Printers Are in a Unique Position to Offer More Than Just a Service
What value are we bringing to the printer-customer dynamic? And how are we more than just a provider of printing services?
I’ve been thinking about questions like these a lot lately, especially as they relate to our nonprofit clientele.
We value all of our customers, of course, but we know that nonprofits often operate within intense budget constraints.
So how can we help them do more with less?
The Biggest Way Nonprofits Can Save on Printing Costs
Believe it or not, after almost 30 years in this business, I’d say the best way for printers to help nonprofits save money comes down to something seemingly simple: educate them on the importance of being better organized. I’m talking specifically about getting their print projects carefully planned out way ahead of time.
That means using tools like an editorial calendar and accurately envisioning the entire timeline of a printed piece — from the initial planning discussion all the way to the target date for its arrival.
In fact, we encourage our customers to start with the target date and then work backwards.
We also want them to let us know ASAP about their goals. That way we can make sure that their expectations are realistic from our perspective.
Other considerations we try to press upon our customers include anticipating the hold-ups in the review and approval process.
Organizations always seem to have certain people who take longer to get things done. We suggest building those possibilities into their calendars in order to get a truly realistic timeline established.
Straight-talk to Customers About Increased Costs
Now, I’m not naive. I don’t expect that our suggestions are going to have immediate results. But I do think it’s worth the effort to share our knowledge.
Nonprofits take pains in so many ways to run more cost-effectively. But every printer knows that a rushed print project usually ends up incurring costs that could have been avoided with better planning.
When possible, I suggest we help our nonprofit customers understand how to keep their printing costs down by pointing out things like ...
- Unexpected schedule changes can lead to added costs because of overtime and expedited shipping of print products.
- Errors skyrocket when a project is hurried along and people get frantic.
- Mailing costs go way up when you’re forced to use first class postage for faster delivery.
- Mailing lists should be analyzed to make sure they’re updated and targeted.
- Less expensive printed items such as self-mailer brochures and donation envelopes can be just as effective as more elaborate pieces.
As printers, our days can easily be consumed with the service we provide.
But speaking for my own company as well as lots of other printers I know, we have the insight and experience to be so much more than just a printer provider.
When we go out of our way to help nonprofit customers save money, we’re not only helping these organizations further their valuable missions.
We’re also giving them a reason to keep coming back for more — not just to get something printed but also to benefit from a partner who’s invested in their long-term success.
Chris Yuhasz founded POV Solution as a basement desktop publishing business 27 years ago in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. POV Solution provides printing services from Cleveland, Ohio, servicing clients coast-to-coast with commercial printing, graphic design and spot UV printing for finishing services.