So, You Want to Sell Your Business?

Factors Impacting the Value of Your Business

So, You’re Thinking of Selling Your Business?
By John Stewart, Executive Director, NPRC

“Hi John, I think it’s time for a valuation. Lindsey and I are almost 60 and we’re giving some serious to selling the business and retiring, so what’s the first step we need to take to get a valuation done?”

How do I respond when someone calls me with a question like that?

Well, I start off by asking a bunch of my own questions. What are their current sales, and what do they think their business is worth. What are they going to do after they sell the business? How much is their net worth, and what percent of their total net worth is represented by the value of their business? What happens to their plans if their business simply doesn’t sell?

Sure, they may be calling me about a valuation, but virtually every single caller already has some preconceived notion as to what their business is worth.

Is the Business Value Inflated?

One of the early and most important questions I ask is, “what happens if it turns out your business is worth far less than what you think it is. What will you do then? Are you prepared emotionally and physically to continue operating it like you are today?” Some folks who call do have the time, the patience and the maturity to rationally answer those types of questions. Others are less fortunate and they are looking for instant solutions (selling) to problems that have taken years to develop.

One of the more challenging questions I raise with folks is, “What happens if you throw a party and no one shows up?” Unless you have one or two prospects already lined up and waiting to buy your business, what happens when you establish a fair market price for your business, put it on the marketplace and you are greeted with deafening silence?

Making More Money by Staying!

Many times, I end up suggesting to callers that they need to go back to the drawing board and rethink what they want to do, reminding them that they will never make as much money selling the business as they will from continuing to run the business on a day-to-day basis.

Even in cases where the callers are dead-set on selling their business sooner rather than later, postponing the sale by even a couple of years and concentrating their efforts on specific steps designed to increase the value of the business may very well be the best course of action.

Yes, that may be very discouraging for some folks to hear, especially folks who are biting at the bullet to retire now, but postponing the sale and working the business for a few more years may be a far more realistic option than what they have facing them now. There are many, many steps that owners can take in a relatively short period of time (12-24 months) to significantly increase the value of their business. We’re not suggesting these steps will be easy, but then again what is?

Business Valuations – Two Observations

I’ve been a consultant in the printing industry for more than 35 years, and I have also conducted more that 400+ valuations in the last ten years, and I feel comfortable in offering the following two, broad observations valuations conducted in our industry:

• Limited Market – First, unless you already have a serious, qualified prospect waiting in the wings to buy your business, the chances are better than 50-50 that no matter how fairly priced your business might be, you may never find a qualified buyer willing and able to buy your business, certainly not at the price you think it is worth, and certainly not for all cash, which is what many if not most sellers expect.

• Unrealistic Expectations – Second, most owners think their business is worth far more than most valuations would suggest, and they are sadly deceiving themselves to think they are going to find a buyer. PERIOD! Where or how some owners come up with their business valuations is beyond me. Anyone who suggests that a business is worth some multiple of annual sales needs to have his or head examined! Too many folks conflate the amount of money they collectively withdraw from the business on an annual basis with profitability or excess earnings. They are not the same.

Available only as a hard copy. Visit the NPRC website for details.

In 2007 I co-authored, along with my good friend and industry expert Larry Hunt, what is now considered a landmark industry publication titled, “Print Shop for Sale.” This 300+ page book has sold more than 4,000 copies, and remains as the only publication of its kind in the printing industry, offering “A step-by-step guide for establishing a fair market value for your printing firm, or one you are looking to buy.”

Valuation Lessons Learned

Since its publication, I have conducted well more than 400+ valuations. I have also been called upon to provide “expert testimony” at various legal proceedings where I have been asked to address various valuation methods as well as industry profitability ratios. Print Shop for Sale is available in the NPRC Bookstore.

I have encountered virtually every possible valuation scenario, ranging from nasty divorces where no one wins, to couples who had planned for the last 20 years to somehow retire at the magic age of 60 only to reach that age, and have nothing whatsoever to fall back on – their business having little if any value to anyone other than themselves, with the only source of additional income or benefits being what they will received from Social Security and Medicare.

As I alluded to earlier, the selling process is more likely to take a year or more, rather than months, and even then, there is no guarantee whatsoever that you will find a qualified buyer who is willing and able to pay your asking price, or anything close to that.

Remember too, that in at least a majority of the selling scenarios that occur in the real world, you are typically going to be asked to provide financing for the bulk of the selling price. If you think you’re going to show up at settlement, “Sign the papers and then walk away with a big check” you are mistaken. Consequently, the monthly payments you will come to depend upon will be closely tied to the success of the new owner and his or her ability to achieve all the promises that you made during the selling process.

“Even though sales have been somewhat flat the past four years, this business really has great potential, and with the right person at the top, it can reach the next level in terms of sales and profits.”

During the early stages of establishing a business valuation, owners who want to sell their business will often come up with a variation of the following: “Barbara and I have worked very hard the last 20+ years and we’ve made good money, and we’ve built a solid business, but we are getting burned out and we want to move on. Even though sales have been somewhat flat the past four years, this business really has great potential, and with the right person at the top, it can reach the next level in terms of sales and profits. Heck a new owner could easily double our sales if they got out there and properly marketed the business.”

Valuing a Business Based Upon Potential?

If you think you are going to sell your business based upon its potential you are sadly misleading yourself. In the simplest of terms, your business is worth nothing more and nothing less than (1) the current net, street value of your equipment and (2) the ability of the business to pay a new owner a “fair market salary” AND produce or generate enough excess earnings that allows the new owner to make payments to you the seller!

The bottom line in terms of selling your business is you are either a “leader” or a “Laggard” in terms of profitability and sales per employee. You either have it or you don’t. If you’re trying to make a “silk purse out of a sow’s ear” then good luck.

Just because you and Brenda worked 85-hour weeks and worked for less than minimum wage doesn’t mean a new owner should, certainly not if your business is half as profitable as you say it is.

Plus, if the business has potential to grow then you should have grown it. If the business has potential to be more profitable then you should have been the one to make it more profitable. If a new owner takes the bull by the horns and increases sales and profits as a result of their talents then the credit goes to them, and not you!

“If the business has potential to grow then you should have grown it. If the business has potential to be more profitable then you should have been the one to make it more profitable. If a new owner takes the bull by the horns and increases sales and profits as a result of their talents then the credit goes to them, and not you!”

