Feed the Need for Color Printing
The decision to provide commercial printing is often made for distributors—by customers.
A successful distributor isn't likely to turn away a good piece of business and risk opening the door of opportunity for the competition—especially if the job is for an existing customer.
So, in 1994, business form distributor Gary Dunlap didn't have to think twice when he was asked to provide high-end marketing materials.
Actually, the president of The Venture Corporation, Lewisville, Texas, had planned to enter the commercial printing arena when he left Moore Business Forms in 1991 to establish his own company. "Because I and my salespeople always tell our customers 'yes,' they tend to lean on us for everything," said Dunlap.
Even under the best of circumstances, satisfying commercial printing needs is a challenge for experienced distributors—let alone the newly initiated. For his first job, Dunlap's customer was someone he affectionately called a "hot-headed eccentric." "But, I learned a lot," recalled Dunlap, "and I made a good deal of money."
The customer—an entrepreneur with an investment firm—needed marketing materials that consisted of 10 different pieces. "He told me that he wanted his project to 'look like money,'" explained Dunlap. "After he showed me a competitor's piece, I got to work assembling my team, which consisted of a local paper house, a designer, my printing plant and a local mail house. It took a lot of legwork," he continued, "and there was a lot of running back and forth to satisfy the customer's quality needs. It was a seven-color job with registered embossing on an exotic, elephant-hide paper that was imported from Europe."
Today, many of the orders that Dunlap and his associates write are for high-end commercial printing, such as marketing materials and posters. "Our niche is sheet-fed jobs," said Dunlap. "The web market in Dallas is saturated, so those margins are too small with too high of an exposure."