NPRC Releases New Digital Pricing Study

NPRC has just released its latest research report, the 2019-2020 “Sweet Sixteen” Digital Color Pricing Study! The new report, packed with the very latest pricing info, and including literally hundreds of average and median prices, is now available for immediate shipment. The new study covers more than a dozen of the industry’s most popular products and services in the digital printing arena.

The 90+ page study offers an up-to-the-minute look at what printers are charging for services such as flyers & catalog sheets, postcards, rack cards, carbonless forms, newsletters and digitally printed envelopes, just to name a few. Click here to view the entire table of contents.

Each page in this brand new study is packed with pricing info you can use to cross-check your own pricing against printers around the country.

Most products and services included in this study include average and median pricing, a 10% high and low extraction, plus pricing based on a per unit basis such as pricing per sheet, per click, per envelope and even pricing per carbonless set. This feature makes it easier than ever for readers to obtain pricing for unusual quantities or quantities simply not covered in the report.

Due to on-going concerns regarding copyright violations, this study and possibly future NPRC studies, will no longer be made available as a PDF. Instead, we will only provide “hard” copies. Most orders are processed same day as received and are shipped out via USPS Priority Mail.

Available for sale beginning July 18, 2019.
Retail Price Only $245. Hard copies only!
Click below to visit the NPRC Bookstore for more details.

NPRC BOOKSTORE

 

Who Pays the Tariffs?

The Myths About Tariffs?

Recently, we got curious about the real story behind tariffs and who actually pays them and who really benefits. President Trump is a fan of tariffs and implies that we (the U.S.) are going to rake in billions of $$$ with the new 25% tariffs being imposed on China as of midnight, May 9, 2019.

As we conducted some very brief research on the web, I uncovered some very interesting stuff that really opened my eyes.

Do Countries Pay Tariffs?

First, governments or countries don’t pay tariffs on the products they export or import. Second, it is the importers of products that pay the tariffs and ultimately those tariffs, or the bulk of them, are paid by the consumer! 

The Idiot we have for President doesn’t seem to understand… Speaking at a rally in Florida later Wednesday (May 8, 2019), Trump said the new tariffs were because China “broke the deal.” “You see the tariffs we’re doing?” the President asked his supporters. “Because they broke the deal!” 
 
“The vice premier is flying in tomorrow, good man, but they broke the deal. They can’t do that,” he added. “If we don’t make the deal, nothing wrong with taking in over 100 billion a year. We never did that before.”  << The idiot president talks like a 3rd grader, and seems to be implying that is good news… what he fails to mention is it will be Americans who will be paying those “100 billion a year.”
 
May 13, 2019 – “President Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that American consumers would bear a burden from the escalating trade war with China, contradicting the President.” Of course President Trump will quickly call this “Fake News” as he identifies any news that he doesn’t like. 
 

An Example of Applying a Tariff

Let’s keep it simple, and assume Costco decides to purchase $100,000 worth of TVs from Sharp TV in China.

Let’s continue to keep it simply and assume new tariff on Chinese TVs is 25%. The product is shipped by Sharp and arrives in LA. Customs and Border Patrol inspects shipment and scans code for the TVs. (Note that every single product large or small imported into U.S. has a special import code). CBP calculates the amount owed ($25,000) and sends an invoice to the specific importer, or in this case Costco. Costco has 10 days to pay invoice.

Now Costco has a number of options: (1) They could have talked to Sharp prior to placing their order and arranged for some type of discount or rebate from Sharp to help them offset some of the new tariff; (2) They could eat the entire cost of the new tariff and accept lower profits, but of course that would impact their investors; (3) They could pass on the new tariff costs, or at least some of those costs, by increasing the price to their customers; (4) they can cut-back on purchases from China/Sharp and go instead to another TV manufacturer in another country not subject to the new tariffs.

They could also use a combination of the above.

Citizens Pay Tariffs

However, in almost all cases, governments  simply don’t pay tariffs, the citizens of the country importing the goods pay the tariffs. President Trump brags about the billions of additional $$$ that will be raised and deposited into the U.S. coffers, but he fails to point out that it is U.S. citizens who will be paying those tariffs, not China nor its citizens as he often seems to imply. 

Yes, it surely gets a bit more complicated, but when Trump brags about collecting billions more from tariffs,  he is really unintentionally bragging about sticking it to millions of American citizens who will end up paying these new tariffs. Donald Trump doesn’t really understand tariffs, but then again he doesn’t understand many things! 

What’s Your Net Worth?

