I was saddened to find out that a well established Kent based printer had downsized, sold its presses and laid off its entire staff. That’s a sad day for any business especially one that’s been around for decades. Even sadder are the reasons why – your local printer is struggling to compete against the on-line budget print services.
I’ve been in the print game for over 30 years and seen this decline in the past but unlike the present problem past declines were caused by economic recession. This decline is in part due to the economy but compounded by the rise in popularity of the internet. Letters have been replaced by emails, catalogues replaced by on-line shops and flyers replaced my mass email marketing. Local printers have also been hit by on-line print sales websites offering printing so affordable the local guy can’t even buy the paper that cheap!
I’ve also noticed that the savvier client only requires the print design (a service we offer, see printing services in Kent) so they can find the best deal themselves which is OK by me as the margin on print is so low.
So where is print going? Unless you require a specialist product or a high print run buy on-line. You’d think so wouldn’t you. But no, think again. The local printers that are still trading can match and can beat the on-line guys.
They’ve renamed themselves within the trade and are known as print farmers. A print farmer buys his print from trade suppliers getting big discounts. They know the value of their print job and stay competitive. They also offer ‘The knowledge’ that you can’t get on-line. Print can throw up some issues and it takes an experienced printer (farmer or actual) to sort them out or warn you in advance.
Avoid disappointment, stay local, support you local printer and get a quality product in return.