Most in-plants have a published price list that covers their common services that may include a selection of papers, B/W and Color printing, wide format, finishing, services like laminating and foam core, and specialty products.
Consumers today want simple and fair pricing: this applies to all online shopping systems, not just in-plant Web to print. Customers also prefer to see pricing instantly and not have to wait for each job to be estimated. They do understand that large projects need to be estimated by you or your vendors to get the best price.
When it comes to pricing, there are a lot of options. Some common ones include:
- Digital pricing based on clicks, paper and finishing
- Fixed (per item) pricing
- Pricing "recipe" for products that you support
- Offset price estimating
- Custom quoting workflow
- Discount price tiers
- Different price "card" by customer or print center
- The ability of the shop to make pricing changes as needed
Most Web to print systems support a variety of pricing models, but they don't generally offer an instant estimate for offset jobs, since these tend to be larger jobs. But, don't start in the middle of our Web to Print Best Practices series; start from the beginning.
4 In-plant Pricing Best Practices That Will Make Your Customers Happier and Your Life Easier.
- Use one price for work produced on different equipment. While it might cost more to produce a job on one printer versus another, your customers don't know this and won't like paying two different prices for the same work. Use a blended price that will work and still make your revenue targets no matter which equipment you use to produce the jobs.
- Configure your Web to print software to produce an instant estimate 80-90% (or higher) of the time. All catalog items and most ad hoc uploaded files for ordering should be included.
- Build in a standard set up and/or per piece charge for finishing tasks like coil or wire binding for pricing consistency. I use the auto repair example of fixing your brakes. Most repair shops will give you a fixed estimate for labor and parts.
- Don't build click charges, paper and light finishing into one price per sheet. Customers who do this find it difficult when the cost for paper or clicks change independently. Separating these into separate charges is clearer for the customer and easier to adjust when your costs change.
In-plant pricing challenges are different than a commercial printer's and vary depending on the organization, the operating philosophy, the funding model and more. You may or may not be a profit center, you may or may not have to cover building and administrative overhead for accounting, HR services, etc. No matter what, you will need to make your pricing model work to meet your targets while making pricing as easy as possible for your users and management to understand. The next article in our Web to print best practices will discuss production and automation.