Net worth is considered by many financial experts as the ultimate number that you need to track regarding personal finances. Net worth is the total $$$ remaining if you sold/liquidated everything you own and paid off all of your debts. Tracking your net worth over time will put you on the road to financial independence or retirement… Or, maybe not!

How do you calculate your net worth?

To calculate net worth, add up the value of every single one of your assets. That would include the value of your home(s), your cars, all checking and savings accounts, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, your business, and everything else that could be liquidated. When it comes to valuing your business, you should have a detailed, logical method for justifying that valuation, just as you would when justifying the value of your home – i.e. comparables, recent sales, appraisales.

Next, subtract the sum of all of your debts. This would include all real estate mortgages, credit card debts, notes payable (personal), loans, as well as all other personal obligations and liabilities.

The resulting total is your net worth. With that net worth in hand, examine the graph below and compare yourself against other American households as depicted on the accompanying graph. (Editorial note: Nothing lends itself more towards creating and updating your personal net worth on a periodic basis than an Excel Spreadsheet. Keep it on your desktop and revise as needed.)

Other notes regarding net worth…*

Note that the top 1% represents roughly 1,259,817 households in the U.S. 

What about the top .1% (one tenth of one percent) in terms of net worth? There are approximately 125,981 households in the U.S. that would fall or qualify for the top one-tenth of one percent (.1%)  in terms of net worth, and they would have a net worth of at least $43,090,281 or greater.

* Data extracted from an article by DQYDJ (Don’t Quit Your Day Job) at www.dqydj.com

 

“Pricing” – Where Does it Rank?

Earlier this week (April 8-10, 2019) we posted a graph and some summary comments regarding a survey conducted by RIT in 2003. We encouraged reader feedback and while we did receive two comments, we are looking for additonal feedback that we can post here.

Click artwork to download 2-p PDF

In the meantime, we have obtained permission from the original author to reprint the entire 2-page article. You need to read this article with an open-mind, rather than through some heavily tinted glasses that always seem to blame pricing for all your woes. Way too many printers often cite “pricing” as the primary cause for their lack of growth, poor profits, and the lack of customer loyalty, just to name a few.

If printers could only hear themselves talk sometimes. If they did they would realize that they use “pricing” as an excuse for their troubles. They blame printing brokers, low ball competitors down the street as well as the lack of loyalty from their own customers. If these printers did a little bit more probing, they would possibly discover that it really wasn’t pricing that caused their customers to leave, but things like consistent failure to meet deadlines, sometimes poor quality and less than friendly CSRs.

Anyway, enjoy the article and send us your feedback to: membership@printingresearch.org

Yes, we would love to do this survey all over again and see what has changed and what has remained the same, but getting our hands on a representative list of prospects to whom we could mail would represent a real challenge. Any ideas>

Benchmarking Study Table of Contents

Check out the Table of Contents of the just-released 2019-2020 Financial Benchmarking Study.  This study is packed with down-to-earth comparative P&L analyses comparing firms based upon annual sales, profitability, sales per employee as well as percent of brokering, offset and digital printing. The study even compares franchise vs. independent performance.

Click the link above or the artwork to view Table of Contents

 

Characteristics of Leaders & Laggards

Learning to Distinguish Between The
Leaders & Laggards in the Printing Industry

By John Stewart, Executive Director
National Printing Research Council (NPRC)

I’ve been actively involved in this industry since the early 1980’s working with association such as NAQP, NAPL, NPOA and NPRC. I’ve published or co-published virtually every statistical study produced in our industry, ranging from wage and benefits and pricing studies to studies dealing with compensation practices for outside sales reps to what I consider the most valuable of them all – the biennial financial benchmarking studies.

My expertise as an observer of our industry’s history also stems from the fact that I have conducted more than 400 on-site consulting visits both in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Ireland and even Brazil. Most of these consulting visits were conducted in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Ironically and to a large extent, I can still recall the physical attributes of almost every shop I ever consulted with as well as the major recommendations I made following the visit. As the popular Farmers Insurance commercial suggests, “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.” I truly have seen it all, but the one more humorous visits I can recall was a consulting visit to a printing firm in Brazil where I encountered press operators using gasoline as a press wash while smoking cigarettes.

Characteristics of Winners vs. Losers

With the foregoing out of the way, and hopefully having established some credibility with you the reader, I would like to share with you what I consider to be some specific characteristics that distinguish highly efficient and profitable firms from firms found at the other end of the spectrum.

Success or failure in this industry can rarely be blamed on cut-throat competitors, brokers, the local economy or even on employees.