If a business is unable to pay a new owner a working salary as well as generate enough “excess earnings” to pay the seller each month then it most likely is worth nothing more than the “street” value of the furniture and equipment used to produce those sales. We’re not talking net assets as found on the balance sheet, but rather the value that this equipment represents if a savvy business owner had to go out on the used equipment market and replace each key piece of equipment required or used to produce your current sales.

By the way, one of the biggest mistakes sellers can make is to load up their businesses with new equipment, leased or financed, in the last two or three years just prior to putting the business on the market for sale!

Regrettably, as many owners soon discover, there is very little interest in businesses producing mediocre sales and mediocre profits. Instead of being able to sell their business at a magical ratio of 60-70% of annual sales, they find they are unable to sell the business as an on-going entity, and instead end up closing their doors, selling off their accounts receivable, and then selling off key pieces of equipment one piece at a time, receiving just pennies on the dollar!

Owners ignore data like the above at their own peril. Many owners spend years in this industry never realizing how poorly they are performing as compared to their peers.

Five Factors Worth Considering

It would be easy enough for us to pull out the past dozen or so valuations and highlight what we found, but suffice it to say the five specific commentaries offered below would be near the top of just about any list I prepared.

(1) Confusing Salaries vs. Owner’s Compensation – Husbands and wives, or even brothers and sisters working as teams running and operating a business, often mistake the amount of money they collectively withdraw from the business as being the same as profits or owner’s compensation. They are not. Only the salary and benefits taken out by a single individual can be considered as part of the owner’s compensation calculation. So, just because Tony and his wife Carol collectively take out $75,000 on a business doing $750,000 in annual sales, this does not mean they are taking out 10% or $75,000 in profits. Far from that! Assuming a new owner would replace Tony as the new working owner, he would also have to go out on the market and replace Tony’s wife as well at a fair market, competitive salary. If that means spending $35,000 to replace her, then the unadjusted excess earnings for the company would now be $40,000, or 5.3% of sales.

(2) Failure to Achieve Top SPE levels – We can report with absolute confidence that firms falling in the top 25% of our industry report average “sales per employee” ratios of almost $160,000. We also know that those in the bottom 25% of our industry continue to struggle with reported SPEs of $125,000 or below! How owners (assuming they even track info like this) can sleep at night knowing their company’s SPE is so much lower than others in the industry is mind boggling, especially when it can be so readily improved.

(3) Ignoring Key Industry Statistics – The printing industry is almost unique in some aspects, especially its history of collecting, tracking and publishing key financial ratios. Owners who make excuses for not knowing the fundamental financial ratios that define this industry have no one to blame but themselves. To be blunt, if you can’t instantly put your hands on what those key financial ratios being reported by the top 25% of this industry then shame on you.

How on earth does a smart business person run a business without knowing the key benchmarks being achieved by competitors in their industry?

The 2017-18 Financial Benchmarking Study, one of many studies published by NPRC (and available in its bookstore) is packed with ratios related to what the winners in this industry report for benchmarks such as sales per square foot, current ratios, owner’s compensation, cost of goods and one of the most important ratios of all – employee payroll! It is not surprising that firms that lack this type of data tend to be under-performers.

(4) Rationalizing Key Ratios – It is one thing not to be aware of key ratios, it is a far different thing to actually have access to these key ratios, especially ratios reported by the very top performers in the industry, and yet to conclude that somehow they don’t apply to your firm. Rationalizing that key performance ratios don’t apply to your firm or that your company or market is different from all the rest is simply a recipe for disaster – It’s also a reason why no one in their sane mind will pay you what you think your business is worth. If only owners would stop rationalizing and act upon the wealth of information available to them they would end up making their lives so much much better, at least in the long run!

(5) The Enemy in the Mirror – Like it or not the biggest culprit preventing many owners from achieving higher levels of success (and higher values for their businesses) is the man or woman staring back at them in the mirror first thing in the morning. That individual typically exudes negative vibes. They are filled with excuses. They talk a good game, and say they are willing to change, but when push comes to shove they will fight the consultant and ignore advice from even the most qualified, most trusted advisers they can find. Sometimes that trusted adviser is a spouse or partner, but even then they are ignored. Many of these owners simply fail to push themselves or the folks around them. They make little effort to change, and remind one of the old expression, “It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.”

Ok, that’s enough negative rants for the day! <g>

Recovering from Hip Surgery

I just had my left hip replaced on Aug. 21, 2017 and I am very impatient to get back to my old self. If you sense from the column or comments above that I sound a bit “irritable” you are correct. Don’t look for a retraction! <g>

While I am pleased with my progress, it just never seems fast enough. The healing process pretty much is following what I endured five years ago when I had the other hip replaced. My hip was operated on Monday mid-day, and I was up on a walker walking around the ward five hours later.

I was discharged the next afternoon. By Thursday, I had given up using the walker, and I was walking up and downstairs as soon as I returned home. Each day it has been getting a bit easier to endure. Anyway, as I kept proofing and reproofing the above I kept stumbling upon one “negative” sound comment after another. I would revise or delete one and yet another one would pop up a couple of paragraphs later.

Nothing makes me angrier, however, to know that our industry has so many resources available to help troubled firms and yet so many just ignore them and think they “know better.” It is really a tragedy to find myself talking to owners who say they are now ready to retire but when I end up looking at their financial statements I discover one mistake after another than could have been avoided had they availed themselves of some of the many outstanding reports available in this industry.

Oh well, I hope you enjoy the column. Don’t hesitate to email me with any comments or questions you might have.


NPRC Releases New Digital Printer Survey

NPRC has just released its newest study – The 2017 Survey of Color Digital Printers, a 60-page report providing average and median ratings and performance data for 36 different digital devices. The new report is based upon input received from more than 280 survey participants.*

If you’re looking to upgrade to a newer digital printer this study will prove invaluable. It provides weighted ratings for 19 classes of digital printers, plus ratings and recommendations for nine different envelope printers, as well as the conveyors and feeders that are often sold with these devices.

“Another great report! The latest Color Digital Printer Survey allows me to evaluate all the current machines on the market and allows me to consider what machines can work and most important which machines to avoid. Not to mention information about service calls, envelope printers, click rates and all the other data. Each time I read one of NPRC’s Survey Reports, I am able to take away many actionable points to better my business and bottom line. I am grateful for the efforts of John Stewart and Bob Hall! Keep it up.”
                  Eben Miller, Miller Printing, Amsterdam, NY

The new report provides user ratings and data for a variety of devices manufactured by Canon, Konica Minolta, Ricoh and Xerox. We report the overall rating for 19 different classes of printers, plus average and median ratings as to whether users would recommend the specific device to others. Discover for yourself which currently available digital printers rate the highest and which ones received low scores from our participants.

