Wife Needs Help Pricing 24-Page Booklet

Wife Needs Help With Pricing
24-Page Booklet With Cover

By John Stewart, Executive Director NPRC

Last week Mary (my wife) came into my office and asked me to help her price a 24-page booklet. A woman had just come into the shop and asked for a quote and Mary needed to get back to the customer quickly. She asked me for help in working up a price. “Of course I can,” I said. “I’m the expert on stuff like this. In fact, I can even sell you a copy of the latest 2018 Digital Color Pricing Study at a heavily discounted price.”

“Oh shut up,” she said. “Just work out the price for me and then you can go back and play with your Excel files.” she added. With no real options to consider, I grabbed a nearby copy of the pricing study and started jotting down some notes.

“Oh shut up,” she said. “Just work out the price for me and then you can go back and play with your Excel files.” she added.

The problem with using many of the pricing studies that we have published over the years is the fact that no matter how extensive they are, it is virtually impossible to find a nice, neat answer for every job, every quantity and every size that comes in the front door.

Why? Because there is no way our pricing studies (or any pricing study for that matter) can anticipate every possible scenario. Cover or no cover? Finished size 5.5 x 8.5 or 8.5 x 11”? Bleed or no bleed? How many pages? And of course, what’s the finished quantity? Also, what kind of delivery time is the customer requesting?

It is virtually impossible to provide easy-to-read tables that can provide pricing for all the possible scenarios. What often ends up happening is that we end up using interpolation and other simple math tricks to arrive at our best estimate for a job, using data available in one of these pricing studies.

As we often note in the introduction to pricing studies – the prices we report are not necessarily “prices as they should be, but rather prices as they are.” There’s a big difference. Nonetheless, the average and median prices we present in this and other studies tend to represent “fair market” pricing for the products we survey, especially if you are interested in comparing your price to what others might charge for the same job! 

Mary’s Specific Project

I asked Mary to give me the specifics and I would help her come up with a price. Here’s what she provided:

  • A 24-page booklet with a separate cover. (6 11×17 signatures, 4/4 on 100# coated text and a 4/4 cover on 100# coated cover.) No bleeds. Saddle stitched with a face trim.
  • Quantity: 750 copies
  • Normal, 4-5 day turn-around required

Ok, so I grabbed a copy of the 2018 Digital Color Pricing Study and dove in. First, I checked pages 58 and 59 where we report pricing for newsletters & booklets. The first problem, is that while we provide pricing for 16-page booklets and 32-page booklets, we don’t report pricing for 20-page or 24-page booklets so we would have to do some interpolation with the prices that were provided.

Mind you, when we report pricing for specific quantities and sizes of booklets, we provide a lot of info like average and median pricing for completed quantities, pricing per individual book and we even suggest a range in pricing within which you are probably “safe” to quote. We call it a “majority low” and “majority high” range. Nonetheless, we cannot provide pricing for every possible size and format. Sometimes, that’s up to the reader to tackle.

Second problem, although once again minor, is that while we may provide pricing for quantities such as 100, 500, 1M and 2.5M booklets, we don’t report pricing for 250 or 750 booklets. Another interpolation being required.

Here Are My Notes For the Quote

Raw Pricing from 2018 Pricing Study

Booklet Size                Qty 500       Qty 1,000

 16-page + Cover             $1,987              $3,415

32-page + Cover              $3,246             $5,762                

 

Revised Pricing Notes (with 24-page booklets added)

Booklet Size                Qty 500       Qty 1,000

 16-page + Cover            $1,987                $3,415

24-page + Cover*           $2,616               $4,588 << simple interpolation prices

32-page + Cover             $3,246               $5,762

* With a 24-page booklet being precisely between a 16-page and a 32-page in terms page quantity, it was simple math to add the lower quantity price and the higher quantity price and then divide the total by 2. Some folks might consider using a weighted average, but that’s probably overkill for most.

Ok, we’ve got pricing for the right size of booklet, but we don’t have pricing for the right quantity. Once again, at least in this case, we turned to simple match to calculate the price for 750 copies. We kept it simple. ($2,616 + $4,588)/2). The final answer for a quantity of 750, 24-page booklets with a separate cover was $3,602 or $4.80 per book.

Finished? Not quite! When you start looking at all the pricing information available just on these two pages it can be overwhelming. Is some of the pricing data skewed by a few high numbers in our data base? Possible but not likely, but we nonetheless offer both average and median numbers so that folks can consider modest differences in those two prices. The median price is sometimes a safer bet, but the averages are typically what we use. Sometimes (as in this example) the difference between the average and median price at the 500 quantity was less than $150 or about $0.20 cents per book.

Someone looking at just these two pricing pages (pages 58 & 59) would also see that we offer a “majority low” and “majority high price” as well – thus throwing another variable into the pricing mix.