I will note that, more often then not, the primary cause of failure in this industry falls entirely on the shoulders of the owners. Success or failure in this industry can rarely be blamed on cut-throat competitors, brokers, the local economy or even on employees. The blame belongs precisely where it should – The owner.

Monitoring Productivity via SPE

As many of the studies that I have published, it is shocking to see a histogram depicting sales per employee in our industry, and observing the fact that sales per employee (SPE) can range dramatically from a low of $80,000 to more than $200,000 at the high end.

Tell me your annual sales and the total number of employees (including yourself, partners and spouses) and I can closely predict where you will fall in terms of real profitability. SPE in turn will also provide a good indication of the ultimate value of your firm if  it was put up for sale tomorrow.

According to the just-released 2019-2020 Financial Benchmarking Study, (visit the NPRC Bookstore for further information about this study)the average SPE of our 177 qualified participants was $139,595. The median SPE was almost identical. Firm’s falling into the bottom quartile reported SPEs in the $119,000 range while those in the top quartile reported an average SPE of approximately $144,000.

It never ceases to amaze me how poorly some printers perform these days!

Owners of troubled printing firms constantly make excuses for poor performance. The solution for boosting and improving SPE is two-fold – Terminating excess or unproductive employees and boosting the firm’s overall productivity and efficiency.

Unfortunately, all I hear most of the time from owners of troubled firms is excuses, excuses and excuses. Owners are simply afraid to make changes and constantly rationalize as to why certain suggestions can’t be implemented at their firms. Offer specific suggestions for major improvements in their SPE and owners balk and claim, “It simply can’t be done at my company.” 

The truly sad thing is most of these owners will never, never change, and will ultimately end up closing their doors because they will never find a qualified buyer for their firm willing to pay them anything close to what they think their business is worth. In the best case scenario, many, many printers will end up closing their doors, selling off their equipment, and selling the customer list for mere pennies on the dollar.

Poor Financial Reporting

Profit leaders in our industry are far more likely to receive monthly financial statements, including a P&L and a balance sheet. Even more important than the statements themselves is how they are formatted.

No profit & loss statement should come across your desk without a column of “expense ratios” appearing directly to the right. If total cost of goods (COG) is $440,000 I want to immediately know what percent of gross sales does that figure represent? Is it in the 31-32% range (that’s bad) or is it 29% or lower (that’s good).

Comparing the performance of leaders against laggards in our industry.

Far more critical is taking a look at total payroll expenses (excluding what is paid to a single working owner). The most financially troubled firms in this industry report payroll ratios of 34-38% and higher, while the best performers in our industry report keeping payroll ratios in the 25-29% range.

Check-out the percent of owner’s compensation being withdrawn in the industry.

If your bookkeeper or CPA is providing you with financial statements that lack comparative ratios adjoining your column of expenses you need to fire them immediately. There is no excuse for failing to provide “ratios” next to “expenses.” It shouldn’t be a question of “well you never asked.” That was and is their responsibility to provide you with the proper tools, whether or not you asked for it. And, these “ratios” are indeed the most important tools you can use to help you analyze your business.

Of course, the worst sin of all is to see owners of troubled firms receiving properly formatted financial statements month after month and yet seeing them take no action. What the hell are they waiting for. As you can surmise, I have little sympathy for owners who sit on their ass every day checking their Facebook accounts and reading their Twitter feeds.

Owner’s used to ask me what guarantees I would offer and I used to respond. I will refund the entire consulting fee if I can’t turn your company around, but you have to give me total authority to implement all of my recommendations. And that authority would include terminating your son or daugher-in-law and raising prices across the board. Guess what, too many timid owners out, almost all of whom where afraid to give me that authority.    

It’s All About Pricing – NOT!

Profit laggards (those making less than 6% owner’s compensation) are far more likely to be willing to match or lower prices than those offered by profitable firms – firms reporting owner’s compensation of 25% or more.

 Sometimes a printer will tell me that, “I don’t try to be the lowest priced printer. Instead, I try to be sort of in the middle.” And yet, when challenged, many of these printers simply know very little about local or regional pricing. Troubled printers are far more likely to be swayed by customers telling them that their prices are a bit high, too often responding to the customer by saying, “Let me look over the quote we provided and see if we can’t shave it a bit.”

In my experience talking with some of the best and most profitable firms in this industry, they tend to have an attitude that their first price is also their best price, and they make no apologies or excuses for the fact that their quote is may indeed be higher than other quotes obtained by a customer. They know the value of their product and will not quibble.

Imagine visiting a high-end restaurant and when the waiter comes to your table, you point out the price of the eight ounce filet mignon on the menu and asking him if he could do a bit better on the price. Even worse, imagine telling him that all three of your guests are going to be ordering filets and surely they can lower the price a bit!

