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Curbing Price Quote Chaos —Morgan

May 2008
I’VE LONG held the belief that print buyers send their print projects out to bid too frequently. A seasoned print buyer typically knows which of his or her suppliers is best for a particular job, so why do many buyers bid out each of their print projects to an average of three printers?

Our team at Print Buyers decided to get to the bottom of this by reviewing data generated from our popular Quick Polls. Here is what we learned from the people who provided both qualitative and quantitative data in our popular surveys.

Printers Lower Their Prices: In a Quick Poll in March, we asked, “When bidding a print job to several suppliers, how often do you ask your printers to lower their quoted prices?” Thirty-three percent of print buyers said, “Almost never. If we are bidding a job to several suppliers, they should give us their best price the first time. Unless we suspect that a printer has made a mistake with the estimate, we don’t ask them to requote or to lower their price. It’s not fair to request that of our print suppliers.”

Another 48 percent of print buyers said they only ask printers to lower the initial price quote occasionally. “If I bid out a job to several suppliers, and Printer A has the best price, I may decide to request that Printer B match A’s price. There are several reasons why I might do this. For example, perhaps I haven’t given work to Printer B in a while.”

As one of the 92 survey respondents volunteered, “I expect my suppliers to give their absolute best price the first time.” Another stated, “I don’t accept bids that are ‘low-ball’ just to get the work—no supplier can afford to maintain that kind of pricing.”

We asked a similar question to our suppliers: “How often, if ever, do you offer to lower your price when you find the initial price you quoted to a customer was too high?” Surprisingly, 70 percent of the print suppliers said they occasionally lower their price quotes if a customer asks them to do so. As one supplier stated, “If it is a good client and they need help to stay within a budget, we will lower our price. Or if a prospective client wants to use us, but can’t justify the higher price, we may adjust it, taking into account the potential benefits (potential volume, profitability, etc.).”


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