Mary’s Final Price

Ok, so what did Mary finally decide to go with after looking at the $3,602 price I provided? After looking at that price and considering various alternative prices, she decided to go with $3,189 or $4.25 per book.

How did she select that final price to quote? In all honesty, she says she sort of used her gut instinct, then reached up into the air and came down with that final price.  Less than two hours transpired between the time the customer first walked in the door and the time Mary emailed her with the final price. Within 15 minutes the customer email Mary and gave her the Ok to proceed. They stressed the fact that it was definitely needed by Friday end of day.

A bit of background is in order. The client is a fairly large Baptist church that does an amazing amount of outreach and fundraising for charitable projects around the world. Although Mary and I are not Baptists, we found ourselves agreeing and admiring how much outreach this church does around the world. The church plans to distribute these booklets this weekend to solicit contributions for its ongoing efforts. Looking at the dozens of photos demonstrating all their projects and outreach, even Mary and I were impressed. 

The woman who originally brought the job to us to quote apparently had full authority to make the final decisions. As it turned out, we surmised, based upon teh fast response and Ok to our quote, that we were the only vendor they had turned to – whether it was due to our reputation or a reference we will probably never know. By the way, this is a good time to note that not every customer in every market is looking for the lowest price. Far from it, despite all the naysayers out there that keep insisting how their markets are different and that most customers are only concerned with price.

By the way, I also know that some of the good marketing experts out there would also be yelling and screaming at us that we should follow-up and ask what else can we do for them. We didn’t and probably won’t.

Oh, by the way, this article is being written on Thursday, Oct. 18th.  The job was due tomorrow. I just checked with Mary and asked her how the job is coming. Remember, I have no day-to-day involvement with the operations of our small printing firm, so I know very little about what is going on most of the time. Mary told me that the job was actually picked up about an hour ago (24 hours earlier than promised) and the customer was really pleased.

Second Thoughts & Fears

If you’ve been in this industry for 10 years or more there are always lingering fears and questions when running what for us is a fairly large job.

  • The nightmare scenario has always been receiving a phone call from the client within 30 or less after have delivered the job. When someone announces Mrs. Smith is on the line nobody wants to talk to her about the job because we assume the worse, like a complaint about missing signatures, or a misplaced photo or one entire signature being out of place in the booklet. Yes, that happens, but then again they sometimes just call you to thank you for a job well done.
  • Of course, there is always the second guessing about the price. Would we have gotten the Ok to print had we quoted an extra $200 or $300? The answer in this case is almost a definite “Yes.” Nonetheless, we know the price was inherently fair. As it turned out, it actually ran much smoother than expected, even with a couple of minor problems with our booklet maker.

 

Pricing Study – Table of Contents and Sample Pricing Page

You asked for it, so we did it! Recently we received some inquiries from owners who have been thinking about purchasing our latest pricing study – The 2018 Digital Color Pricing Study, but told us that before they placed an order they would like to view the Table of Contents – a pretty reasonable request, but something we had failed to think about. So here it is… Click Here to see exactly what products are covered. 

Although this new pricing study, like all publications published by NPRC, is sold on a 100% money-back guarantee, some folks would still rather just be sure what our studies contain before they place an order. Then visit the  NPRC Bookstore to place your order.

You can also  download three different sample pages from this just-released study. Click on one or more of the pages depicted below to download a complete full-page PDF.

The first page is a sample pricing page depicting pricing for 4 x 9″ Rack Cards. Click on the image to print-out the pricing sheet:

Rack Card Pricing is one of more than 30 products and/or services covered in the 2018 Digital Color Pricing Study.

The second is a pricing page covering 9 x 12″ Digital Envelopes printed in black as well as 4C.

Click here or the artwork above to download a PDF of one of two pages offered in the study dealing with envelope printing.

The third page is a pricing page covering 4/0 and 4/4 Digitally produced business cards.

Click here or artwork above to download a sample pricing page for 4/0 and 4/4 business cards.

 

 

Findings Uncovered in Digital Pricing Study

The just-released 100+ page 2018 Digital Color Pricing Study contains literally thousands of average and median prices for dozens of digital products produced in the typical printing firm. This is what one of the survey participants shared with us in the past couple of days:

“Hello John,
I just had to let you know how impressed I was with the Digital Pricing Study you just released. While I only spent 30 minutes going over the study, my initial impression is that the quality of this study is as good if not better than previous studies. Thanks for the hard work you and NPRC put into these studies, The printing industry is better off because of studies such as this.”
Armand Girard,
Curry Printing & Marketing,
Auburn, ME

Orders placed between now and Jan. 14, 2018 will be processed and shipped beginning January 15th. To order your copy, visit the NPRC Bookstore.