For additional information on pricing in our industry, we invite you to visit the NPRC blog where you can find two articles of interest:

Major Pricing Variations A Myth (Page 1 of Blog)
Shopping Your Competitors (Page 2 of Blog)

For those who always seem to get hung up on price and believe it to be the most important criteria when it comes to selecting one printer over the next, I suggest that the next time you are at the grocery store and explain, if you can, how Philadelphia Cream Cheese is consistently priced 30-40% higher than the store brand sitting directly next to it? Better packaging, marketing, shelf placement, great recipes? Whatever your excuse or answer, it can be applied to printing products as well.

 

A survey print buyers conducted years ago found “Price” ranked #5 in terms of importance.

P.S. A study of print buyers conducted a number of years ago by RIT sought to determine the importance of various factors in making a decision to use or select one printer over another. They prepared a scale that ranked eight various factors in the selection process. Guess where “price” fell? Pricing was ranked #5. What factors were more important? Dependability was #1, and was followed by Print Quality, Turnaround Time, and Ease of Doing Business – all ranking above “Price.”  

Failing to Practice the 80-20 Rule

 Learning to spend time wisely (The 80-20 Rule) is another characteristic that seems to distinguish the best run printing firms from the also-rans. Owner’s of top tier firms seem far more disciplined that owners of troubled firms.

One perfect example of the 80-20 rule suggests (at least roughly) that 80% of your employee problems are caused by 20% of your employees. A very small number of employees cause most of the problems… they call in sick, make most of the mistakes, and seem to be the root cause of much of the turmoil in a company. In you have 10 employees there’s a very good chance that two of them cause most of the problems in your company. Terminating these employees can make a major improvement in most companies.

Another example? Approximately 20% of your overhead items account for 80% of your expenses. If you’re motivated to cut expenses and improve profitability, don’t spend time worrying about the reducing the cost of office supplies, trash removal, travel and marketing. Concentrate instead on some of the “biggies” like auto operating expenses, building rent (Yes, that too can be renegotiated), lease expenses, repairs & maintenance, and even utilities. Successful companies find a way to reduce these types of expenses, while troubled firms once again just rationalize and make excuses.

Too Much Time On Social Media (A personal a rant <g>)

There is no doubt in my mind, that there is at least an inverse relationship between profitability and the time spent by many owners on social media. While I cannot point to hard statistics to back up this claim, Just observing printers from close up and afar I see so much time being wasted in this industry on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram, just to name a few. I would also include various printing related listservs to this list as well.

I believe a significant percentage of our political and social discord in this country can be directly traced to what is published and shared on these sites. I think many owners and their families would be far better served by reducing participation in these various social network sites.

It is embarrassing these days to go out to a medium or high-end restaurant these days and to observe two adults and two children all with their heads down sending out text messages and reading the latest posts on Facebook. Not only is it rude and impolite, it is a terrible waste of intellectual talents.  Enough ranting!

I used to own a cell-phone jammer (Yeah, yeah, I know they are illegal – who cares) and I could destroy an evening for a family like that, but unfortunately it only worked G3 Networks. When they went to G5 the jammers got more expensive and harder to purchase. When it worked, it was so much fun watching folks suddenly losing reception and then holding up their cell phone higher in the air somehow thinking this would boost reception. 

Enough for now. Have a great week.

 

 

 

New Benchmarking Study Now Available

Hot Off the Press!!!  NPRC has just released the 2019-2020 Financial Benchmarking Study. Published on a biennial basis since the early 1980’s, this key study is credited by hundreds of owners in our industry with helping them improve their firm’s profitability and productivity. This study has helped hundreds of printers around the U.S. achieve new, much higher levels of profitability. 

“Many printers have told us that after reading this study, they decided to quit making excuses for their poor performance and begin working towards the “profit leader” ratios outlined in this popular study.”

Unfortunately, too many printers don’t appreciate the value of these studies until it’s too late!  By the time they start analyzing their ratios and comparing them to the “profit leaders” it’s way too late. They start planning for the sale of their business and retirement when they suddenly realize they rank in the bottom 25th percentile of the industry and their business is worth 50-80% less than what they expected.

These Benchmarking Studies are simply invaluable. They provide “real world” financial ratios such as cost of goods, payroll costs, overhead expenses, and sales per employee,just to name a few. Plus, this study provides a variety of breakouts based upon profitability, sales per employee and annual sales – analyses that cannot be found found anywhere else.

Visit the NPOA Bookstore here.

