Measure twice, cut once. I have learned this lesson the hard way, more than once.
When you hire a graphic designer to create marketing materials like business cards, direct mail campaigns, product packaging, teeshirts (the list goes on) you will need to find a printer to print them for you. Ideally your designer will have a list of preferred vendors to direct you to. Your designer should also know which printer you intend to use and give you files that are compatible with their printing specifications. If you choose to use an online printer there is no guarantee that the materials will come out as they were intended.
When you use an online company that you haven't used before you don't get to see a proof of the prints. A proof is the final hard copy of materials. With a proof you get to see if there are any typos, if the color is correct, the quality of the paper and if the margins are big the right size.
I recently tried to be a good entrepreneur and cut costs on the printing of my business cards. I choose an online company that also delivered them within 72 hours. When the cards arrived the color was muddy and completely different than it should be. The margins were also cut short causing the design to go all the way to the edge of the card. Luckily the company had a great return policy and issued me a full refund, but I payed in time. I chose to spend a little more money and use my trusted local printer to get the business cards I needed.
When the quality of your printed materials is not up to par it speaks poorly of your company. It tells your customer that you are willing to cut corners resulting in sloppy outcomes. When you can't even deliver quality materials for your own company what will you provide for the customer?
Ways to avoid printing mishaps are to use trusted printers that you can depend on to deliver quality materials you can stand behind. If you are using a local printer, always ask for a proof before giving approval for the final print. If you decide to use an online company make sure they are willing to give you a refund for misprinted materials or reprint them correctly.
As a business owner you are smart to cut costs where you can but be careful not to cut quality.
If you would like to discuss this post or would like a list of the printers I recommend in Santa Barbara and Goleta please contact me.