What About Participant Copies? Participants received two emails and a link for downloading their FREE copy of this new study on Dec. 20th and again on Dec. 21st. The subject line of that email was: “URGENT – Here’s your 2018 Digital Color Pricing Study! Please check your spam and deleted folders. Please do not ask us to send a replacement copy.

Below are some random findings and pricing data from this latest study:

• Average SPE – The average sales per employee of the 214 firms participating in this year’s 2017-2018 Digital Printing Color Pricing Survey was $133,538. The median is close behind at $128,333. Approximately 25% of all participants reports SPEs between $160,000 and $190,146.

Digital Jobs Finished On-line? Only 22% (average) of all digital jobs are finished on line. Most are processed on digital printers but are finished off line.

• File Handling & Graphic Charges? The average file handling fee reported by participants was $14.47. For Complex jobs that file handling fee jumps to almost $35. The average hourly graphics charge is now almost $74. For complex jobs the hourly fees jumps to $90.

• Variable Data? Approximately 85% of jobs processed on digital printers involve “static” data, with the rest involving some variable data.

• Flat Sheet Pricing – The average price to print a 4/0, 11 x 17” sheet (full bleed) on 100# coated text is $532, or $0.53 per sheet. The median price is slightly lower at $490, or $0.49 each. Prices are provided for quantities of 100, 500, 1,000 and 2,500. Pricing is also provided for 4/4 and for 100# coated cover.

• Carbonless Forms – The average price being charged for 500 2-part carbonless forms produced on a color digital printer is $317. If numbered, this prices increases by approximately $40.

• Source of jobs? – Approximately 63% of all jobs processed in the typical printing firm subject to this survey were provided by customers. The remainder were produced by a graphic’s department. These figures are quite similar to those provided in thr 2016-2017 study.

• Discounts Offered? – Jobs falling in the $1,000 range, if warranted, are likely to be discounted 11-18% depending upon type or class of customer.

• Most Finishing Accomplished Off-line -When it comes to finishing newsletters produced on digital devices, approximately 40% of printers would do all finishing off-line – collating, folding, stitching, etc. Approximately 15% of printers would collate a 16-page or 32-page newsletter on-line but complete the remainder of the finishing off-line.

• Business Cards – Despite the significant number of options for printing business cards, we were somewhat surprised that almost 75% of all business cards sold by our participants were produced in-house, either via offset printing or a color digital device.

• Business Card Pricing – The average price for 500 4/4 business cards, excluding any graphics charges, on 12-14 pt. coated cover and produced internally is $89.73. If the same job is brokered it will sell for $78.95.

2018 Digital Pricing Study

New Digital Pricing Study Proves Popular

NPRC has released its highly anticipated 2018 Digital Color Pricing Study. This new 100+ page report offers up average and median pricing for dozens of color digital products and services in the printing industry. Data on digital pricing is provided in various formats, including average and median prices for a range of quantities, plus in many cases the price per booklet, sheet or in some cases per signature.

“Hello John,
I just had to let you know how impressed I was with the Digital Pricing Study you just released. While I only spent 30 minutes going over the study, my initial impression is that the quality of this study is as good if not better than previous studies. Thanks for the hard work you and NPRC put into these studies, The printing industry is better off because of studies such as this.”
Armand Girard, Curry Printing & Marketing, Auburn, ME

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

Pricing Study Cover

Cover of New Pricing Study

Publication Price…
PDF Copies… $179.00
Hard Copies… $191.00

NPRC Member Pricing
PDF Pricing… $89.50
Hard Copies… $95.50

 Discover what fellow printers from
around the country are charging for…
Graphic Services – Standard and Complex
Variable Data 4/4 cards (sizes 4.25 x 5.5 and 5.5 x 8.5)
Flat sheets, 100# Text & Cover (finished sizes 8.5 x 11 and 11 x 17)
Rack Cards – 4/0 and 4/4, finished size 4 x 9, full-bleed
2-Part and 3-Part Carbonless forms, plain and numbered
Click Charges Only for quantities ranging from 500 to 5,000!
16-page and 32-page newsletters (qtys. 100 – 2,500)
32-page Booklets – finished size.5 x 8.5 (qtys. 100 – 2,500)
#10 and 9 x 12 Envelopes – Blk only and 4-C (qtys. 100 – 2,500)
Plus many, many other prices with majority high-low guidelines

Special Note to Survey Participants – Please note that printing firms who participated in our Digital Color Pricing survey receive an email and link for downloading the FREE PDF of the study on Dec. 2oth and Dec. 21st, 2017. Please check your trash and deleted folders as well as your spam folders if you are unable to find the email used to distribute this study. The subject line used to advise participants was: “Urgent – Here’s Your 2018 Digital Color Pricing Study.”

Visit the NPRC Bookstore to place your order.