I'm learning a lot about the quoting process. Of course, I've done a lot of quoting before as part of being a graphic designer, but those quotations always ended with a final dollar amount, and were rarely negotiable.
With printing quotes, however, prices are itemised as brides usually don't know exactly what they want or can afford until they see prices.
There are many things to consider when quoting, many of which people don't realise:
- paper cost (including the freight I have to pay)
- guillotining (this can be up to a couple hours of work)
- ink (especially if the customer requires a specific colour I need to order in)
- press maintainence (solvents, oil, my hours, cloths)
- plates (which includes paying someone else to make the film, and another person to make the plates. Preparing plate artwork can take an hour or two depending on artwork)
- graphic design/illustration (I actually don't charge extra for my design and illustration services, which saves the bride a lot, but also means I often don't get paid for hours of concept work and artwork setup)
- electricity (to run the press, studio and my very loud radio)
- mistakes (especially if Collie is misbehaving. I might have 2 bad prints for every good print sometimes, which is wasted paper, time and energy. Never fear, it's my own fault and I'm getting better, so wastage is being reduced gradually!)
- petrol (to go deliver/pickup artwork, film, and plates. I travel across town doing this sometimes).
And of course, add my own time and salary to the list.
Each colour can take up to 3 hours to prepare for printing, depending on the design and specific job. There's makeready and proofing before it officially goes 'on the press'. Letterpresses aren't like the gorgeous computerised offset machines that you see in print factories these days. Letterpresses are still a handmade craft, which takes time.
So someone may order just a few items in 3 colours or more and pay a higher amount than someone who orders more but in one colour.
Please don't get me wrong - I'm not whinging! Not at all. I just wanted to explain what goes into a printing quote, and why letterpress costs more than, say, digital printing. But I'm enjoying the quoting process, and love seeing new queries in my inbox -- so keep them coming! :)