Many people are understandably hesitant about using a print broker. It’s not usually just one reason they may have for their lack of confidence, but a few that — when taken individually — don’t seem to make a lot of sense. I don’t say this to be disrespectful of anyone, but rather just to point out some of the inconsistencies of their argument.
– “A broker doesn’t work for the print house.” I guess the argument is that since we not an employee of the company, the company probably won’t do as good as job. In fact, the opposite is true. The print shop will probably want to work harder to keep us. We’re an unpaid employee, a free salesman. The better job they do, the more work we will probably bring them, as well as telling other brokers about the shop.
– “There is no direct contact with the print house.” While it’s true we won’t be able to go in the back of the shop and physically check on a job (although we could get proofs sent to us), most print houses don’t WANT salespeople around the actual jobs. It’s dirty, noisy and can be dangerous, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing (like most salespeople…ha, ha, ha).
– “A distributor will select a shop based solely on price.” Sometimes this is true, especially if price is what the end customer is ultimately concerned with also. But other factors are also a concern — quality, timeliness, responsiveness to issues — all things the end user often times doesn’t fully consider.
That said, let me point out some of the benefits of using a print broker. First, getting the job done on time. If I worked for a print shop and the press broke, that would stall everything. However, if getting the job done on deadline is a concern, a broker can simply move the job to another shop — and the customer will never know.
We do the price shopping for you, Rather than having you make 4-5 (or more!) calls to find the best deal, we’ll farm the job out for you to find someone that we can trust with your work, who will do the job on time, and also will do the job at the best possible price. Here’s a quick example of a job we job we just completed.
A customer was looking for a custom print job. We had 2 shops that came highly recommended for this particular job. One came back at a price of $2.30 per unit. The second was at $1.75 per unit. So, if we had went just with one call, it would have been expensive for the customer. The second one saved 55 cents per piece, compared to the first (and for a 5000-piece order, that’s over $2750 we were able to save.)
However, we made a few more calls. The third vendor came in a $1.30 per unit — another 45 cents per unit saved and a full $1 less than our first call — total savings of $5000!
However, on the recommendation of another broker, we made one more call. This vendor would do the job at 85 cents each — yet another 45 cents saved. So, by making a few extra phone calls, we managed to save this customer $1.45 per unit — over $7000 off the original number we had!
Now, how did that happen? Obviously the first vendor — while highly recommended for their work — wasn’t properly equipped to handle this job. The second vendor was better equipped. For the third and fourth, this item was their speciality — they were properly set up and equipped to do the job in a very cost-effective manner.
For my customer, he may have ended up spending $11,500 if we had used the first vendor. By using the fourth vendor, the total cost was $4250.
If you do the math, you can see how a broker sometimes is your best option.