“Thanks so much to the folks at NPRC and for what you do. It has always been worth the few minutes it takes to do your surveys in order to get the wealth of information your reports provide. From what machines perform the best and their features, to salary/wages and possibly most important – pricing. It is all great information to help- us run our business! Thank you.”
Jennifer Jordan, SD Visual Images, Marlborough, MA

To place your order for this or other reports, visit the NPRC Bookstore. This new publication is now available for processing and shipping. As always, this study/report is sold on a 100% money-back guarantee. No questions asked. If you believe you participated in this survey please read notice below.

Retail Price (PDF): $114.95
Retail Price (hard-copy): $124.95

NPRC Price (PDF): $57.50
NPRC Price (hard-copy): $67.50

Survey participants received special emails containing a download link on Friday, Aug. 18 and again on Aug. 23. The subject line was: “Your digital color copier survey available now.” Please check your spam, deleted and trash folders carefully. If you are not sure whether you participated or not, please visit our home page and check-out the list of participants.

List of Digital Printer Survey Participants – Are You Eligible?

The list below is an alpha listing by company name of firms who participated in NPRC’s recent 2017 Survey of Color Digital Printers and thus are entitled to a FREE PDF of the final report.

All participants, as listed below, were sent an advance notice email, plus two special emails on Aug. 18, 2017 and Aug. 23, 2017 advising them where to go to download their complimentary PDFs. 

If you do not recall seeing such an email we encourage you to go back to your “trash,” “spam” and other miscellaneous folders and check  for an email sent out on Aug. 18, 2017 with the subject line: “Your Digital Color Copier Survey Available Now!”

Please do not call us and request that an additional copy be sent until you have conducted a thorough examination of your email records. We do our very best to make sure all participants are sent a FREE PDF of these studies, but we don’t have a lot of sympathy for firms who casually delete emails and then ask us to send another copy.

