What Print Buyers Want -- Printer, Now Buyer, Tells All
When Cowgill first meets with a prospective printer, he asks to see samples of what that shop can produce completely in-house. And, he wants to see their equipment list. If he’s shown a sample that has been diecut, and he doesn’t see diecutting equipment on the list, he poses questions. He also wants to be able to compare prices from shops that have similar capabilities.
“I don’t want to be put in the position of taking the lowest price, and then have them come back to me to tell me there was a problem with the estimate,” Cowgill says. “Also, when I get a series of really low quotes, I will check to see if these guys [printers] are paying their bills for paper or if their accounts are in trouble. I don’t want to find out that the printer I just sent work to is going out of business next week.”
Cowgill asks a printer to give him its best price. He doesn’t like to haggle over prices. “If they give me a price, I don’t want them to have to sell a kidney in order for us to do business,” he says. “But, in turn, I am going to take what is best for each of my clients. I prefer to award as much work to one printer as possible. I want to make it worth their while to do business with me; not $100 here and $100 there.”
When there is a problem with the printing process or printed product, Cowgill will bring in the sales rep to discuss his concerns. He claims he even offers the printer a forum to explain what happened, what went wrong and offers the company two more chances to resolve the problem(s).
“At that point, I may be looking for a replacement,” he admits. “Once I see that the issues are greater than we can work around, I will cut the ties. They say, ‘If you don’t hear anything from your client, they are probably looking for your replacement.’ The worst thing that a printer can do is ignore the ‘quiet’ customer.”