Bookstore Re-Opens With 15% Sale

NPRC is celebrating the re-opening of its Bookstore with a 15% Discount Coupon on all studies. The studies on sale include the following:

  • The 2019-2020 Financial Benchmarking Study
  • 2018-2019 Signs & Wide Format Pricing Study
  • The 2019-2020 Digital Color Pricing Study
  • 2018 Bindery Services Pricing Study
  • The 2019 Wage & Benefits Study

NPRC Bookstore Orders are typically processed and shipped within four hours. All publications are sold with a 100% Money-Back Guarantee if the study is not everything we promise! Click here to visit the NPRC Bookstore.

A New Look at Company Valuations

NPRC recently sent out an email offering a free copy of a previously published company valuation chart. The chart compared 35 different offset/digital printing firms in terms of gross sales and estimated value. The chart provides a summary of 35 valuations conducted in the past eight years by QP Consulting, Inc.. The data provided illustrates huge variations in valuations for printing firms reporting similar annual sales.

Click on the chart to view and download the entire chart comparing 35 valuations.

 The chart (see above) also clearly notes that there is little relationship between annual sales and the estimated value of the business. When you compare the estimated value of printing firms as they relate to their reported annual sales the results are nothing short of startling.

Download Free Article

Our recent email on valuations also referred readers to an article previously published on this website titled, 10 Suggestions for Increasing Company Value. If you’ve never read the article now’s your chance. We encourage you to visit this website by clicking on the Blog Tab above.

There you will have a chance to explore dozens of valuable articles and posts. Yes, some do promote previous studies and publications, but others are offered to assist fellow printers confronting various challenges in the industry.

Ten New Firms Examined

Spurred on as we examined the data from the previous valuation chart, we decided to pull out some newer folders and examine a random selection of ten valuations conducted in the past 18 months. Below is a chart depicting some of these more recent valuations.

Of special interest is that while the average annual sales of our recent sampling came very close to our previous sample of 35 firms, there was a significant increase in the average estimated value of our newest sampling when expressed as a percent of sales.

In our earlier analysis of 35 firms, the average value as a percent of sales was 49.3% and the median was 44.1%. In our newest extraction of ten firms, the average percent of sale valuation was 62.7% and the median was 63.8%. Put simply, the value or estimated worth of the average company requesting our services appears to have increased.

Recent valuations coming in at higher values relative to annual sales.

Company Values Increase

The far right-hand column below simply indicates value of the firm in question in terms of percent of gross sales. (Example: Our valuation of Anderson Digital estimated that we believed the firm was worth 79.5% of its most recent annual gross sales.) It is critical to note that just because we calculated an estimated value for a firm does not mean that it would likely sell for that amount!

The reality of the market today is that even healthy, profitable firms may not sell for anything close to what the formulas say they are worth. In fact, it is quite possible that despite the best efforts some firms might never sell.

Is there an explanation for this increase? Yes, we believe the increase can be attributed to the fact that the industry continues to shrink in size, and we are indeed looking at a situation of survival of the fittest where only the healthiest of printing firms can survive. Of course that doesn’t mean all of our ten firms are healthy, but it does mean that competition in terms good to excellent financial ratios is improving.

Are Firms More Attractive to Buyers?

As a general rule, firms that continue to survive and prosper today are indeed financially stronger firms. Nonetheless, just because many of these firms appear to be stronger and healthier than those previewed in the past, it does not mean they are necessarily more attractive to potential buyers.

Like it or not, there are not a lot of “newbies” out there looking to buy a printing firm – printing is no longer perceived as a growing industry that one should consider and explore. Most potential buyers are existing printing firms wishing to expand their sales and customer base through acquisitions rather than generating new sales.



Pricing Study Now Available as PDF

In response to dozens and dozens of requests from printers across the country, the new 2019-2020 “Sweet Sixteen” Digital Color Pricing Study is now being made available as a PDF. Retail Price for the PDF is $225. Hard copy price remains at $245.

