How to Choose Where to Print Your Business Stationery and Materials

April Cassidy

| 6 min read

When you have a high volume of materials to print (like several hundred or more), it can be a daunting task. Your organization has a budget. The job needs to be done quickly. And it’s got to look professional.

After all, this is your company’s reputation on the line. Your customers have to be impressed.

What commercial printing options do you have?

You have several good options. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. But it’s great to do a bit of digging to determine which one can best meet your needs with your current project.

You want the best quality, the lowest turnaround time, and a great price.

1. Print in-house

Obviously, you can’t print thousands of flyers, brochures, or business cards on your little office inkjet printer or your home laser printer. Well, you could. But it would end up costing an astronomical amount in toner and the results wouldn’t be high quality. It's just not worth it.

Even just printing a few hundred sheets in-house may not be cost-effective. Your cost-per-click budget may be blown before you know it.

High-volume printing requires much better equipment with better ink cartridges that can provide the professional quality you need. And the price is much more reasonable per piece.

2. Use a chain copy shop

You could go to a chain copy shop. The problem is, you often don’t get very personalized service. There are a lot of things they can’t do in-house. And it’s a good bet you’ll pay too much.

3. Opt for an online print shop

You can also upload your files to an online printing service and they can ship your printed materials to you. This option is convenient in some ways because you don’t have to leave your office or your home.

But you can’t talk with someone face-to-face or hold the different types of paper in your hands. You may not have the opportunity to see the quality of the work in person before you order.

4. Go with an independent print shop

There are also usually some family-owned print shops around town. Independent locations who have found their particular niche. They can often do more for you than a chain copy shop near the University. They may even have lower prices and better quality.

What type of printer do you need?

The biggest issue when you are deciding which option is the best print shop for what you need with your project. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you decide where to print something you need.

1. How many pieces do you need to print?

Are you just printing 35 or do you need a high volume print job—like 500 or more? Your office or home printer may be your best bet for low quantities. But if you need high quantities, you need something that will be a lot more affordable.

2. What level of quality do you need?

If you are just printing out a booklet for a few coworkers for an informal meeting, you may not have to have the most professional-looking product.

But if you are presenting marketing materials to prospective customers, sending a mailing to a wide audience, putting on a large workshop at a conference, or conducting a fundraiser—it’s got to look sharp.

Your printed pieces reflect on how professional your organization looks to others.

3. What kind of printing do you need?

Do you need large format offset printing, small format offset printing, or digital printing? Are you considering only black and white printing or will you need full-color images that are magazine-quality?

4. Do you need help with formatting or design?

If you already have everything completely ready to go in your files and just need someone to print your materials, you may be able to use any print shop.

But if you need someone who has the experience, all the professional equipment, and can help you with layout, graphic design, and other professional services, be sure to choose a printer with all the qualities you need.

5. Do you need finishing services?

If you are printing three-hundred 100 page booklets, you won’t be able to print them in-house. And you can’t use your desk stapler to hold them together. You need a professional finishing service. Maybe a double-wire-o coil. Or perfect binding. There are lots of options that professional print shops can offer.

Perhaps you need a page perforated to be able to tear off a section of a brochure. Or you need folding and collating. Or maybe you also need to be able to print a personalized mailing with variable data.

Or maybe you need something embossed or you want special effects like kiss-cutting to really wow your prospective customers.

If you need more complicated finishing services, you’ll need a specialized professional printer with state-of-the-art equipment who can make your piece and your company shine.

6. Do you need bulk mailing services, too?

If you want to print something to mail, why not choose a print shop that is also a mail house so you can get everything done in one place? All you have to do is send the files and any materials over and they take care of the rest, including transporting your mailing to the bulk mail postal facility.

A mail house/print shop can get you the best postage rates and can even save you hundreds of dollars per year by allowing you to use their bulk mailing permit. They'll also be sure your design will work for the post office before one piece is even printed.

Whatever you need, there is a likely a print shop near you that can take great care of you. The trick is to find the one that can cater to your organization’s needs.

Looking for a local print shop near you in the Columbia, SC area?

We can help with that.

Our insights sent straight to your inbox!