Printing Association Releases 2019 Goal Sheet

Interested in boosting profits and becoming a “Profit Leader” in 2019? If your answer is “Yes,” we suggest you Click Here and download NPRC’s latest publication – The 2019 Financial Model & Goals sheet.

Click JPG to Download 2019 Goal Sheet

At a quick glance, you’ll discover what the top 25% in our industry are reporting in terms of :

  • Cost of Sales
  • Payroll Expenses
  • Operating Expenses
  • Owner’s Compensation
  • Sales Per Employee

The data provided is based upon statistical data reported in various research studies and reports published by NPRC during the past 18 months. For additional information about our industry, visit NPRC’s website at www.printingresearch.org and scan the various articles under our “blog” tab.

Industry Wage Study Officially Released!

NPRC has just announced it has released the 2019 Wage & Benefits study two weeks earlier than previously planned. Participants were sent their FREE copies of the study on Dec. 11, 2018.

2019 Wage & Benefits Study

Sample pages from 2019 Wage Study

The new 2019 Printing Industry Wage & Benefits Study  was previously scheduled for release on Jan. 2, 2019 but, “We were able to put in some overtime on this project and release it early,” according to John Stewart, Executive Director of the National Printing Research Council. 

Priced at only $179, the new 118-page wage study reveals average and median wages and benefits for 24 key positions in the printing industry.  The soon-to-be-released study also includes detailed sales and compensation practices for outside sales representatives. To order your copy, visit the NPRC Bookstore.

This information-packed study reports wages for popular positions such as general managers, CSRs, and graphic designers. Other positions surveyed include digital operators as well as mailing and large format specialists.

“This study is invaluable. It can easily prevent you from losing a valuable employee who offer his or her two-week notice because of a better offer from one of your competitors,” notes Stewart. “It’s not as if we intentionally underpay employees, it’s just that we sometimes take them for granted and fail to periodically review their salaries as we should,” Stewart adds.

More than 200 firms participated in this most recent survey. Participants reported average 2018 (projected) sales of $1.7 Million and median sales of $1 million, according to NPRC. Average SPE for participants in this year’s survey was $139,000 while median SPE was slightly lower at $134,000 – both remarkably similar to what was reported in 2016.

The new study provides wage and salary data based upon population density, geographic locations, sales and SPE levels.

Order Two Pricing Studies & Save 25%

Order Two Pricing Studies & Save $84.50!

Ordered separately, these two popular studies would normally cost $338! However, order these studies together and you will pay ONLY  $253.50  – a savings of 25% off the retail price. This sale applies only to PDFs. NPRC Members pay only $126.00! To place your order, visit the NPRC Bookstore Today.

2017-2018 Printing Industry Digital Printing Pricing Study

2017-2018 Printing Industry Digital Printing Pricing Study

These two pricing studies reveal up-to-the-minute pricing detail on literally hundreds of services and products available in the printing industry. Check-out exactly what is covered in these studies by clicking the links below.

If you’ve ever thought about ordering one or both of these industry pricing studies now is the time to act. You will never be able to purchase these two studies at a lower price.

 

Covering Dozens of Products & Services

2018 Printing Industry Bindery Services Pricing Study

2018 Printing Industry Bindery Services Pricing Study

These studies provide average and median prices for literally hundreds of products and services offered in the printing industry.  Combined, these two studies cover both digital printing and bindery services. Best yet, these are prices provided by printers just like yourself.

We aren’t suggesting that you raise or lower your prices to match what we report, but we do note that profit leaders in our industry do a much better job in monitoring and adjusting their pricing practices than their competitors. There’s no better way to do that than to check-out the printing industry’s most popular pricing studies.

To NPRC,

“It is great to see what other printers are charging for the same products and be able to compare those prices in an organized fashion.”
Kevin Williams, Systems Print & Mail, Laguna Hills, CA

Dear NPRC,

“While we have not gone thru the report from front to back, the report has shown us several areas where our pricing needs to be adjusted. It is helpful to be able to access data from all sizes of shops in all sizes of towns and use that data to increase our profitability.”
Doug Carlile, President / CEO, Professional Print & Mail, Inc., Fresno, CA 

2018 DIGITAL COLOR PRICING STUDY…
TABLE OF CONTENTS

2018 BINDERY SERVICES PRICING STUDY…
TABLE OF CONTENTS

100% Money-Back Guarantee – Remember, these studies, like all publications sold by the National Printing Research Council (NPRC), are sold on a 100% money-back guarantee.  Most orders are shipped and processed within four hours or even less. Orders received on Fridays, however, are typically mailed the following Monday morning.