The new 90+ page study is packed with the latest pricing for dozens of the industry’s most popular digital products and services. The study provides average and median pricing for products such as flyers and catalog sheets (8.5 x 11″ and 11 x 17″), rack cards, postcards, carbonless forms, stand-alone click charges, newsletters and catalogs (8, 16 and 32-pages), digitally produced envelopes, business cards as well as industry discounting practices.

Quantities covered typically include 100, 500, 1,000 and 2,500 but vary depending upon the specific product. Average as well as median prices are provided for virtually all products, as well as individual unit prices. To order and receive your PDF copy today, visit the NPRC Bookstore.

Industry Mark-up Rates & Practices

Occasionally, we receive inquiries from printers asking us about markup rates and practices in our industry. Some of the inquiries come from folks who have just gotten into the business, while others come from old-timers who entered the industry during the 1980’s and 90’s.

Here’s an email we received just the other day along with our partial response:

“Hello John, I received the new pricing guide and think it is great information, thank you. I do have a question that maybe you could point me in the right direction.  We’re going thru the process of updating my pricing ,  and I’m interested on how other printers handle outsourced costs & final price vs in house.

“I use PrintSmith and years back set up a mark-up % for cost to arrive at a selling price. However I’m struggling to have a consistent price point when generating an invoice to the end user when we decide to outsource vs in-house. I may be making it to complicated, but hoping someone could give me some pointers.”

I responded with the following:

Dear Bob (not his real name), the best I can offer is some observations based upon 35+ years of consulting plus more than 30 years of publishing various pricing studies.

My first observations is that most printers really don’t understand the purpose of mark-ups and consequently, they tend to use far lower markup rates than they should.

Markups on purchases of outside products and services should be used to establish a selling price that recovers all direct and indirect costs as well as the anticipated risks, as well as produce a reasonable profit. Unfortunately, many, many printers in this country aren’t doing that. In fact, the more they broker the lower their profits tend to be.

Low Costs, Thus Low Markups?

A couple of weeks before receiving the inquiry from Bob, I received a similar inquiry from a graphic designer who told me he was just starting off in business. He said he already had a couple of customers but was totally confused about what types of markups he should use when purchasing brokered services.

He emphasized the fact that his business was very small but he wanted to grow. He noted that right now he was working out of his house and thus he had little or no overhead to account for, so in his mind that justified much lower markups. In fact, by not having to markup jobs as much he figured he has a competitive advantage.

Of course the flaw in that argument is that if he truly wants to grow his business, acquire an office, hire staff or a secretary to field calls and inquiries, he needs to be taking that into account now when he sets his markup rates. “How do you ever expect to grow and prosper if you are not charging enough now to produce profits sufficient to finance and support that growth,” I asked.

Many printers intentionally ignore a fundamental business principle that states that when it comes to pricing, every effort must be taken to recover all direct and indirect expenses involved in the production or brokering of a job. Just because a job is brokered doesn’t mean it is exempt from contributing to the general overhead expenses of the business.

The facts are it is highly unlikely you would fielding calls regarding those brokered products if it was not for the physical structure being supported by those fixed overhead expenses. If you fail to account for these types of expenses and fail to assign a portion of these costs to every brokered job you are making a serious mistake.

Markup Rates & Practices

If you bring up the topic of markups in a gathering of printers you will likely hear two common responses:

  • ” We generally double our costs, unless it is a big job and then we might lower that a bit.”
  • “We markup all outside purchases by 50%, unless they are really big jobs and might drop that down to 40% or so.”

The problem with the practice of “doubling the costs” is that it is rarely applied as a “flat” across-the-board markup. Far more common, is the practice of lowering markup rates as the costs increase. While this practice holds up well for brokered products and services costing $100 or less, many printers feel compelled to dramatically lower the markup percentages they use when dealing with brokered jobs costing them $500, $1,000 and more.