Company City/Town State
A&B Digital Printing New Liskeard CAN
A. Carlisle and Co.  Reno NV
Abbotts Printing Inc Yakima WA
Accel Printing and Graphics Mount Kisco NY
Accurate Printers, Inc. Norcross,  GA
Action graphics Charlotte NC
Action Print Helena MT
Advanced Printing Stuart FL
Advantage Business Forms Rialto CA
ADVANTAGE Marketing and Print Auburn CA
Aiea Copy Center Aiea HI
AIM Mail & Print Center Redondo Beach CA
Alachua Printing Alachua FL
Allegra Charlotte NC
Allegra Alpena Alpena MI
Allegra Hamilton Hamilton MI
ALLEGRA Marketing Print Mail Alsip IL
Allegra Marketing Print Mail Tampa FL
Allegra Marketing, Print & Mail Rolling Meadows IL
Allegra Naples Naples FL
Allegra Print Marketing and Mail Plymouth MI
Alphagraphics Plano TX
AlphaGraphics Mokena IL
AlphaGraphics San Antonio TX
Alphagraphics Alexandria VA
AlphaGraphics Roseville CA
Alphagraphics #16 Salt Lake City UT
Alphagraphics #450 Brentwood TN
AlphaGraphics 711 Dallas TX
AlphaGraphics Boston Boston MA
Alphagraphics Cleveland Cleveland OH
AlphaGraphics Downtown Raleigh Raleigh NC
AlphaGraphics Kansas City Kansas City MO
Alphagraphics Los Angeles Los Angeles CA
AlphaGraphics Mission Viejo Mission Viejo CA
Alphagraphics of Carmel Carmel IN
Alphagraphics of the Twin Cities Minneapolis MN
AlphaGraphics US333 Bannockburn IL
AlphaGraphics-Savannah Savannah, GA GA
Alta Systems Inc Gainesville FL
American Harwood hts IL
American Printing & Promotions Manassas VA
Amity Graphics, Inc. Bemidji MN
Apple Printing Co. Buford GA
Arc Reprographics, Inc. Absecon NJ
Arrow Printing LLC Waterford MI
Arrow Swift Printing & Office Supply Greenville MI
Arthur Printing Cape Coral FL
ASAP Printing Okemos MI
B & B printing kewanee IL
Bart Nay Printing Houston TX
Bayou Printing & Graphics, Inc. Houma LA
Belmonte Printing Co. Schaumburg IL
Bentley Printing & Graphics, Inc. Garden Grove CA
Blacksmith Printing & copy center, llc Wolfeboro NH
Bob’s Printing boynton beach FL
Boggs printing Hatboro PA
Bozeman Printing Company Bozeman MT
Budget Print Clark  NJ
Campbell Print Center Harrisonburg VA
Canyon Copy Highland UT
Cascade Printing and Graphics Grand Rapids MI
Celestial Print & Design North East MD
Century Printing & Mailing El Reno OK
Cirrus Visual Tucson AZ
CJ Printing Highland IN
Clear Choice Printing Winchester VA
Cocheco PrintWorks Dover NH
Composite Forms Inc Port Chester NY
Copies Today Inc. Kelso WA
Copy Express Inc. Woodstock IL
Copy King Inc. Greensboro NC
copy stop/royal press white plains NY
Copycat Print Shop, Inc Wilmington NC
CopySetPrinting Des Plaines IL
Curry printing West Springfield MA
Curry Printing and Marketing Auburn ME
D&K Printing Boulder CO
DG Solutions  Conyers GA
Digital Printing Innovations Oshkosh WI
Dominick’s Quick Print, Inc. Ontario OR
Dsa Printing Chelmsford MA
DSIGNS Arlington Heights IL
Durel Mail & Imaging Technologies Lafayette LA
Econo Print Inc Pinckney MI
Edwards Printing Service, Inc. Dallas TX
Esprit Graphic Communications, Inc. Kennewick WA
Esterman Printing Services Cincinnati OH
Exclamarketing Miami FL
Express Printing Inc Hailey ID
Falcon Printing & Graphics, Inc. Freehold NJ
Fasprint Monticello IL
Fast Print, Inc. Fort Wayne IN
First Impressions Printing and Design Springfield MO
Fotorecord Print Center Greensburg  PA
Franklin Printing Co Inc Zanesville OH
Full Circle Printing Solutions Ellsworth ME
Furbush-Roberts Printing Co Bangor ME
Gerard Printing Elk Grove Village IL
GPI Farmington Hills MI
Graphic Information Systems Tualatin OR
Graphic Resources Woodbury MN
Gulf Business Printing San Antonio TX
Heartland Litho Monona WI
Henle Printing Company Marshall MN
Heritage Printing & Graphics, Inc. Waldorf MD
Highlight Printing Minneapolis MN
Holiday Print & Promotions Ltd London ONT
Holland Printing, Inc. South Holland IL
hudson printing carlsbad CA
Images Plus Madison WI
Impact Printing Thornton CO
Impression Printing Co., Inc. Seattle WA
Independence Press Aspen CO
Independence Press Aspen CO
Ink Spot Printing & Copy Center Inc. Frazer PA
Inklings Printing Company Lompoc CA
Instant Print Inc Inglewood CA
International Minute Press Charlotte NC
IPC Manchester MO
IPM Lithographics Inc San Diego CA
ISS Shirley MA
J & J Graphics and Design Canton MI
Jaz Press Norristown PA
J-M Printers, Inc. Crest Hill IL
John Latka & Co., Inc Westfield MA
 JS Printing   Franklin Park   IL 
JTCPrinting Needham MA
Kahny Printing, Inc. Cincinnati OH
ken’s printing co. smithfield RI
KKP Printing Brampton OH
Kustom Kwik Print Owensboro KY
Kwik Kopy Frisco TX
Kwik Kopy Business Center 130 Evansville IN
Kwik Kopy Printing  Chicago IL
Kwik Kopy Printing Dallas Dallas TX
Kwik Kopy Spring Spring TX
Launch Printing and Promotions Saint Marys GA
LAXprint La Crosse WI
Lithtex Hillsboro OR
Local Copies Etc Santa Maria CA
MarketMailPrint Austin TX
Marlow Visual Communication Cornelius NC
marshall anchorage AK
Masthof Press Morgantown PA
McKinsey Printing Tryon NC
Mercersburg Printing  Mercersburg  PA
Merlin International Corp Rochester NY
Miller Printing Amstedam NY
Miller Sherwood Printing Burbank CA
Minuteman Press North Palm Beach FL
Mission Graphics Ludington MI
Modern Way Printing Ooltewah TN
Moonlight Graphics Inc Grand Rapids MI
MP Express Salinas CA
Mpress Digital, Inc. Santa Cruz  CA
n.e.w. printing appleton WI
National Media Services Inc Front Royal VA
North Delaware Printing Tonawanda NY
Paradise Printing Paso Robles CA
Partners Printing So Portland ME
PBR Graphics, Inc. Albany NY
Pel Hughes Printing New Orleans LA
Pinnacle Printing & Promtions Southfield MI
PIP Ridgeland MS
PIP Marketing/Signs/Print Iowa City IA
Plaza Graphic Associates, Inc. New Hyde Park NY
Porath Printsource cleveland  OH
Portage Printing Portage MI
PostNet Humble TX
PostNet Bentonville Bentonville AR
Precision Printing Inc Louisville KY
Premiere Business Printing & Graphics Arlington TX
Premiere Printing Rockville MD
Presto Prints Wausau WI
Print Basics, Inc Deerfield Beach FL
Print Bureau Dublin IRE
Print Digital, Inc. Stow OH
Print Factory, PLL North Lima OH
Print It Plus Royal Palm Beach FL
Print King Inc Williamsville NY
Print King Inc. Williamsville NY
Print Max The Woodlands TX
Print Plus Buffalo NY
Print Professionals, Inc. High Point NC
Print Solutions Englewood NJ
Print Source Corporation Bluffton IN
PrintFocus Phoenix AZ
Printing Arts Press Mount Vernon OH
Printing Creations Inc. Columbia KY
Printing Depot Oldsmar FL
Printing Etc Dallas TX
Printing Ideas Fairfax VA
Printing Impressions Martinsburg WV
Printing Sensations Miami Gardens FL
PrintPlus Stewartsville NJ
PrintRoc Rochester NY
PrintSource Newnan GA
Pro Printers Hudson NY
Professional Print & Mail Fresno CA
Prographics Inc. Annapolis MD
Progressive Printing Battle Creek MI
Promotions By Mail, Inc Hilltown PA
ProPrint Digital North kansas City MO
Pro-Type Printing, inc. Paxton IL
Pyramid Printing Missoula MT
QP Consulting Melbourne FL
Quality Printing Services Inc. Petaluma CA
Quick Solutions Jamestown NY
Rapid Press Printing Forest Lake MN
Redlands Blueprint Co Redlands CA
replica printing services poway CA
Reprint, Inc. Houston TX
Reskyu Honolulu HI
Richwood Graphics Franklin VA
Royal Printing Company Sterling CO
Rutledge Printing Co. New Albany MS
Scott’s Discount Printing Fond du Lac WI
sd visual images marlborough MA
Service Printing of Lynchburg, Inc. Lynchburg VA
Shawnee Copy Center, Inc. Shawnee KS
Sir Speedy Havertown PA
Sir Speedy Mercerville NJ
Sir Speedy Greensboro NC
Sir Speedy Nashville TN
Sir Speedy Cranston RI
sir speedy printing orland park IL
Sir Speedy Printing 4072 Carrollton TX
Smellies Copy & Print Shop Bracebridge CAN
Solid Impressions Carol Stream IL
SOS Printing Port Townsend WA
South Shore Printing Scituate MA
Southbury Printing Centre, Inc. Southbury CT
Southern Printing  Hope AR
Southwest Printing & copying Dallas TX
Specialty Printing Shepherdstown WV
Speedy Printing Houston TX
Stallings Printing Co. Lenoir NC
Stone Mountain Printing Woodbridge NJ
Suncoast Printing New Port Richey FL
Sundance Printing Parker CO
Sunset Printing Gardena CA
Supreme Graphics Arcadia WI
Sycamore printing Muscatine IA
Systems Print & Mail Laguan Hills CA
TBL Print Clive IA
TechnaPrint, Inc. Eugene OR
the Copy Shop Wiscasset ME
The Copy Shoppe Springfield MO
The Foley Group Yorktown Heights NY
The Freedman Company Hurst TX
The Highland Press Athol MA
The Ink Spot Quincy MA
The Print Shop Naples FL
The Print Shop Marion AL
The Printers’ Printer Collegeville PA
The Printing Factory Mundelein IL
The Printing Spot Gilroy CA
The Responsive Mailroom Elgin IL
Towne Printer Kalispell MT
Tps Newton IL
Trademark Printing Cookeville TN
Triangle Reprocenter, Princeton Princeton NJ
Unique Litho, Inc Englewood CO
UpClose Printing Champaign IL
Volz Tucson AZ
Walter Printing Inc Albemarle NC
Wells Print & Digital Services Madison WI
Wolf Printing, LLC York PA
XPress Printing Sisters OR
Zip Graphick Cincinnati OH
Zoom Printing Syracuse NY


Save 25% on 2015-16 Mailing Services Study

NPRC is running a special 25% off sale on one of its most popular industry studies – The 2015-16 Mailing Services Pricing Study. This information-packed report contains pricing info on more than 45 key services and products provided in the mailing services industry. This special sale ends Nov. 31, 2017.

