Printing. It is a short little word. Only two syllables. Who would have thought that an eight-letter word could be such a headache? How many four-letter words can you think of to describe the whole printing process? I stopped at about 20. I could have gone on for another 100 or so, but it was early and I hadn't had my coffee yet.
I am the marketing director for a small company. Guess who gets to listen to every complaint about the printing mistakes? Pages missing, not the right amount of materials shipped, etc. I'm sure you get sick of it, too. Finding a printer that will meet your expectations and goals, every time, takes a huge amount of research and the occasional trial and error. I spent several months and worked with three companies before getting it right. I discovered two concrete facts: Everybody offers the same products, and nobody's product is the same.
Everybody offers the same products as far as material and services, but nobody seems to do it the same. Personal contact is actually rare in online printing. If you have a problem, you have to send an e-mail that may get answered in a few days. Don't bother complaining about a botched order, you will be lucky to get your money back. Sure, I had some lousy experiences. The budget was small. I tried overseas. A couple of times like that and my budget increased. Most people get their first impression of your company through the printed material that you send them. That first impression is more important than getting a cheap deal.
The price really isn't the issue, either. Who you buy from is even a secondary concern. What matters the most is whether or not you feel secure after you push the “confirm” button at the end of the order form. That is the end result of the research and trial and error. That sense of security will allow you to move on to the next crisis.