So while a 100% markup (doubling the costs) might be considered adequate for jobs costing $100 or less,  many printers seem to be terribly reluctant to use similar markups as their internal cost of the jobs starts to approach $250, $1,000 and $2,500. The irony of this type of attitude is that the financial risk increases as the cost of the job increases. If a job that costs $50 and is sold for $100 has to be “eaten” by the average printer, he or she can afford the costs of the rerun. However, what about the brokered job costing $2,500 that must be rerun at the printer’s expense? Was it marked up sufficiently to cover the risks that might be involved if the job has to be rerun at the printer’s expense? Generally, the answer is “No.”

Gross Profits* Too Low

What about marking everything up by 50% or so? Does that work? Not if you want to survive in this industry and remain profitable.  Marking something up by only 50% produces a gross profit of 33%, far too low a gross profit to sustain, let alone grow a business. Even doubling the price (a markup of 100%) produces a gross profit of 50%, and that is still too low.

*Gross Profit is defined as selling price less cost of goods. Labor costs are not included in cost of goods.

A Markup of 100%

Selling Price $ 200
Cost $ 100
Gross Profit $ 100 (50%)

A Markup of 50%

Selling Price $ 150
Cost $ 100
Gross Profit $ 50 (33%)

It is important to note that in the printing industry, as a general rule, the average gross profit ranges between 68-70% on all jobs. However, if it is a brokered job and you’ve marked it up 100% you are producing a gross profits substantially lower than if that job or a similar job had been produced internally.  Ironically, the risks involved in brokered jobs is significantly higher than those jobs produced internally. When you broker a job, you lose control of the production process. When a job is produced internally, you can spot, correct and fix mistakes far quicker than when a job is brokered.

For the record, firms that tend to broker 25% or more of their sales to outside vendors typically report significantly lower gross profits and lower net owner’s compensation. Although brokering can be profitable, it is rarely as profitable as work produced internally. The bottom line, the more a firm brokers, the less profits it tends to produce.  (Data extracted from page 33, of the 2017-18 Financial Benchmarking Study.)

All too often it seems that printers are more concerned with pleasing customers and making them happy than they are producing a profit. I suspect, that there are some printers out there who would gladly markup something up as little as 10-15% just to keep a customer happy. Worse, are the printers who totally ignore their labor and overhead costs and thus fail to take these costs into account when calculating the types and percentages of of costs that need to be recovered by every single job processed through the printing firm – produced internally or by a broker.

Don’t ever apologize – A printer who knows a brokered job will cost him $1,000 and marks it by 70% and consequently sells it for $1,700 has nothing whatsoever to apologize for or feel guilty about! Remember too, that graphic design charges and shipping charges also need to be added to that $1,700 job.

Many of the pricing studies produced by NPRC report on markup practices. Some studies only cover paper markup practices, while other studies have addressed markup practices involving outside products. The 2018-19 Signs & Wide Format Pricing Study is a good example of the latter.

Markup Rates for Outsourced Products & Services – 2018-19 Signs & Wide Format Pricing Study

As I told Bob in my email to him, “Most printers tend to use a sliding scale based upon their costs, whether they are dealing with cost of paper or the cost of the brokered product or services. Whether the markups they are using are sufficient remains to be seen.”

I offered Bob some examples of current markups in use in our industry. The data I sent him appears below:


Brokered Cost $50 $100 $250 $1,000
Mark-up % 120% 99% 86% 71%
Aver. Selling Price $110 $199 $465 $1,715

The data above is taken from page 54 of the 2018-2019 Signs & Wide Format Pricing Study. I know many printers that would  use far more aggressive markup rates.

There is one very successful printer in the Northeast who would scoff at using any markup less than 100%, regardless of the projected selling price. In fact, this printer tends to prefer using markups of 125-150%. She knows full well that some of her more timid competitors just down the street would never consider using markup rates anywhere near that large.  Does she worry about losing a job because a competitor is offering the same job for far less? Not a chance.

For those printers (and I know some of you will react this way) who will respond by claiming there is no way they could get away with markups like we are talking about I will tell you that you are wrong. Yes indeed, there are printers within a couple of blocks of your operation that are indeed marking up 100% or more and getting the jobs – the same jobs that you will timidly markup 30-40%!

