, the better you’ll feel (and the more accountability you’ll have!).
What types of paper and binding options do you offer?
While the needs of your project will vary, having options for your printed materials will allow you greater creativity and flexibility.
Ask your printer to describe what they have on hand, and what they are able to offer you in terms of both paper and ink, as well as binding and publishing options.
What is your typical turnaround time for printing projects?
While all industries have approximate turnaround times, you want to make sure the order you place is able to be created, packaged, shipped, and delivered all within the window of time you need.
Ask your printer what their average turnaround time is, and be honest with them about exactly when you need your order filled. A great printer will be fast, efficient, and keep you updated at every step of the process.
What is your pricing structure for printing services? Do you offer any bulk printing discounts?
Nothing hurts more than thinking you know what you’ll pay, and then being shocked when the final bill arrives!
Ask your printer for an up-front cost appraisal of your materials, and don’t be shy about inquiring about bulk discounts. A good printer will value their relationship with your academic facility and work together with you to create a payment system that is both fair and honors the amount of business you will be providing to them.
What is your quality control process for printed materials? What is your policy for handling print errors or defects?
Sure, you want your printer to be knowledgeable and fast—but you also want them to be accurate!
Ask your printer-to-be about their policies around defective, damaged, delayed, or misprinted materials. A good printer will be transparent and offer you a reasonable approach to righting any wrongs—especially when the mistake is the responsibility of the printer.
Do you offer any design or pre-press services? What ideal file formats do you accept for projects?
This is another area where you can truly allow your printing partner to show or his or her knowledge!
Ask about their capacity for design, in addition to the file formats needed to produce the materials you have in mind. A good printer will be able to articulate your design specs in simple terms and deliver you an excellent product using the specifications laid out.
Can you handle the shipping and delivery of my printed materials? Do you offer fulfillment services?
While not all printing partners have their own shipping and logistics systems, some do!
Ask your printing partner how they plan to ship and deliver your materials, and where you can go to track their on-time delivery. After all: you already work hard to create amazing packets, workbooks, books, and kits. Shouldn’t your printing partner be able to handle the rest?
High Quality Books and Kits, On Time (And Fast)!
At JPS Books and Logistics, we pride ourselves on being a one-stop-shoppe for all things printing and publishing.
Get started today and see how seamless the process of creation can be!