Printing Quantity vs. Price

Whenever you send something out for professional printing, you have to decide how many copies you need. Many people try to save money by figuring out EXACTLY how many they think they need and only ordering that many. That seems logical, but it often ends up costing them more money in the long run.

Always order more than you think you need

Much of the cost of printing is based on setting up the file, creating proofs, arranging time on the press, and project management. The cost of the actual paper and ink is fairly small. Because of that, there’s often only a very small price difference between ordering a larger batch vs. a smaller batch.

It’s not at all abnormal, for example, to get a bid of $2,000 for 10,000 postcards and $2,250 for 15,000 postcards. So the first 10,000 cards are $0.20 each, but an extra 5,000 cards are only $0.05 each.

But what if you only order 10,000 and end up needing 10,500? Printing an extra 500 later will probably cost you a LOT more than $250, because small print runs are very expensive per piece. Cards that cost $0.20 each in a large batch can easily shoot up to $0.75 or more in a small batch.

So ALWAYS order more than you need. If you end up with leftovers, just recycle them.

Pro Tip: Get pricing for multiple quantities

When you arrange printing, I suggest asking for pricing on the following:

  1. How many you think you’ll need
  2. How many you think you’ll need PLUS 20% to 50%

Then ask if there’s a price break if you go even higher. On a couple of occasions, I’ve actually paid LESS for 5,000 pieces than I would have for 4,000, just because of quantity discounts that kicked in at certain levels. Good vendors will often volunteer that information, but they’re not obligated to, so you need to ask.

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