In the past, I’ve mentioned several characteristics to look for when evaluating a potential commercial print partner – experience, knowledge, capabilities, etc. But what about on-site consultation? The willingness and ability to meet at your office to discuss your needs. Remember, you’re seeking a long-term partner and that partner needs to see what you’re dealing with. Sure, you can learn a lot over the phone or through email but nothing beats a one-on-one at your office. While many printers do offer this service, many more do not and it speaks volumes about their business model.

What does it say and why should you avoid them? Let me tell you…

1. Limited production capabilities – Printers that don’t offer on-site consultations tend to have narrow capabilities. They tend to focus solely on one product like business cards, or branded t-shirts. They do a fine job but simply do not have the ability to handle all print needs for a large business.

2. Focused on smaller runs – There are many printers in the area that focus on small jobs. Now, a small job means different thing to different people but generally speaking, these printers target simple ink on paper items such as a flyer or brochure. Again, they do a good job and may be able to do it while you wait, but their production model does not work for a larger business where large runs, complex specs, and lower cost per unit is required.

3. Focused on one-time transactions – Perhaps the most important distinction of this printer type is that they are focused on the job at hand and not necessarily a customer’s comprehensive goals. While that mindset is helpful to complete a quick and easy job, it doesn’t benefit a business looking for a partner that will help them reach their overall print objectives.

As you search for your next print partner, you will come across all types of printers. Be sure to keep “on-site consultations” on your checklist. If they are not able to provide that, you may be speaking to the wrong printer.

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