Retail price is $179, but for a limited time you can save 25% and pay only $134.25. NPRC members pay only $89. This study is available as either a PDF or hard-copy. As always, all NPRC publications are sold on a 100% money-back guarantee if you are not totally satisfied. Click here to visit the NPRC Bookstore and to place your order.

Save 40% On Digital Pricing Survey

Take advantage of this special, limited-time offer from NPRC.

Place your order for this popular study no later than Aug. 16, 2017 and save 40% or $91.50 on the 2016-2017 Printing Industry Digital Pricing Study.

This special NPRC Study is 114-pages in length and illustrates the latest pricing for digital products and services.

To read more about this study’s content or to read “real-world” testimonials from folks who have already purchased this study visit the NPRC Bookstore here.

Download a free, 4-page PDF from this report by clicking here.

Huge Takeaways from Latest NPRC Financial Ratio Study

 Although the just-released 72-page, 2017-2018 Financial Benchmarking Study published by NPRC is filled with key printing industry financial ratios, there is one page that virtually screams out at the reader with the following warning…

“You cannot survive, let-alone prosper in this industry if you allow your business to report key performance ratios this low!”

As of June 5, 2017 this just-released study is
in both PDF and hard-copy formats! 

Despite the fact that the new Financial Benchmarking Study offers up a variety of breakouts such as comparisons based upon annual sales, percentage of sales produced via offset printing versus digital printing, as well as breakouts based upon “sales per employee,” page 64, titled Key Ratios of All Firms by Profitability Quartiles, offers up some shocking comparisons.

If It Was Up to Me…

John Stewart Executive Director NPRC

The “Key Ratios” page is so important, so valuable, that if it was up to me, I would insist that every owner, especially those who are troubled by the fact that they are not making the kind of money they expect, make a copy of page 64 and tape it to a wall next to their desk. Of course, owners of the more successful companies in this industry have already been doing this for years, it is the troubled firms that I am most concerned with.

The “Key Ratio” section of the study offers up 29 key ratios or percentages used to identify or distinguish top performers in the printing industry against those at the very bottom. The ratios use to analyze firms in various quartiles aren’t inconsequential ratios found in accounting textbooks but rather key financial that impact exactly how much an owner and sometimes his or her spouse take out of the business every two weeks.

“Even more important, the ratios you will discover, when compared to your own ratios, will determine whether, after spending 15-20 years in this industry, you will have anything of substance to either sell or transfer over to a son or daughter!”

Depending upon how your ratios compare to those detailed in the study, these ratios ultimately will determine whether in fact you should return to your previous field of employment or stick it out and try to turn your business around in the next 12-18 months. Even more important, the ratios you will discover, when compared to your own ratios, will determine whether, after spending 15-20 years in this industry you will have anything of substance to either sell or transfer over to a son or daughter!

Comparative Ratios – Winners vs. Laggards

What types of ratios are we talking about? The ratios range from the simplest ones such as annual sales and rates of annual growth based upon four profitability quartiles, to percentage comparisons for fundamental expense categories such as cost of goods, payroll expenses and overhead expenses.

The Benchmarking Study delves far deeper than the basic ratios noted above, with comparisons of ratios such as owner’s compensation, excess earnings, and profits per employee. Other ratios examined include current and quick ratios (all ratios and terms are thoroughly explained in the study), as well as average Accounts Receivable collection days, to return on net assets.  

Below are are just a few of the shocking comparisons between firms at the very top as compared with those at the very bottom.  Remember, the results we are reporting are based upon real-world firms with employee teams, job and equipment mix, and types of sales very similar to your own. Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of rationalizing and saying that, “Things in my market are really different from these companies… my business is really different and there is no way I could achieve these types of ratios. I just can’t worry about things I cannot change.”

 Average Cost of Goods

Although COG, as a percent of sales, has remained fairly steady for almost 30 years in this industry, it is still worth nothing that the “Profit Leaders” in this industry still end up spending 9% less than the “Profit Laggards” when it comes to cost of goods – A shocking indicator that some owners are simply running very poor, very inefficient operations combined most likely with terrible pricing discipline!

“If your COG, as a percent of sales, is 31% or higher you are most likely destined to mediocrity in terms of financial success in this industry.”

The bottom line? If your COG, as a percent of sales, is 31% or higher you are most likely destined to mediocrity in terms of financial success in this industry. Most likely, it is almost impossible for you to become a “profit leader” in this industry with a ratio of 31% or greater. 

Payroll and Overhead Expenses

Once again, according to the Key Ratio Extractions, poorly managed firms in this industry, despite the fact that many of them are averaging annual sales of $1.1 million or more, are doing a terrible job when it comes to controlling both payroll and overhead expenses. In many cases, some of the most troubled firms are paying 4-6 percent more for payroll and overhead than companies in the top quartile!

“How owners can possibly manage, let alone improve their operations, by relying on financial statements that lack even the most basic tools is beyond me!” 

Rest assured that the reasons these companies are paying so much than those at the top are rarely, if ever, related to geographic or demographic reasons. The most common cause is the failure of owners to carefully examine their monthly financial statements and then to take the necessary actions that are so clearly dictated.

To be perfectly blunt, how any owner could discover a total payroll cost ratio (excluding money paid to the owner) of 33-35% from his current financial statements and still be able to sleep well at night is beyond my comprehension. Note too that I am now 73 and really “cranky” sometimes but there are some owners out there who need to be grabbed firmly by the shoulders and given a good shake. 

