Paper Matters Blog
Is Cheaper Paper Worth the Risk?
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Printers have an important task of not only prospecting for customers, but holding onto that business for future projects. A good printer is a trusted partner and an asset for customers who value the knowledge, craftsmanship, service and innovation that they provide. For printers, choosing or suggesting the right paper for a project can make the difference between a “one and done” customer and one that sticks with you for the long haul.

Every customer wants the best price possible for their project. No one wants to overpay for their printing. Conversely, you do not want to charge so little that you devalue the service you provide. Using cheaper paper or inks for your project at the risk of delivering an inferior quality end product could also end up being a bad decision. Often the savings you try to take in ink and paper will show up in your printed project, and not necessarily in a positive manner. Remember, a final printed project is as much a reflection of the quality of the printer as it is the customer.

Last fall, there was a rumor that printers can save up to 15% by using cheaper paper. That, of course, depends on the actual print job. While that might sound substantial when it applies to the whole print job, what we are actually talking about is 15% of the paper costs. Is that enough to have you suggest to your customer to use an inferior sheet? Is that enough to stake your reputation on? In some cases, a 15% savings on paper does not even cover the cost of adding a post-press technique to enhance the project.

Risks of using cheaper paper:

  • Solid color areas that are not even and smooth
  • Colors that are not vivid and jump off the page
  • Details that are not crisp and clear
  • Increased ink usage and press costs to achieve expected outcome
  • Having a finish product that does not represent your printing company in a good light
  • Possibly losing your print customer

Most of your print customers will rely on you to be their expert on printing methods and paper. They will look to you to let them know if a job needs to print digitally or offset. If you’ve recently added production inkjet technology to your arsenal, customers are looking for you to make decisions that will achieve their desired outcome with your new technology.

For instance, should you save money with an untreated paper on a direct mail piece or will printing on a treated paper get their message noticed and deliver greater response for their business? Will the money you save on paper at the beginning of a project still equate to saving if more ink has to be used?

All of these things are important for you to be able to share with your customer and are things that they will appreciate hearing from you. Even if they have an expert on staff that make those decisions, your input is key. In the end, it all counts toward the relationship you form with your customer.

Need an uncoated paper that delivers a consistent and brilliant canvas like Cougar® Smooth or Lynx® Opaque Ultra? How about a top-performing digital sheet that will bring out the rich, vivid colors in your digital projects like Cougar® Digital Color Copy or Lynx® Digital Super Smooth?

Maybe a proven production inkjet paper that allows for dynamic results and excellent performance both on-press and during post-processing like LynxJET® or HuskyJET® Treated Inkjet Paper. Having these options on-hand gives you the tools to make your customer’s project look and feel its best.

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Vanecia Carr
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Jill DiNicolantonio
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