Tune In to Commercial Printing
Quality, not cost, gets the job.
Finding A prime-time spot in the commercial printing industry isn't so much about money. In fact, the attempt to out-bid competitors with low-cost quoting may even shake the confidence of fast-track clients who seek quality, talent and respectability.
"You can't put a price tag on this type of job," said Andrew Duke, co-owner of Metrographics Printing & Computer Services, Fairfield, N.J. "It's all about image and quality as opposed to function and usability of forms. Price is about third on the list of priorities for commercial printing customers."
According to Duke, high quality work and top-notch servicing rank first and second on the priority scale of such clientele. In a market with no predictability and flourishing creativity, there's no room to cut corners, he noted, and cost is usually not a problem—a completely different op-portunity than basic forms production presents.
That is the reason Duke originally sought to acquire commercial jobs, which represent 60 percent of his business. "We were selling typical forms and envelopes and the same people buying those products needed to buy commercial products," he said.
By venturing into the commercial market, Metrographics now rubs shoulders with the likes of Calvin Klein, Donna Karen and Ferrari print buyers. Typical projects include the production of garment posters, catalogs and magazines that require precise multi-color processing, skilled press operators and a passion for details. "In this market you are dealing with highly trained professionals. They know as much as, if not more than, most of the people selling this stuff. You can't fool them, so you better know what you are talking about," said Duke.
Scott Seeley, executive administrator, Whitlock Business Systems, Madison Heights, Mich., couldn't agree more. Most of Whitlock's work was comprised of business forms—until five years ago. "Commercial production is different. Starting from the art and concept of the piece, these jobs are much more labor—and talent—intensive," Seeley said.