7 Simple Tips to Avoid Rush Fees on Your Next Print Job
Many people working in the print business have gray hair, or no hair at all. One likely explanation for this is RUSH JOBS!! I think I speak for many print professionals when I convey the dread felt when I hear this phrase from an important client on a Tuesday morning… “I need these in hand by Friday!”
Clients hate paying rush fees just as much as we printers hate to have to charge them. I’m hoping that these simple tips will mean more happy clients, and fewer stressed out printers in the world.
1. Expect the Unexpected
Offset printing is a complex process. It becomes even more so when you factor in specialty finishing options such as die-cutting, folding, creasing, or adhesives. If something goes wrong at any stage of the production process, it can add days or even weeks to the turnaround time.
If you have a hard deadline, it’s a good idea to submit your job with enough time to produce reprints if something goes wrong.
2. Take Time for Creative
Printing something in time for your special event or promotion doesn’t mean much if you’re not happy with the artwork, the headline, the call to action, or the marketing message!
If your designer says she can complete the design in a week, tack on a couple extra days for a few rounds of changes. You’ll feel much better about the final product if you’ve had chance to get the look and feel just the way you want it! Also, did you know that your designer is working on your design even when she is not at the computer? It’s important for a designer to have a chance to step away and give their subconscious a chance to work out design challenges. Affording your designer and yourself the luxury of “sleeping on it” is a great way to improve the final product.
3. Mind Transit Times
Many people have their printing done out of state or clear across the country. Most print jobs have a lot of weight to them. You do not want to pay to overnight that 200lb box of bottle neckers, I promise!
4. Be Aware of Complexity
Some print projects are pretty straight forward. Others may involve specialty finishing options such as perforations, die-cutting, adhesives, tag stringing, or creases and folds. Some options may double or triple the production time of a print job. Specialty finishing will also add to the time needed for design / pre-press / creative.
Your printer should be able to accurately predict the turnaround time for these types of projects, no matter how complex. Just ask! They may also be able to provide you with helpful templates and information to speed things up in your design department.
5. Start a Dialog Early
Begin speaking with your printer in the early stages of the project. It’s likely they can provide you with guidance and helpful templates to save time on the design portion of the project.
Let your printer know about the date of your promotion or trade show. Even if it’s 5-6 months away. They should be able to provide you with an accurate timeline for your project. You’ll know exactly when they require final artwork, and you’ll have peace of mind that your materials will be in-hand and ready for the big day.
6. Don’t Surprise Your Printer
If you have a hard deadline, even if it’s months away, it’s a good idea to let your printer know ASAP.
You may experience delays in the early phases of your project. Suddenly it’s time to go to print, and that deadline is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!
7. Be Understanding
If you find yourself staring down the barrel of a rush charge, please remember that we hate to charge them, just as you hate to pay them. Our favorite things in the world are happy clients!
We care much more about your loyalty than we do about the profits from a single job. At the same time, we do have to keep the lights on and the presses running. Most printers are happy to help you avoid rush fees. We just need a little time to anticipate and plan for timely delivery.
We printers don’t charge rush fees just to punish our clients to making us stress out and work harder. When a rush job comes across our desk, we literally have to drop what we’re doing and immediately look at the required timeline. After that, if it’s possible to produce the job in time, we have to figure out exactly how we’re going to make it happen.
When your project is moved up in our queue, it means that other projects are pushed back. We must make sure that those projects are delivered on time as well. Sometimes that means working late to recover from the priority shift.
Specialty printing is a highly technical process that requires the collaboration of many specialized print professionals and many specialized pieces of machinery. A single technical problem can cause a delay that prevents us from meeting your deadline. That’s the worst thing we can imagine, because we hate to disappoint you!
Hopefully with these tips in mind, you’ll be able to print for a hard deadline and confidently ask your printer to “hold the rush fees!”