Printing Business Cards at a Local Print Shop

Posted by: Matt Geer on Jul. 6th, 2011
Printing Locally

Local printing presses have been used for a long time. If I had to guess though, the number of people using local printers has declined over the last few years. This is primarily because of there being so many do it yourself options that can be done in the home or online. That’s not to say those options are necessarily better because, after all, brick and mortar printing presses are tried and true.

Below, I discuss why I feel local printing presses are such a tried and true printing option, as well as a few of their drawbacks. After that, I mention a few tips on how to find the best local shop to work with.

Benefits to Having Your Local Press Print Your Business Cards

Tried and true, while a good reason, is broad. Let’s look at a few specific reasons why you might consider using your local printing press for your business cards.

  • There is human interaction. That’s right; you actually deal with real people, which is unheard of in this day and age. You give a real person your files (you can upload them too if you wish) and a real person will setup the machines, print and cut your cards.
  • Your business cards are of higher quality. I think brick and mortar businesses are going to offer a higher quality service than if you were to print the cards yourself or have them printed online. When compared to online printers, I don’t think the quality is necessarily better. I think it’s the quality control. What’s the difference? I think you’ll go home with crooked, faded and damaged cards from your local printing press less often than you’ll receive them from an online printer. Again, this comes back to the human element.
  • You can do a test run. Local printing presses can do test runs for you. This is a huge bonus, as you’ll be able to catch mistakes earlier on, ensuring that the card looks as it should. This is something that you cannot do efficiently online.
  • You can look at live examples before ordering. It can be difficult to order a card online without being able to hold it in your hand first to make sure it’s exactly what you’re looking for. You can do this in a brick and mortar shop.

Drawbacks to Having Your Local Press Print Your Business Cards

There are some drawbacks to having your local press print your business cards.

  • You’ll pay a higher price. This is the largest drawback. Printing presses can hardly compete pricewise, if at all, with online print shops. The humans that setup and run the presses need to be paid, unlike the computers and robots that handle much of the online printing process.
  • There are custom jobs that cannot be done. From what I understand, local print presses can sometimes be limited in what they offer to the public due to the number of tools and machinery they have, which is limited by how big their buildings are. This is unlike online printing where everything is digital.

Tips for Finding a Solid Local Printer

Here are some tips you can follow to give yourself the highest chance at finding a solid local printer.

  • Ask for references. Ask for a few names that you can contact so that you can ask about past experiences. Listen to the good and bad; it should be clear very quickly as to whether the shop you’re considering is worth doing business with or not.
  • Check out the shop’s samples. This is one of the benefits of going with a local printer, so take advantage of it. Check out their previous work and see if it’s up to your standards.
  • Does the shop offer a guarantee? If they don’t, find a shop that does. Any shop worth their salt stands behind their work.

Summary: Should You Have Your Business Cards Printed Locally?

Yes and no.

I say yes because you can’t go wrong with the oldest form of printing. You can scope them out before you get started, as well as test your business card before having an entire batch printed off. Best of all; you’ll get quality work from real human beings.

On the other hand, you’re going to pay more than you’ll pay to have your cards printed online. And I can’t say that the benefits of local printing are enough to offset the extra costs, especially when you factor in that online printing is more convenient. It’s difficult to beat being able to order your cards online in 5 to 10 minutes and having them shipped to your doorstep.