Trade Binderies: The Laws of Justification

Finish On Demand's Patty Traynor.

Gary Miller is on Finish on Demand's roster of employees comprising industry veterans with 25 or more years of experience.

• When the firm’s bookkeeper retired, Rickard questioned the need for a full-time staff person since there weren’t enough transactions to really justify the post. Now Rickard’s accountant sends over a lower-level assistant to tend to the books once every other week, and he’s now paying just a quarter of the former bookkeeper’s $50,000 salary.

• About 25 years ago, Rickard ventured into the mailing business. It quickly became apparent that he needed to exit that business and leave it to those firms that specialize in mailing. “I stuck my toe into mailing, found out what it was all about, and got out in a hurry,” he recalls. “Unlike most bad graphic arts decisions, which take years to rectify, I was gone in less than six months.”

One misconception in some circles is that trade binderies have outlived their usefulness, that the current progression is toward full-service print shops assembling their own comprehensive binding and finishing operations. But, for the trade binderies we surveyed, that is simply not the case. Almost all binderies, to a person, see the logic in printers maintaining some level of binding and finishing gear. Even so, unless your volume can justify it, why take on equipment—particularly in a down economy—unless it’s going to get adequate utilization?

It’s that philosophy that has kept some trade binderies in high cotton for generations, and they’re not exactly going the way of the eight-track tape.

After a stake in her family business was sold, Patty Traynor thought highly enough of the subcontracting viability of trade binderies to open up a new shop last November. Finish On Demand, of Lancaster, PA, is still getting its sea legs, but Traynor is backed by years of experience (this third-generation owner is on the board of the Binding Industries Association), a veteran roster with employees boasting 25 or more years of experience and a passion for the trade binding game.

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