5 Key Questions to Ask Your New Print Vendor

 Questions to ask a new print vendor

It's tough to roll out a great print campaign without a great print vendor to help you plan, print and ship your print pieces. Depending on the size and scope of your project, finding a great print vendor can be the most important decision you’ll make regarding your campaign.

Here are five key questions to ask any new vendor to make sure they’re up to the task:

1. What are their quality standards?

One of the best ways to find out if a vendor can meet your expectations is to look at the work they've already done. Ask to see a variety of samples in the same or similar format of your upcoming piece. 

If you need a postcard, ask to see postcards––don't settle for a brochure or another kind of piece. While other products might look impressive, it's much more important to be sure they're capable of producing the specific kind of piece you're looking for.

Be particular in your requests and don’t be afraid to ask for more print samples if you don’t feel confident in their ability to bring your idea to life.

Reputation is another important consideration. If a vendor has worked with companies like yours in the past and produced great work, they’re likely to do the same for you. 

2. What is their turnaround time?

In other words, how quickly can the vendor produce quality work?

While advances in technology have shortened turnaround times on print projects, completion time can still range from hours to days.

The urgency of your project and a vendor’s ability to complete it to your standards in a timely matter should be a top priority.

3. What are their certifications?  

A print vendor’s certifications demonstrate their standards, experience, and priorities. When quality is a concern, look for print vendors who utilize industry best practices, such as a G7 compliant vendor, who will conform to industry-leading specifications and ensure your pieces adhere to those standards no matter what form it takes.

If environmentally friendly printing is a priority, be sure to ask about Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forest Initiative Certifications. These ensure a printer uses products that come from responsibly-managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.

4. What are their capabilities? 

If you're torn between several prospective vendors, one of the easiest ways to narrow your list is to compare the capabilities of each in detail.

Highlight the products and abilities that are essential to your project and ask vendors about the specifics of each of them. The more your vendor can do, the more consistent you can expect the final product to be.

In addition to basic capabilities, it's also important to compare the quality and redundancy of vendors' printing equipment along with their expertise in using it to decide which vendor stands above the rest.

5. Does the vendor have direct mail experience?

If you're developing a direct mail piece, it’s crucial that your print vendor has experience in this niche.

No matter how good a piece might look after it rolls off the press, folds, perforations, and other finishing details can make all the difference to the final look and feel of the product.  

A vendor experienced with direct mail understands the requirements of the post office and will ensure your work is appropriately printed and sorted. Choosing the right print vendor comes down to more than price.

The bottom line is simple: Experience and quality make all of the difference to your print campaign. 

Looking for a print vendor that works closely to understand the goals you’re trying to achieve with your next print piece. Click here to talk to our team or request a quote for your next project. Interested in seeing some of the work we’ve done for others? Click here to view our project gallery.

Topics: Print production, Multichannel Marketing, Campaign-building

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