Have you ever realized you had 5 business cards left right before a big event? What do you do?
More often than not, business owners either run a handful off their printer at home, possibly not knowing where to start on creating a design and risking print quality, or they’ll search online for the cheapest business cards possible. That place is usually VistaPrint. (Eek) While we understand the perks of working with a premade design that you could customize and order right from your couch, we also know the downfalls.
I’ve created a TON of business cards in my years of working in the design industry. For myself, I rarely order the same card twice. When I first started designing, I’ll admit, I went to VistaPrint. Granted, I uploaded my own work, but I loved the control of being able to order cards and other printed material without having to talk to anyone. Plus, seeing that shopping cart grow with product while my costs still stayed super reasonable was awesome. It all felt wonderful… that is, until I got the cards.
First off, they always took about a month to reach my doorstep, and I wasn’t about to pay double the cost for faster shipping since I was going there for cheap stuff. Second, they looked like something I could have done myself with my Epson Workforce. I have a habit of loving full bleed and bright colored business cards, and when I saw the choppy edges and uneven cuts, I knew I couldn’t hand them out. I always think, what would someone think of me as a designer/business owner, if I gave them a poorly printed business card? If it were me, I’d throw it away.
Then I started working with a local printer.
It took me a YEAR to find a printer I liked, and damn was it worth it. I’ve tried all sorts of routes with getting my designs printed (for any type of printing, not just business cards), and there was always an issue. The typical rule of the trade is to pick two: Fast, Cheap, Good.
Good / Great is ALWAYS my top priority, and because of who I am as a person, Fast is usually my second pick. I like to procrastinate. As a start-up, back in 2013, I really didn’t have a ton I could invest in my company, but I made it work based on my values. I’ve paid $20 & $300 for business cards since I started Shanty Town (the $300 ones were letterpressed and awesome and I’m hoping to order more soon). But the best, most cost-effective, AND fastest I could find was from a local printer.
I work with Center City Print for about 95% of my printing needs. We’ve developed an amazing working relationship and it’s to the point where they don’t treat me like a customer; we’re friends and they’re terrific work buddies. It saves so much time and headache to simply email my printer with digital files and breakdown of what I need and get an email back a few hours later that says “Done.”
We’ve gotten a grasp on how we each operate, and if there’s ever something out of the ordinary I need, I call them up and they point me in the right direction. You can’t beat working with real people. If there’s something wrong with my file, or a color seems off, they tell me. They don’t just run the full order with an error. And even though the cost is a little higher than many online print shops, I’m not just paying for the product, but I’m paying for the quality control, the fast turnaround times, the communication, the professionalism, and supporting a small business.
Together Center City Print and I offer packages of design and print to help other small business owners with their printing needs. For those, interested in finding their own local printer to build a working relationship with, I encourage you to make the switch. Everything you put out into the public is a direct reflection of your brand. Show your customers you mean business. 😀