A special footnote worth mentioning – it is shocking to discover how many owners receive monthly profit and loss statements lacking a vertical column of financial ratios – i.e. the percentage of total sales represented by each expense item. How owners can possibly manage, let alone improve their operations, by relying on financial statements that lack even the most basic tools is beyond me! 

Excess Earnings of Winners

Excess earnings is defined as those funds or profits generated by the business after paying a single owner a fair-market salary for his or her efforts. Excess earnings is often a key factor in determining the value of a business. It is typically subjected to an excess earnings multiplier and used to calculate the value or worth of a business.

“Sad to realize that companies can ignore this type of data for so long, only to realize after spending 15-20 or more years in this industry that their business has no value whatsoever!”

Suffice it to say, that companies in the top quartile in terms of profitability reported an average excess earnings figure of almost $200,000 while firms in the bottom 25% actually reported a negative amount. The latter meaning that these companies have very little if any net worth other than the “street market” value of their equipment.

Sad to realize that companies can ignore this type of data for so long, only to realize after spending 15-20 or more years in this industry that their business has no value whatsoever!

“However, before you start patting yourself on the back, realize that 25% of the entire industry is actually reporting an SPE of $180,000 or greater!”

Sales Per Employee

SPE has always been a reliable indicator of overall productivity, and once again those at the top, according to NPRC’s latest Financial Benchmarking Study, consistently report a considerably higher SPE than those at the bottom. Almost 13% of our participants reported an SPE of less than $100,000!

If your firm’s SPE is below $126,000 you will discover you are in the bottom 25% of the industry – Like it or not, you are clearly doing something wrong, at least compared to your peers, when it comes to either pricing, personnel management or equipment selection and you need to make some dramatic changes in the way you run your business.

If your SPE is in the $156,000 or above range then consider yourself fortunate because that would place you in the top 25% quartile. However, before you start patting yourself on the back, realize that 25% of the entire industry is actually reporting an SPE of $180,000 or greater!

Purchasing this Brand-New Report

The 2017-2018 Financial Benchmarking Study, published by the National Printing Research Council (NPRC), is available for purchase through the NPRC Bookstore. It is priced at $115 and sold on a 100% money-back guarantee. It is only available as a hard copy. Sorry, no PDFs available. To read testimonials from fellow printers, click here.


2017 Benchmark Testimonials Pour In…

If you’re having doubts as to whether you should order the latest, 2017-2018 Financial Benchmarking Study, read some of the early testimonials we have received in the past few days. This new study is available at a record-setting low, low price of only $115, including S&H. This study is sold on a 100% money-back guarantee. All orders are processed and shipped same day as received. Must be placed by 2 p.m. to be shipped same day.

Now here are some of the kind words offered by fellow printers…

Just wanted to say how good it is to see how my business is compared to others in the industry. Just a quick look at the key profit ratios – gross profit, cost of goods sold, salaries, and net profit and I know which areas of my business I need to improve. This is a great tool to help focus on the key areas to take my business in the right direction.

Manish Patel, Kwik Kopy Business Center
Frisco, TX

John, I have always (when available) used the Financial Benchmark Studies to guide my 33-year-old business. I have found it the best way to keep track of business. How else do you compare yourself to the winners and losers? I watch and follow the winners. And that’s what I consider myself. My net worth is now in the millions and I work two days a week. Working these days keeps my mind sharp and it is almost like getting paid to have a hobby.

Bill Howard, Princeton
Printer of Princeton, Princeton, NJ

While it is difficult to self-examine businesses we are close to, it helps so much to have peer review and comparison to either spur us on or pat us on the back as the case might be. It’s a great chance to come out of the minutia of a day and really get an excellent evaluation of where we are and where we can improve. Thanks for the study. I will review it frequently.

Tom Short, Trademark Printing,
Cookeville, TN

The Benchmark studies help us compare our business to others in the industry. Without it, how do you know if it’s just you having the problem or if your firm should be doing better than it is?

Michael Brown, Sir Speedy,
Havertown, PA

The Financial Benchmarking Study is one book in the Printer’s Bible. When my father passed away back in 1988, I was 26-years-old and didn’t have a lot of experience. I joined NAQP, met John Stewart, and I have participated and grown for the past 37 years because of the benchmarking value in these reports. They are priceless when it comes to knowing where the financial numbers ‘should be.’

Mike Henle, Henle Printing Co.,
Marshall, MN

The Benchmarking Study is the single most important study for success in the quick print industry. The opportunity to see where highly successful and less than successful printing companies are landing in terms of their cost of goods, payroll and their overhead ratios is a tremendous resource to be used to gauge your own business…. Are you charging enough compared to what you are spending on the products that you sell? Is your payroll in line with similar firms in today’s market? These are measurements that are readily available in the pages of the Benchmark Study.

Jeff Swales, GM, XPress Printing, Inc.,
Sisters, OR

I have been running my small print shop for 32 years. During that time I have relied on the Financial Benchmark Study to help keep me up to date with national trends. In my opinion, everyone who owns a print shop should participate, then fully read and understand what our industry is doing nationwide.

Ralph Dunavant, American Printing & Promotions,
Manassas, VA

Running the printing portion of this business is easy compared to doing the financial side. The surveys and ratio studies that John Stewart and NPRC produce are an enormous benefit. Participating and utilizing them will make a huge difference to your bottom line.

Danny Correll, First Impressions Printing & Design,
Springfield, MO

There are few resources for small to mid-size printers more valuable than the Financial Benchmarking Study John Stewart and Larry Hunt generate biennially. We use this report to evaluate where we are as a company as well as being able to to insure we are making the right decisions to remaiin viable as a company. The report shines a bright light on areas that we need to improve and reinforces our belief in what we are doing right. Without this report and other surveys produced by this team, we would be at a significant disadvantage to the larger print providers.

Jim Fairweather, Hudson Printing,
Carlsbad, CA

Turning Printing Firms Around…

Turning Printing Companies Around One Firm at a Time!
By John Stewart… Between the late 1990s and well into the first decade of this century I made my living providing individualized, on-site consulting services to printing firms throughout the U.S. and abroad. I sometimes joke with folks that while my short-term memory has really gotten bad recently, I can recall almost every single detail, including the layout of the shop and the problems encountered, involving the 400+ consulting visits I undertook in those days.

I consulted with printers in almost every state in the U.S. including two separate firms in Alaska. I also traveled to Australia, Brazil and Venezuela, the latter visit being exceptionally memorable because to this day I still vividly remember the press operators using gasoline as a press wash! I was still smoking in those days, but I was not alone – the press operators seemed fine with have a cigarette themselves as they washed up their presses!

