4 Insider Tips for Increasing Profitability on Your Next Print Job

Written By Allen King

I purchased my first machine back in 1982 and started protecting portfolio books for photographers. 30 years later, I’m proud to say Express Encapsulating is the largest encapsulating business in the UK, with the aim of protecting the nation’s print from damage, so print can look better, for longer, no matter where it ends up.

Published On February 9, 2022

Are you worried about competitors pricing below cost? In the BPIF Printer Outlook Survey for Q2, 70% of printers said they were, making it the number one business concern.
Even though there was growth in the volume of output and orders, confidence is subsiding. And with Brexit-related economic uncertainty, digital marketing trends and pressure from online and overseas providers, I can’t say I’m surprised by these results. However, I don’t think UK printers should be pessimistic because there are many ways to adapt to these market shifts, win business and enjoy a healthy profit. In this blog post, I’m going to focus on the profitability aspect because it encompasses ideas around revenue generation and pricing, productivity and cost management. So if you’re looking for ways to boost profitability, think about these 4 areas.

Upsell finishing to your customers

By selling encapsulation as part of your print service you can add value and charge more.

It’s tempting to focus on reducing your quote price to win the job. But even in today’s age of digital marketing, print still plays an important role – it’s a crucial way companies physically interact with prospects and customers, and they need it to promote their brand effectively. As a result, there are opportunities to upsell a premium service that focuses on adding value (and helping customers get a better result from their print). You can often help customers meet their goals more effectively by recommending lamination or encapsulation at the spec and quote stage. There are many types of jobs where customers simply don’t ask for finishing – even though it will improve the result. Business cards are a prime example. Do you suggest lamination for every business card order? Think about how people use business cards today. They give them out at meetings, networking events and exhibitions. People acquire stacks of them, which sit on their desk to be rifled through when they’re looking for a contact. Lamination is an easy way to enhance the look and feel of the card and help it stand out (increasing the value your customer gets from your print job). Your customer gets a better outcome and you boost order value, so everyone wins.

Spec higher quality paper for premium requirements

This sounds obvious, I know, but it’s worth mentioning for the following reason: I commonly see printers choose a lighter stock when there’s laminating involved because they’re relying on the film to add the extra weight. After all, why not keep costs down by using the less expensive paper you have in inventory (especially with rising paper prices)? This is a false economy for 2 reasons. First of all, plastic costs more than paper, so you’re better off using a heavier stock and less film. Secondly, heavier stock is less prone to issues during lamination, which reduces the amount of error (and therefore waste) that occurs in the run.

Use the right laminating film for each job

Matching film, toner and paper can be a minefield. Talk to a professional to get the right film for your business.

While we’re on the subject of waste reduction, let’s talk about laminating film. Often, printers choose a film and use it for every job, only to find there are frequent issues with sticking, bubbling, curling and more (particularly with digital print, which is harder to laminate). This is because no single type of film works all the time. Use the wrong film and you end up with more waste – on top of the money you’ve spent on materials that aren’t delivering value to your business. You can actually boost profitability by getting advice on the best film instead of focusing on cheap unit costs.

Bring basic laminating jobs in house and outsource the complex ones

Outsourcing jobs can mean better capacity utilisation and ultimately, more profit.

The availability of smaller, affordable laminating machines is the biggest change I’ve seen in the print industry over the past 5 years. At The Print Show last year, approximately 20% of the exhibitors were laminating machine vendors, and there are good quality and value options on the market. Invest in the right machine and you can laminate short-run digital jobs in house, saving you on minimum trade house charges and transport costs. I often see printers get the cost back within a year. But don’t forget that some jobs are more profitable for you when outsourced, so do sound out your finishing house during spec. A 10-minute conversation can help you make the best choice for the customer and your bottom line.

And on that note, give me a ring on 0117 941 4999 or email me at sales@expressencap.co.uk if you want to price up a laminating or encapsulating job, or want advice on the best film to use.

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