Print Negotiation is NOT Just About Price

admin September 17th, 2013

In this day and age, evaluating printing costs can be very complex. In this article, we’ll show you the questions you should ask, when sending out a print RFP, to gain significant savings on your print invoice, and build a streamlined process to help gain efficiencies along the way.


First of all, here are the key items to include in the RFP:

  1. Specifications based on past issue: quantity; frequency; trim size; page count; paper stock; color; bindery requirements; distribution needs. Apple-to-apple comparison is key to analyzing savings across printer pricing.
  2. Distribution breakdown with all mailing files and addresses for bulk copies
  3. Mailing-class information and postal forms
  4. Schedule requirements


Additional items to request:

  1. General information: location of plant; customer service department; preferred file format; proofing workflow; line screen capabilities; make-good policy; ePublishing capabilities; payment terms; electronic invoicing; over/under run policy; pre-payment discounts.
  2. Equipment list, with printed samples on similar bindery and paper stock.
  3. How do I get our magazine into the mailboxes of members faster and cheaper?
  4. How are your bulk copies packaged and shipped out? Is there a different packaging and type of classification to use for these copies to cut costs?
  5. Are there savings by co-mailing magazine with others? Does the printer offer co-mailing in-house, or through a third-party vendor? Is there additional freight involved with this process?


Be sure to put together one RFP, and distribute to 4-5 printers that you feel will best fit your project. Be a detective. Directly ask each printer what his or her facility would do differently with your title to increase quality, streamline process and cut costs. Not one printer is good at everything. Find the printer that is best for your job.


What type of savings could be found for your association by asking the right questions and evaluating how you handle print negotiation?