I’ve often thought I could put on a pretty interesting seminar about all those consulting visits, and one of the first stories I would probably tell would be one about the owner of a business, who during an early morning conversation, asked me to step outside for some additional privacy.

Once outside, he confessed with a couple of tears running down his cheek that he had a personal crisis on his hands, a crisis so bad in his own mind that he had seriously contemplated suicide. He told me he actually had been thinking about taking this action during the past few weeks and was actually waiting to hear what advice I might have to offer.

“Once outside, he confessed with a couple of tears running down his cheek that he had a personal crisis on his hands, a crisis so bad in his own mind that he had seriously contemplated suicide.”

Someday, I hope to write more detailed account about that visit, but suffice it to say it we were able to resolve his major personal problems far quicker than many situations I had encountered in the past. The solution to his problem was so simple I still shake my head that it took a visit from me to resolve the problem.

The Secret Tool I Used

The problems I encountered during my many consulting visits covered the gamut from brand new owners perplexed as how to proceed with their new business to dealing with cantankerous owners who hated their employees and couldn’t wait to get out of the business. The variety of situations I encountered amazes me even to this day. I recall a couple that broke out into a horrendous argument in front of me and their employees. I remember another owner who had a heart of gold and believed she should clock-in on the time clock just to prove she was one of the team members.

Occasionally, I even found myself being hired by couples who were in the midst of purchasing a printing firm but had no hands-on experience doing so. They wanted a quick primer on the industry and that’s what I often ended up offering – an intense two-day seminar, sometimes in their living rooms, about the printing industry, especially what is often referred to even today as the “quick printing” of the industry.

During those many years of on-site consulting, I had one distinct advantage over other consultants in the printing industry – I had been the co-author of one of the printing industry’s oldest and most beneficial studies of all – the Printing Industry’s Operating Ratio Reports.

As the author and publisher of what is now referred to as the printing industry’s Financial Benchmarking Studies, I almost always brought along a couple of copies to share with clients. I invariably ended up using the facts and key ratios highlighted in these studies to illustrate my observations about achieving high levels of profitability. These studies, especially the benchmarking studies, turned out to be my “secret consulting tools” that I used during my consulting visits.

“These studies, especially the benchmarking studies, turned out to be
my ‘secret consulting tools’ that I used during my consulting visits.”

If the above sounds like a plug for the just-released 2017-2018 Financial Benchmarking Study I guess it is, although it was unintended when first written. I do know, deep in my heart, that the value of the information contained in these studies is unmatched, and I only wish I had the one-on-one time to convince printers that they ought give serious thought to ordering their own copy.

Visit for more information. Remember too that this study is sold on a 100% money-back guarantee. No questions asked.

Key Ratios and Profit Quartiles

During a typical on-site consulting visit, it was not unusual for me to spend two to three hours reviewing some of the key financial data contained in these studies. I would often turn to my favorite section in the studies, the “profitability quartiles,” and point out the kinds of key ratios these folks needed to achieve to succeed in the industry. “You need to study this stuff, just like when you were in school, and commit some of these figures to memory,” I would preach.

By the end of a typical visit, I would leave with them a copy of the benchmarking report with various sections high-lighted with a yellow marker and a number pages with either a paperclip at the top or the corners turned down.

“Look, your payroll costs, compared to the companies in the top 25-35% of the industry, are way out of line. The bottom line is not that you are paying folks too much, but rather you have far more employees than you need to sell what you are selling. If you want to succeed and really prosper in this industry, you need to make some hard decisions before I leave,” I would tell them.

Sometimes, I would really get excited trying to emphasize key industry trends and point out the changes that had occurred in the industry. By the time I concluded a visit, the typical client had been provided an abundance of data indicating the steps needed in order to truly improve their profitability.

I remember one unusual consulting assignment I undertook that involved visiting four firms (all members of a specific franchise) within the course of a single week. I spent one day with each client. By the end of three of the visits, I remember talking to Mary and describing an unusual rash that had developed on my neck.

I described the rash and how it was bothering me, and without missing a beat she said, “You know of course what is causing your rash, don’t you?” I said “no,” and she told me the rash was being caused by all the individual crises I had previously described to her during the week. Every day I would call her first thing in the morning and describe what had transpired the previous day, and unbeknownst to me, I had been describing to her the types of situations that would make many individuals breakout in a terrible rash!

“You know of course what is causing your rash, don’t you?” I said “no,” and she told me the rash was being caused by all the individual crises I had previously described to her during the week.

Sometimes, before I left, we were able to turn raw data taken from these benchmarking studies, into practical action steps that needed to be taken in the next few days. It wasn’t that difficult, after spending a couple of days on site, to determine who were the productive employees that needed to be kept and those employees that were clearly expendable. Tough decisions for sure, but then again making tough decisions is what it takes to run a profitable business.

Sometimes, the problems facing a company were not quite as obvious, but I never recall a consulting visit where I did not feel I had left the owners with sound recommendations as to how they could improve their profitability and the overall operations of the firm. I estimate that 80% or more of the problems I encountered during these consulting visits were directly related to problems uncovered during an examination of their financial statements.

I am still amazed even today at the number of owners who send me financial statements lacking the most basic element of a profit & loss statement – the ratios (percentages) that should appear adjacent to each expense item that breakout the expense item as a percent of total sales.

Leading a Horse to Water
I am sometimes amused when I read some of the thousands of posts that appear on some of the industry listservs to notice how very, very few posts seem to question or deal with financial ratios in the printing industry. It often amazes me to read how many owners are so consumed with discussing equipment selection, solving personnel problems, running kraft envelopes and where to to buy golf shirts while seeming to ignore issues that I think ought to dominate every listserv. Firms that desire to move to the head of the pack need to spend a lot more time analyzing and improving key profitability ratios and spending far less time worrying about sourcing kraft envelopes and ball caps.

Proofing the above paragraph leads me to wonder how I ever attracted any followers or friends in this industry! <g>

“It often amazes me to read how many owners are so consumed with discussing equipment selection, solving personnel problems, running kraft envelopes and where to to buy golf shirts while seeming to ignore issues that I think ought to dominate every listserv.”

Almost everyone is familiar with the saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” Well, that saying is quite appropriate when it comes to convincing printers how important and how valuable a benchmarking study can be to their business and the bottom line.

