Paper Markups and Customer Supplied Paper
Earlier this year, Margie Dana asked me to comment on Directed Buys. You can read what I said by clicking here.
This led me into a discussion of customer supplied paper, a close cousin to directed buys. It has always seemed to me that printers should buy the paper, with exceptions for major publishers or other large print customers who buy more paper than the printer does and have the infrastructure to handle it. But some print customers want to buy the paper because printers mark up the paper, and they want to avoid the markup.
I have never quite understood the rationale for these markups, and said, “I think it’s unfortunate that the print industry has gotten into a business model where they ‘mark up’ the paper.” This got some strong push back: printers, like every other business, has to cover their overhead—the cost of handling paper, etc.
No question. But are paper markups the best way to go? Where else do you get into talking about a supplier’s costs and how much they mark it up? The more I explore this, the more I think that paper markups are not the way to go. I’m a paper guy, not a printer (and that frees me up to ask the dumb questions about printers) but I have to think that a printer would like to make the same profit on a job regardless of who buys the paper, and maybe even add a bit extra to allow for unexpected problems with paper or a paper supplier that may not be familiar.
So, I started to ask questions, and I launched a small survey. So far, only a few responses, but the results are fascinating.
Printers don’t know how much to mark up paper: 21 percent mark up paper less than 10 percent; 25 percent mark up paper more than 25 percent. The rest fall in between.