The Best Commercial Printer in Canada

Trade-printers are the essential key to being The Best Commercial Printer in Canada.

The Best Commercial Printer in Canada  has to know about Trade-Printers.  These are printers that work only for other printers, print-brokers, and graphic artists and do not sell to the public at large.  Printer Brokers and Graphic Artists, sure, I get that…but other printers???


Why, if you are a printer, will you send work to another printer?  In a nutshell – you do it because it is cheaper than doing it in-house.


How do trade-printers print a job cheap enough to sell at a profit and still leave enough margin in the product for the buyer to resell at a profit that makes it worthwhile doing?  Well, there are many ways for a trade printer to cut costs but in the main, location and specialization are the 2 big ones. 


Location is easily explained: to be a commercial printer you need public traffic; you need to be visible, to glean customers.  To do this you locate in a commercial business district; the more visible you are and the more densely populated the area is, the higher the rent will be.  The machinery you need is not small so space requirements and rent are major costs to the operation.  Conversely, if you are a trade-printer, your machinery is usually even bigger and you locate in industrial areas, outside of major cities, where rents are cheaper.  Visibility for trade-printers is not of great concern, in fact, you do not want the public to know where you are.  Your customers are as I stated above, commercial printers, print-brokers and graphic artists.  You glean these customers from a wide trading area through Internet and trade magazine advertising.  So the first way to cut costs is cheaper rent.


Specialization has many varied aspects each of which are part the montage that is fused together to create a viable operation.  The first rule of thumb is, print what you like, what you are good at and your customers will stay loyal to you.  All printers require repeat business to stay alive, if you are always starting new work from scratch, there will not be enough time in the week to be a profitable operation – so repeat customers are a must.  Once you have decided what you are good at you buy the best press available to do the job, the fastest production speeds, with the lowest operating costs.  You then decide what other jobs this press will do well and buy the necessary ancillary machinery to complete your compliment of equipment.  Once done, the next thing you need is skilled and unskilled labour that can be hired with experience or trained on the job; then create a workflow with checks and balances to minimize error and maximize speed of production.  Now the operation has equipment, labour, and workflow that have shaped the specialization in the marketplace.


There is a few things left that can help reduce the costs of a trade-printer:  the reduction of stock to a few SKU’s and negotiation of price for volume buying and the negotiation of courier rates.


So how do trade printers get and keep customers?  Well, this is pretty basic business sense: produce a quality product at a price that allows your customer to resell the product in the marketplace at a reasonable profit, do it fast and never sell to the end user (your customer’s customer).  As I stated above trade-printers advertise in trade-magazines, which is very effective, in fact it can be argued that much of what is written in these magazines is ignored while the advertising is paid close attention to.  Internet based advertising and direct mail are also very effective methods of attracting customers. 


One thing that is has become increasingly important is the web gateway used to interact with the customers.  Customers are very busy people, just as trade-printers are, and need to be able to negotiate a trade-printer’s website, obtaining quotations, uploading artwork, and tracking orders with ease and speed.  The customer’s need for ease and speed are balanced against the trade-printer’s need for efficient workflow.  If quotations require 20 minutes to negotiate on the Internet then customers will become frustrated and just email the quotation department thus reducing the efficiency of the trade-printer’s workflow.  The customer may become so frustrated that they search for another trade-printer with and easier site to negotiate.  These same principles apply to the ordering process, which should be able to be accomplished easily.  I have found that sites that are set up to accept Google AutoFill or just remember my information are much easier to deal with than those that do not.

Steve in Italy 2007
Steve in Italy 2007

The Best Commercial Printer in Canada has to know and deal with many trade-printers and be able to obtain quotations from several trade-printers specializing in the same set of jobs.  At a minimum The Best Commercial Printer in Canada must deal with trade-printers specializing in thermography, process colour ink, multi-head spot colour, forms, envelopes, short-run digital toner both colour and black, and finally high-volume multi-page.  The Best Commercial Printer in Canada has to understand as much about the printing process as possible; at a minimum what the artwork requirements for each trade printer are, but also understand how the trade-printer’s specialization works thus tailoring jobs to run in the trade-printer’s specialized workflow with maximum efficiency. 


Trade-printers do not always accept new customers “at first blush”; the print-broker must show that he is a serious customer that will send a constant flow of work to the trade-printer and is not part of the general public masquerading as a print-broker.  The Best Commercial Printer in Canada will talk to the sales-team and customer service representatives, go to tradeshows and give references from other trade-printers dealt with. 


Trade-printers are the essential key to being The Best Commercial Printer in Canada.


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