On-Demand (printing, CD, DVD and other goodies)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

True cost of in-house printing

Just a little rant on a sunny afternoon.... Looks like many people do not realize how much in-house printing or CD / DVD production really costs them. Just recently we had a prospect ask a quote for on demand production of 500-page book. When he received a quote, his first reaction was: "This is way too much, we are currently producing this book in house for around $5.00".
We said "Wow!" and started counting. First, printing itself. In a regular office environment cost of one page printing comes to 2 - 3 cents whether you are using ink-jet or laser printer purchased in Office Depot or professional printer leased or purchased through somebody like IKON (the cost includes paper - we quoted high-quality bright white offset, plus toner or ink) .The difference is only that the cheaper/smaller printers use more expensive inks / toner, and the larger require maintenance contract (1.2 - 1.8 c per page right here, depending on your usage). This is $10.00 - $15.00 for printing "inside" pages. An average non-printer does not have opportunity and equipment to do professional binding in-house, so they are using binders (not very comfortable to keep, carry around or read when travelling). 3-inch binder plus outsourced color cover costs $5.00 (if you order both in large volumes, sinking your capital in printing supplies) bringing total to $15.00 - $20.00 for a "careful-do-not-drop-on-my-toe-12 inch x 12 inch x 3 inch 6-pound binder" Add in spoilage and the time time employees could devote to other tasks (what's the minimum wage nowdays?), necessity to keep track of supplies and deal with broken printer when you urgently need to finish a job - and a professionally-looking 7 x 9 inch book made on demand within one business day at a price close to what you pay for materials alone and shipped to the client looks as a really good deal. .. to us at least :-)
Seriously speaking, when comparing, include all these little extras. Binders and paper are not free even if you take them from the supply closet. And employee time... well, I have a word or two to share about employee time, but not today.