Digital Color Pricing Tips

Pricing Newsletters or Booklets Feature Make
Quoting Odd Quantities Easier than Ever!

Here’s a “real world” example of how to get the most out of the newly released NPRC 2018 Digital Color Pricing Study. Some people are often overwhelmed at the information available in our studies, so we thought we would pass on a couple of digital color pricing tips gleaned from our own experiences. 

This is a modified version of the old “The cobbler’s son has no shoes” parable. As many of you know I am the Executive Director of NPRC while my wife Mary owns and runs a small printing operation (Paragon Printing & Graphics) that offers most of the traditional offset and digital services found in most printing firms these days. 

She Gets Her Studies Free!

I have nothing to do with the printing firm and Mary has little to do with my publishing and consulting services. In fact, we can go one or two days at work without even speaking to each other, with each of us so busy doing our own thing.

While Mary is certainly aware of the types of studies we produce, she rarely finds the time to read or analyze them to any great extent, which is is always a bit disappointing to me, considering the rock-bottom prices at which I make them available to her!

So much to my surprise, she came to me the other day with a copy of the recent digital printing study in hand, and said she was working on a quote for 900 copies of a 24-page newsletter. Finished size of the self-cover newsletter was to be 8.5 x 11″. More specifically, the job was to consist of 6 11 x 17″ page signatures, no bleeds, digitally printed on 100# coated text. Signatures where to be collated, folded, stapled and face-trimmed. 

Mary said she found the newsletter pricing section on pages 55-57, but all that she could find were average and median prices for either 16-page or 32-page newsletters, and she needed a price for a 24-page newsletter. I told her that wouldn’t be too hard to come up with a price, at the very least we could interpolate pricing.

Pricing Per Newsletter

Voila! I found an even easier way, something I had forgotten. Not only does our study offer average and median prices for quantities ranging between 100 and 2,500, it also features pricing per individual newsletter as well. In fact, it provides average and median price per newsletter as well as what we term “majority low” and “majority high” pricing as well.

So the first thing we did is look at the average price per newsletter at the 1,000 quantity level for both a 16-page newsletter and then pricing for a 32-page version. Average digital color pricing for the 16-page newsletters was $2.68. Pricing for the 32-page newsletters was $4.87.  Averaging the two produced and average price per newsletter of $3.78.

Knowing the quantity was very close to the 1,000 quantity pricing we chose to go with that price and simply multiply our $3.78 x 900 for a total price of $3,397. Mary’s original price was significantly higher, but to be honest, I have no idea what her final price was for the job, but at least I can say she was better informed regarding digital color pricing for this quantity, format and size than she was before, but don’t let on I said that!

Even more useful, the digital color pricing in the newsletter pricing section is the fact that the study actually breaks down pricing to the signature level, so we could look at pricing per side, per signature and discover that pricing ranges between $0.33 and $0.30 each. 

Does Study Cover All Products?

No, the study couldn’t possibly cover every type of product offered in the industry, but by using interpolation, averaging and a big dose of common sense, you can find sample pricing for dozens and dozens of products produced on digital color devices. As an example, you can find detailed pricing on some of the following products:

  • Flat Sheets, 100# coated text & cover (8.5 x 11 and 11 x 17 sizes)
  • 2-part and 3-part carbonless forms, plain and numbered
  • Retail click pricing (no stock pricing included)
  • Stock Mark-up practices
  • 16-page and 32-page newsletters and booklets
  • Envelope Pricing, black  and 4-c
  • Business Card Pricing, offset, digital and brokered
  • Popular discounting methods for various customers
  • Plus, dozens of variations in terms of quantities and pricing

To read more about this study visit the NPRC Bookstore.

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.