Online Printing Services: Are They Really the Best Option?

Online Printing Services: Are They Really the Best Option?

For all the buzz about digital products and online marketing, businesses continue to get results from providing customers with printed materials. Whether your customers enjoy browsing your products in catalogs that arrive at their front door or ask for a brochure of your services for future reference, you have probably researched a few online printing services to see if any could meet your needs. While any printing service has pros and cons, ask yourself (and any team members that take part in the process) a few questions to determine if online printing services are the best option for your business.

Three Questions to Ask When Deciding Whether to Use Online Printing Services

1. Do You Send Multiple Projects (Each With Different Specifications) to One Printing Company?

When you work with a professional printing company, your business benefits from their economies of scale — as most print a wide variety of items for a wide variety of clients. For example, one client might need three sets of 4-color business cards for new employees while another needs a black and white letter for a direct mail piece. The ability to print a wide variety of jobs, each with unique setups and specifications, means that a printing company must have a wide variety of equipment to accommodate — a considerable investment from monetary and time perspectives, as employees must be trained to operate each one.

If your business currently prints many types of pieces with one printer, switching to online printing services would likely require you to work with multiple vendors. Since online printing services offer far fewer customization options (such as paper weights, sizes, and finishes) than their professional counterparts, it is unlikely you will find an out-of-the-box solution for all your projects at one online printer. So, while online printing services often appear cheaper at first glance, a deeper dive quickly reveals sacrifices you will have to make to get those savings.

2. Do You Have Someone on Your Staff to Manage the Online Printing Services?

Professional printing companies require minimal oversight from your end because they have a team of people working on your job. However, since online printing services promote themselves as a cheaper DIY solution, you shouldn’t expect the same white glove service you would receive with a professional printing service company — and, if you don’t have someone on your team who can closely monitor the printing process, you might have to hire someone for that task.

For example, if you send an Adobe InDesign file to a professional printing company and the mechanical specifications are off, the company will probably have one of their own graphic designers quickly fix it for you (gratis). However, were you to send that same file to an online printing services website, you would get an error message upon upload and no guidance about how to fix. While this might not be an issue for a large corporation that has in-house design and production departments, smaller businesses rarely have the luxury of having dedicated printing experts on-staff — which is why many work with a professional printing company.

3. Do You Ever Have Rush Print Jobs?

Professional printing companies understand that emergencies happen and sometimes you need a specific item printed yesterday — and they do their best to accommodate. However, if you use an online printing services website and need a rush job, you might be fresh out of luck since you need to factor both printing turnaround time (which can range from one to six days depending on the service and the job) plus shipping time.

The most alluring feature of online printing services is their low price, something always on the mind of businesses big and small. However, when you consider that online printing services offer minimal (or no) customer support, many businesses pause and wonder if the low cost outweighs the risk of not having a dedicated team of experts working to ensure their job comes out perfectly. If you are on the fence about using an online printing services website for your next project, contact the printing professionals at Dollco and ask for a free quote — which includes Dollco’s 100+ years of experience as an industry leader and a world-class team dedicated to making your project a success.