Ironically, most industries and most of the trade associations that serve them, simply do not publish operating ratio studies, and when they do, they often are under appreciated and rarely get the “rave” reviews they deserve. The printing industry is a case in point. The printing industry was one of the first major industries in the U.S. to publish operating ratio studies, but historically it has always been difficult to encourage printers to participate in the initial surveys or to purchase a study after it was published.

Unfortunately, you can’t make an owner participate in these surveys nor can you make them purchase a study and put into practice what they might discover inside if they spent the two to three hours (that’s really all it takes) required to really master what these studies have to offer.

Ratios Worth Analyzing

There are many ratios worth examining when running a printing business, but if the typical owner just concentrated on learning and mastering three key ratios they could easily surpass the profitability levels of most in this industry. Owners need to fully understand how to control and adjust ratios dealing with (1) payroll costs (all costs, direct and indirect, excluding those attributed to a single owner), (2) cost of goods and (3) overhead costs.

When you can analyze what other companies, similar in size to your own are reporting for these ratios, and when you can look at a breakout of printers broken down into four different quartiles and see what they are reporting you have a plateful of evidence upon which to act. Most of the time, it is not enough to just discover that your ratios are “off,” you need to have the guts and fortitude to make changes based upon what you uncover.

“Most of the time, it is not enough to just discover that your ratios are ‘off,’ you need to have the guts and fortitude to make changes based upon what you uncover.”

The problem with many owners in this industry (my opinion of course) is that they will rationalize to death that the facts revealed in these studies simply don’t apply to them, and furthermore, they will insist that their market is different and they can’t possibly make the changes that would otherwise seem pretty logical to anyone else armed with the same facts and scenarios.

A Closing Thought…

I actually miss writing for Quick Printing magazine, but then again it isn’t the same magazine that I wrote for for more than 25+ years. In those days, most issues averaged 100+ pages in length, and circulation and actual readership was much larger. Today, Quick Printing magazine can be more accurately described as a newsletter as opposed to a magazine. In the “old days” the editors (I went through four during my 25+ years as a senior columnist) rarely imposed strict word counts on my columns. Today, they would have a heart attack with the length of an article such as this.

I might consider bringing back to life my monthly column to this website, if I thought there was enough interest. As many readers know, I love to tell stories and I probably mentioned three or four possible stories just in this column. Your thoughts? Email me at:

New Net Worth Survey Published!

The National Printing Research Council (NPRC) has released its latest industry survey providing a detailed analysis of the personal net worth of printers. The report was mailed 1st Class and or distributed via email to more than 120 participating firms. The report is now available for sale (hard copies only) in the NPRC Bookstore.

“Successes, regrets and advice section was priceless. I have followed many of those suggestions over the years and it has paid off.”
John Byrd, Bryd Printing Co., Norcross, GA

“I have been in the printing business for over 36 years and always wondered how I was doing compared to other print shops. With this Net Worth Study, now I know. No more guessing.” 
Dan Tiedt Sr., PIP Marketing/Signs/Print,Iowa City, Iowa

Click here to review additional testimonials provided by fellow printers. Read what they have to say about the value of this just-released report.

Retail Price… $225    
NPRC Member Price… $112.50
At the present time, this report is only available as a hard copy. No PDFs.

In the meantime, NPRC has released some preliminary statistics uncovered in the survey:

  • 24% of survey participants report a net worth between $501,000 and $1 million.
  • Average net worth of all participants is $2.2 million
  • Average 2016 sales of participants is $1.5 million
  • Approximately 62% of all owners surveyed indicated they owned their own building. It’s even higher among those with the highest net worth.
  • Estimated average value of building (if owned) is $709,000.
  • 28% of owners indicate they also own other commercial real estate.
  • Approximately 37%  of those surveyed indicated they owned other “non-commercial” real estate such as second homes, vacation cottages, etc.

The National Printing Research Council is dedicated to publishing hard-hitting, fact-based research studies and surveys that directly benefit its members. We employ a full-time executive director with extensive knowledge of the industry, and we are available 24/7 to answer questions about pricing, profitability, wages, key financial ratios, and valuation methods. And best yet, we offer those services and more for low annual dues of ONLY $240!

A special new-member bonus! Printers who join NPRC between now and March 16, 2017 will receive a FREE copy of the above-mentioned confidential report on personal net worth. This is a “first-of-its-kind” report and is sure to spark a lot of discussion in the printing industry. 

This represents data representing the net worth of the average American Household in 2013 (latest available). As you can see, as the owner of a small, closely held business the odds are in your favor of far exceeding the average net worth of most Americans.

More than 120 owners, with sales ranging from $200,000 to $7.5 million, shared highly personal data about their personal net worth and told us where and how this wealth was acquired. This report, which will retail for $295.00, is expected to be released no later than Jan. 31, 2017. No other industry trade organization gathers, analyzes and provides this type of in-depth information.

NPRC Releases Wage Study (See Graphs)

Failing to keep up with wages & benefits can easily cost a firm thousands $$$, and that’s why NPRC decided to move ahead late this fall and conduct its latest industry survey – The 2017-2018 Wage & Benefits Survey.

2017-18wagecoverThe new, just-released Wage & Benefits Study, covering 22 key positions in our industry, is packed with valuable information pertaining to wages, salaries and benefits offered by printers from across the U.S.

Like all surveys published by NPRC, firms that participated in the survey and submitted their survey form by the Oct. 31st deadline received their complimentary copy of the study on or about Nov. 30, 2016. 

You can order this study now by visiting the NPRC bookstore.  Retail Price: $179; NPRC Member Price: $89.50. All publications published by NPRC are sold on a 100% Money-Back guarantee! No questions asked!

Below are a few of the graphs included in this latest NPRC Study. 


The distribution of survey participants by reported SPE is quite similar to what has been reported in previous industry surveys and studies.


Owners were asked to provide their level of profitability. The resulting data was graphed accordingly. Approximately 45% of our respondents told us they were either “above average” or “high profit firms”.


We took the SPE data provided by respondents and ranked it from low to high; next, we divided the list of 280+ firms into four approximate quartiles or quarters and then averaged the result of each quartile. Above is the resulting data.


This chart simply illustrates the number of individual positions for which wage, salary and benefit data was provided. As an example, 125 of our responding firms provided data on the position we described as, “Sr. Graphics & Pre-Press.” Both average and median wage data is provided in this study.