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Should I Use a Local Print Shop or Online Printing Service?

July 12, 2023 In Industry News

Over the last couple decades, online printing services have emerged as a popular way for businesses to complete their print projects. Most see it as a convenient, inexpensive way to produce their prints with minimal effort required on their part.

However, we’ve heard from many of our clients that when they work with an online printer, they find themselves missing the expert advice and personalized service you’ll find at a local print shop. In fact, once they switch to a local printer, many businesses realize the online sites didn’t offer as many advantages as they once thought. Before you submit your next print project, consider the benefits of working with a local printing company over a big-box online service.

Learn From Expert Advice

The people who run your local print shop have likely been in the printing business for many years. It may even be their family-run company that they’ve worked at since they were kids. (Trust us, we speak from experience.) With those decades of experience comes an abundance of insider tips they’ve learned from the thousands of different projects they’ve personally worked on. Your printer can suggest additions or substitutions that will make your print pieces more effective, and even give advice on how to get more bang for your buck. With an online print service, you’re limited to the options and instructions they’ve included on their site. Without a real “face” behind the company, these sites can’t offer personalized service and advice based on years of hands-on work.

Enhance Effectiveness with Custom Projects

One suggestion a local printer can provide is a more custom approach to your project compared to the standardized templates you’ll often find from mass-market, online-only printers. As they ask questions about the purpose and goal of your print project, a local printer can propose unique options that will support your objectives. Based on their experience, they might advise you to use a different size print to catch attention more effectively or add a specialty finish to prolong the life of the piece. If you work with an online printing service, you may only start thinking about these options after spending your money on less-effective alternatives.

Receive Faster Service

While it may seem like the online mega-printers would be the best option for quick, hassle-free printing, that isn’t always the case. Online services can sometimes complete print runs quickly, but then they must take the time to ship and deliver the prints to wherever you’re located. This will take days and even weeks depending on your location and the shipping speed you choose to pay for. In addition, if this is the first time you’re using the print service, it might take some time to learn to navigate their interface and complete the submission process. When you work with a local printer, you can rely on their team to do more of the back-end work, and they can walk you through the submission and approval process for a more seamless experience.

Eliminate Extra Costs

In addition to prolonged lead times, online printers also often pile on additional fees that add up over time. Shipping can be a substantial added expense, depending how quickly you need your products to arrive. If you really need to the print job completed quickly, you may need to pay for rush fees, which can be up to three times the cost of a standard project. Online services also typically charge for physical proofs, as they typically rely on digital copies, which don’t always accurately represent the look and feel of finished print materials. If the site makes a mistake on the project, which happens fairly often due to high quantities and rushed service, you’ll be subject to paying for your own reprints.

For local print shops, additional shipping fees are unnecessary. As soon as your print is off the press, you’re free to come pick it up and get it in circulation immediately. Perks like physical proofs are free, which will help ensure that your pieces turn out exactly the way you envisioned them, without overlooked errors or misrepresented designs. As an Indianapolis printing company with more than 90 years of experience, we love helping local companies achieve their print goals and bring their ideas to life. Contact us to get started on a new project, or search for local print shops in your area for expert service.