If you google “printers” these days, you will find pages and pages of links to office printing machines, but much less for links to companies that offer print services. What most office laser or inkjet printers can’t do is give you the infinite choice of stock to print on, give the economies of scale gained from volume print runs, provide die-cut shaping, consistent depth of colour and accuracy, or guillotine sizing to your requirements. If you wanted to do all this in-house, you may as well start up a printing business yourself.
Let’s face it, printing can be an expensive service to use in Australia. It’s not the fault of the local printers, don’t blame them. It is because of high transport costs, currency exchange rates affecting cost of ink, paper or machinery, high wages, accounting, processing BAS reports, the burden of government regulation and bureaucratic red tape required to run a business in Australia – and the list goes on. However, if you live and work in Australia, then at least you know that we are all in this together and are interdependent, relying on each other for local support (with a wink for us in that as well!) There would be no communities, no towns and no cities if we all chose to buy products and services from outside. Yes, the internet has changed how business is done now, but, if anything, it has made it easier for money to flow from our domain to accrue in, and benefit, far-away lands. That is one of the important reasons why Wisefocus Designs prefers to use and buy local. That’s why we use eco-green Australian servers. We prefer to buy supplies and services from as close to our locale as we can. The important thing for any business trying to make a profit is to aim for economies of scale. When you ask a lot up front for products and services, you risk losing your goodwill. You can then spend a fortune like our telcos trying to convince your customers to return. In one of my former working lives, I worked as an optical technician for an optometrist in Perth. They were expensive and didn’t discount, but they provided good old-fashioned, friendly and informative service. It worked, and they did very well. The customers were happy to pay more for good service.
The choice we have these days for printing suppliers are through the online printers, the local printers, or even overseas printers. They all have their pros and cons for the consumer, and quality is not necessarily linked to price, location or ordering method – so shop around for your printer if you want to avoid having a lifetime’s worth of sophisticated scrap note paper for the desk.
Typically, unless you use a big printer like Vistaprint, an order for a set of 250 business cards on plain 300 gsm stock could set you back around $60 – $80. Vistaprint’s prices start from a ridiculously low $19.00 for very basic, one-side 4 colour cards. They are big on internet marketing to the point of spamming our email inbox with continuous offers. You will discover often that the order you just put in has been superseded with a better deal than you had before you paid. This tactic is designed to get you to make your own value-added purchase, but personally it leaves me feeling a bit deflated to know that I have to spend more to reduce the expense!
You can get some very cheap printing by ordering online from overseas, but communication can be limiting, especially if the overseas company does not have anyone there who speaks english reasonably well – and would you want a printer, who doesn’t speak english has their first language, to be printing your material?
It makes sense to support your local printer. If we support our local business, we support the community that we call our home and we all help to sustain it and make it thrive – because, what goes around, comes around – and we’re all in it together.