Selecting the right vendor, especially when it comes to printing partners, requires the right set of vetting questions. If you ask the right questions up front, you can avoid costly printing mistakes and delays down the road.
So, what questions should you ask a print-on-demand company when evaluating whether they would be a good partner for your business?
We asked six business owners and printing experts what questions they would ask a printing company. Here’s what they had to say:
What are your areas of specialty? Do you do sample jobs?
Before partnering with a printing company, it is important to understand the limitations of their services. Some companies offer more than others such as graphic design, logo creation, wide format services, etc., which may make them a better partner if a rebrand or something of that nature is on the horizon for your business. By learning about all the areas in which they specialize, you can ensure you are choosing the right partner! Just as important, you should try to get a feel for the service level you will receive. One of the best ways to test service level is to do a sample job with the company. See how long it takes and examine the quality of the final product! Not all printing companies are created equal; some have outstanding service while others are just middle of the road.
Eric Blumenthal, The Print Authority
Do you have the products that fit the needs of my business?
Ask what kind of products they offer. If they do not have products that would make sense for your business, then they are not the right choice, no matter their prices. If they offer a wide selection of products, ask what they recommend for you. Consider their response and determine if they are interested in helping you or simply upselling.
Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional
I have a timeline in mind… are you able to meet this specific deadline?
Before engaging with print-on-demand companies, it is crucial to understand what the timeline for your business would look like. Transparency is a must, and before you sign on the dotted line, it is imperative to know exactly how long the print company believes the printing process will take from start to finish. That way, you as a business owner can evaluate if this company is going to fit your needs and deadlines. It seems simple, but oftentimes there can be conflict surrounding timelines and end dates.
Peter Babichenko, Sahara Case
How quickly can you get an order to me?
It is a seemingly basic question, but if you require quick service then it is important to know that your printing company will be able to handle it. If they have a minimum order time, you must decide if it is something that fits with your needs.
Kenna Hamm, Texas Adoption Center
Do you use environmentally friendly printing materials?
Before choosing a printing company, I would ask if they use environmentally-friendly printing materials in their process! There are lots of companies out there that use toxic chemicals in their ink and other materials which is a deal-breaker for me. If your company is dedicated to sustainability and helping the environment, be sure that your marketing partners are as well!
Nikitha Lokareddy, Markitors
What is your return policy?
Not all print-on-demands are created equal. Some nickel and dime you to death, so make sure you ask questions regarding what is included such as cover design, editing, formatting, obtaining ISBN # and registering with the Library of Congress. Do they warehouse the books for you? If so, what is the per unit cost? How do they handle returns? Ask the same questions of all potential partners to see which is the best fit for you.
Lorraine Bossé-Smith, Leadership Development Coach
This article is created by Terkel, a platform that connects brands with expert voices.