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Pricing is Still All Over The Map

I find it very interesting on how much importance most printers put on pricing as reason why sales are not growing or they are losing clients.

Almost every printer that I know has from time to time price shopped their competitors and they are always amazed at the wide range of prices they get back.  In fact, the prices they get are so inconsistent; it makes it very difficult to use that data to help establish their own pricing.  Why does this happen?

First,  according to the 2012/13 Digital Printing & Wide Format Pricing Study, over 22% of printers still don’t use a computerized print estimation system.  Another 11% use a homemade system or a spreadsheet program.

Second, even with the use of a computerized estimation system, the person entering the information has a lot of control on the variables that they enter.  I have witnessed giving three CSR’s the same sample job and asking them for prices and receiving three totally different numbers.

Lastly, if the job has to be designed and then printed, I have found that the design estimate in my own shop could vary by a factor of 3X.  One CSR will estimate $50 and another $150 for the exact same design.

If this sounds familiar, here are four tips to insure that your pricing is consistent:

1)  Use of the industry designed print estimating systems – I have my favorites but they all can be made to work effectively and consistently for your shop.  Most systems allow you to have pricing templates that make it easy to estimate common jobs.

2)  Provide continuing training for your CSR’s, sales people and estimators.  Have a monthly training session.

3)  Have someone review all of the estimates before sending to the client.  In small shops, it might be the owner and in large shops an experienced CSR or estimator.

4)  Annually review your pricing using industry studies and your costs as guides to monitor your pricing.

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Mitch Evans

About Mitch Evans

Graduate of Lehigh University with M.S. in Management Science. Began career at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) in NYC. Owned Print Tech in NJ for over 23 years - grew to $8mm printing company with 6 locations. Sold Print Tech and started print consulting in 2002. Specializes in M&A, strategic planning, sales & marketing strategies, digital printing, expanding into signage, executive coaching and peer group faciilation.

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