When creating printed materials for a client, graphic designers struggle with the various printing options. Should they offering print and delivery services, or pass the printing process on to the client?
The decision for graphic designers when picking between self-serve and full-serve printing options often comes down to a sense of quality control, time management, customer service, and revenue.
Some graphic designers like the idea of providing the end-to-end service of designing, printing, and providing the finished product to the client. Others would far rather focus on what they do best, and leave the printing process to a trusted partner.
In the end, it’s all about balancing the client’s needs with your business processes to create a customer flow that works for all parties involved.
Reasons Graphic Designers Print Their Designs
Graphic designers usually tackle the time consuming process of printing and delivering the finished, printed artwork for one of 3 main reasons:
1. Quality Control
There is an old saying that if you want a job done right, it’s best to do it yourself. That applies just as well here as it does in any other circumstance.
Setting up a print job isn’t overly complicated, but there are aspects to printing that the average customer simply might not understand, such as crop marks, bleeds, paper selection, binding options, and more.
Instead of risking having their beautifully designed marketing materials printed incorrectly, many graphic designers tackle the process of setting up, proofing, and approving the print job themselves.
2. Customer Service
For others, including the printing within their service agreement is purely to increase overall customer satisfaction. After all, it is much easier for a client to simply approve the designs then receive the finished artwork than it is for them to deal with the files you’ve created.
It also provides another touch point with the customer, when you can meet face to face (if the client is local) to deliver or hand off the finished product. This is often a great time to discuss additional products they may need you to design for them.
3. Revenue Opportunities
Printing quotes are often quite complicated, so it’s fairly simple for graphic designers to be able to add some markup on top of the print job they are creating for their client.
The client will not likely notice the extra 10 – 15% being added to the invoice, especially when they don’t know what the actual cost of printing the finished product was.
Reasons Graphic Designers DON’T Print Their Own Designs
On the reverse side of the coin, there are some equally powerful reasons why graphic designers prefer to hand this particular part of the job off to the client.
1. Time & Trouble
The time it takes to place the order, track its completion, and then deliver the order to the customer could be spent on a far more lucrative and far more interesting design project.
2. Liability For Errors
Although errors in the actual artwork would still – most often – fall to the graphic designer, errors when creating the order would not – if that order was placed by the customer directly.
For example, let’s say that the client wants 500 copies of their newly designed flyer printed, and you accidentally key in 5,000. You would be responsible for the cost of the extra 4,500 flyers that they didn’t request.
3. Cash Flow
Print jobs must be paid for in advance, but as the graphic designer who is including the printing process in the overall job, you may not be able to invoice the client until the finished work is delivered.
By handing the print processing off to another company, you can bill for your services and allow the customer to pay for the print work directly.
Finding a Balanced Printing Option
One way that many graphic designers are finding to balance the pros and cons of the different printing options is by creating a dedicated partnership with a trusted and professional printer.
That way, they know that when they are handing the baton off to the next phase in the project, they are passing it to someone they trust to execute the job right.
And, with a strategic partnership, most printers will offer a referral commission on any print work provided by that graphic designer.
For example, PsPrint is one of the leading online print production and design companies that is dedicated to helping customers stand out from the crowd with their printed materials.
I have worked with the PsPrint team for over a decade and have a very strong relationship with both their production and their referral partnership management, which manages one of the best B2B affiliate programs out there.
Through their affiliate referral program, they offer an 8% referral commission on any orders sent by graphic designers to the PsPrint online ordering system.
That way, all a graphic designer needs to do is provide the print-ready files to the client along with their unique tracking link to PsPrint.
The client places their order, and the graphic designer generates additional revenue with very little additional effort.
For those who prefer to setup the job themselves, PsPrint also offers Blind Shipping so that graphic designers can setup (through their referral link) an order for a customer and have it delivered directly to the customer.
When Blind Shipping is selected during the order process, the shipping label displays your address as the return address, and PsPrint branding is completely absent from all shipped materials.
PsPrint also offers regular promotions that you can pass along to your clients, or keep as additional profit (your choice!).
Selecting the Right Printing Options for Your Graphic Design Business
Whichever option you choose, or whatever blend of options you create, the most important part is making sure that the option is right for you, your business, and your clients.