Why Not To List Your Screen Printing Prices Publicly

Business Lessons

How loyal are your customers?

Are they shoppers or are they returning customers? Do you worry that your customers will go elsewhere to find less expensive options? 

In this day and age, you can always find cheaper. You can always bargain hunt. If you want to be the bargain printer, expect to print at extremely low margins. There is always someone out there that will beat you for a few pennies. 

There are shops out there that will go as far to research all their competition, and publicize their prices just a few cents less to make sure they are advertising the best prices. 

Does this help your business? Does it put you at a competitive advantage? Or does it show that you are the low-cost, cheap alternative? Is that what you want to portray?

Let's compare it to other industries as a consumer...

Do you always buy the cheapest produce at the grocery store? Do you shop through the catalogs and then decide where you will get your apples? Or, do you look to see what is the freshest and will give you the greatest value?

Or, do you have a favorite grocery store that you frequent? Do you care about convenience and use an app like Instacart or Amazon Fresh to get your groceries? Times are definitely changing... What factors go into picking that grocery store today vs five years ago? What about that $5.00 Starbucks brew vs the cup you could make for a few cents at home.

Consumer behavior is changing. Your business needs to adapt. 

Let's relate this to our industry. What you learn as a consumer to our printing industry is that you get what you pay for. If you pay for the cheapest press, the screen tape that is on discount, and the emulsion that always has a clearance, it affects your business.

Should your business be the same way to your customers? 

This could hurt your business in the long run if you try to over advertise pricing. It could lead to customers that buy your "what" instead of your "why". 

On the flip side, having some visible pricing might be a good thing. Showing ballparks and figures is not a terrible practice. Though, that could be taken as a bait and switch if you advertise low and show customers a higher figure later on. 

Let's look at the central question here in order to answer the question. 

Is every print job the same? 

  • Is a 2 color job on one darks the same as lights?
  • Is customer created artwork easier or harder to use then your stock designs?
  • Does the time of year matter?
  • What about the type of garment customers are requesting?
  • How about the amount of detail the customer requires? Are the customers expecting the Rolls Royce of printing, or do they need something simple?
  • Will you be able to do the artwork in-house, or will you have to send it out for digitizing and separation if it is a difficult print?
  • Will a job require more raw materials to print, expensive ink, special screens etc?

The answer should be quite obvious: no two print jobs are the same.

Therefore should fixed pricing be advertised?

Some shops may argue that they have every price figured out but truth be told, unless you are a contract printer, that has an a la carte menu for everything, you are working with a big question mark everytime you take an order from a consumer unfamiliar with the industry, therefore you should think twice about being an open book and setting expectations that may be unfavorable to you. 

Working with you is a special experience. That is what you need to sell. 

If you turn your business around to selling your "why" first, price becomes less of an issue. You should get your customers excited about your business. Why you are the best solution for them, and why they should trust you to take care of them. Once they trust you, price becomes less of an issue. 

Remember who your customer is. They are the parent on the baseball team, the PTO chair responsible for fundraising, the admin assistant at the office. They have a goal to get decorated products for their group, company, or organization, correctly. 

They don't want to deal with the headache of ordering apparel, they just want it off their desk. If you make their lives easier, a few pennies one way or the other, may not be a big deal to them. They should want to work with you and you only, regardless of your price. 

Instead of advertising every price on your website here is what you should do instead:

1. Create a strong website that creates a sales funnel to a contact or inquiry form.

Your website should have contact forms, inquiry forms, email templates everywhere. Websites have changed now and users are spending less time on it. They are not going to dig through every sub-category. Keep it simple and have most of your relevant information on the frontpage. The key here is to have them translate from a visiting online customer to an inquiry. 

2. Develop an initial call or email with customers that explains your business and asks good questions.

Give them a ballpark price over the phone.

"This all sounds great, and we are going to take great care of you. Right now it looks like the t-shirts will be roughly $7.50 a piece, but to get you an accurate quote I will need to look at your designs, and I will email you shortly. Expect to hear from me in the next hour."

This is where you underpromise and overdeliver with a better price. Set conservative expectations of the phone, and blow them away in the quote. 

3. Create a custom tailored quote for them that they can get quickly on any of their devices. 

Make sure you send them a quote that is professional, complete, and simple to use. It should feel like the beginning of the sales process.

They should be able to easily accept it and start the ordering process. Make sure the email is as simple as clicking accept, and emailing over sizes to get started. 

4. Follow up with them immediately and consistently. 

You should be able to keep your quotes organized, and know exactly how many and to who you are sending them out to. If you keep your quotes and invoices organized, you can contact them consistently until you close that job. 

5. Price based on the season.

You should consider pricing your jobs based on the season of your business. If you are slow during certain months, you should advertise specific pricing for a period of time.

This is where you can run flash sales through your email campaign or social media. Your customers should be incentivized to help you when your business is slow. 

The same goes for a busy season. If you are printing over time and second shifts, pricing changes, and customers expect their goods like normally, they should know about the supply and demand of your business, just like other industries. 

All in all, price to win customers and orders that help you. Don't feel bad for turning a customer away because they want strict pricing. Recognize this will help you grow and create a loyal customer base.

Image source: Rush Order Tees


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