Many readers claim to know their markets when nothing could be further from the truth. They know nothing more about their markets that what an occasional customer has remarked about their pricing. Oh, you conducted a pricing survey a couple of years ago and you know what your market will accept in terms of markups. Hogwash!

I’ll bet the survey wasn’t worth the paper it was written on, and I wouldn’t put a lot of faith in the individual conducting that survey either! Who was it? Your lead CSR, your delivery guy or possibly your cousin? Wolw, before you rationalize and give us all the reasons why you can’t do this and why you can’t do that, read the article titled “Shopping Your Competitors” in the NPRC Blog.

Less successful printers, those who make marginal profits and struggle to make payroll including their own, tend to shy away from markups of 100% and more, believing instead that markups of 50% are good enough, which of course they never are!


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.



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 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.

NPRC Releases Signs & Wide Format Pricing Study

NPRC Releases Signs & Wide Format Pricing Study

The 2018-2019 Signs & Wide Format Pricing Study is NPRC’s newest research study, and it is now available for immediate shipment.  This study has already proven to be a real eye-opener for many firms!

Order this new study  today by visiting NPRC’s Bookstore at Remember, 98% of  all orders are processed and mailed same day as received. 

Covering dozens of products & services – This new, 110+ page study details real-world pricing practices for dozens of the most common products and services in the signs and wide format industry. Click here or the artwork below to view and download two sample pricing pages. 

Click below to view
Table of contents 


 “After reviewing the latest Sign & Wide Format study I realized I’d been leaving money ‘sitting on the table’ on some products. Literally within minutes of receiving the study, I was able to confidently revise a quote for a customer, knowing the price would still be fair yet competitive. The resulting revenue increase nearly covered the cost of the study—and that’s just one project! Thank you for all of your hard work.”

James Jepsen, General Manager
Local Copies Etc. Santa Maria CA 

“The work that John and his team do is so great for our industry and I would hope more companies invest the time in taking part in the survey every year. We all rise up together and this work is a great step for all of us! Our company is only 4 years old so this information is invaluable.”

Zeno Signs & Chesterton Printing Co.
Chesterton, IN

“Hi John. Got the study, printed it, and now using it. Every time we get a survey from you we spend a good deal of time reviewing our pricing. I know we should do this more often but your surveys are the ‘kick in the butt’ that we need to make sure we are getting the best return on our work. I have been doing these surveys for more than 20 years. While I own other businesses, there is nothing in those industries to compare with the surveys you produce. Thanks.”

Jon Robson
Auburn Document Centre, Auburn, NY

Survey Participants?

What about those who participated in the survey? Firms that participated in the original survey received an email and a PDF of the 2018 Signs & Wide Format Pricing Study on Tuesday, Sept. 11th, so if you participated in this survey you are urged to carefully check your email for Sept. 11-12th for an email with a SUBJECT LINE: “Urgent, your Signs & Wide Format Pricing Study is attached.”  

NPRC makes every effort to process and send copies of its studies on a timely basis to all those who participate, but participants also have a responsibility to promptly open and download the attached PDFs. In most cases, folks who call us and complain that they never received their copy typically end up finding it in their spam or trash folders. Please check all of your folders before emailing us about a missing copy. 

This information-packed study offers average and median pricing for dozens of products and services offered in the sign industry, including the following: 

  • Laminating Services
  • Substrate Pricing Retail and Discounted)
  • 3′ x 6′ and 4′ x 8′ Banners
  • Vertical Banners & Stands
  • Feather Flags
  • 4MM Coroplast Yard Signs (1-S & 2-S)
  • ACM Panel Pricing (18″ x 24″ and 24′ x 36′)
  • Magnetic Signs
  • Decals – square and contour cut
  • Vehicle Decals
  • Flat Surface Vehicle Wraps
  • Window Perfs
  • Basic Pricing Charges for Vinyl Signs

The study is available in both PDF and Hard-Copy formats.