NPRC Shares Latest Digital Pricing…

Below are sample prices extracted from NRC’s new 2021 Digital Pricing Survey. The data is very preliminary, but we thought we would share it with you.

Participate in this survey
and submit your pricing by Jan. 25th, and you will receive a FREE PDF copy of the final report in Mid-March 2021. This 100+page report will provide average and median pricing for dozens and dozens of digital products and services offered in our industry:

1M Rack Cards, 4×9, 4/4. 100# Coated Cov. $296.96
1M Post Cards, 6×9, 4/4, 100# Coated Cov. 333.84
500 3-P Carbonless, 8.5×11, black, no number $295.58
1M 3-P Carbonless, 8.5×11, 4/0, numbered, $519.30
500 4/0, #10/24 White Wove envelopes $187.33

The prices above are very preliminary in nature and provided FYI only. They are subject to change when the final 2021-22 Digital Pricing Study is released in mid-March 2021. If you participate in this popular biennial pricing survey you are entitled to receive a free copy of the final study.
Check-out NPRC Blog for instructions  on how to participate in this popular survey. 

How Does Your SPE and Sales Compare to Others in the Printing Industry?

Jan. 8, 2021 – We discovered some new stuff earlier today that we think you might find interesting! We were checking out our recent study on wages (The 2021 Printing Industry Wage & Benefits Study) when we came across three interesting graphs that we thought might be worth sharing with the industry.

Sales Per Employee has always been one of our favorite ratios that we like to use and illustrate overall productivity and efficiency in our industry. If you’ve never calculated this number shame on you!

Simply divide annual sales (actual or projected) by the total number of “bodies” or employees used to produce those sales to arrive at your SPE. Be sure to count everyone – owners, managers and partners. If they work in the business, whether they are paid or not, they need to be counted.

How much do owners make? Our 2021 Wage & Benefits Study, among dozens of other key ratios, breaks out participants and ranks them by their reported “Owner’s Compensation.” The ranking is further divided into four quartiles. Although drawn from a unique data base, the responses are shockingly similar to more than a dozen similar breakouts we have used in the past. The bottom line (excuse the pun) is that 25% of the industry reports averaging less that 3% in terms of owner’s compensation, while the top quartile averages approximately 22% – Quite a spread!

Survey Participants Ranked by 2020 Sales – About 25% of our survey participants reported average 2020 of approximately $450,000, while the top quartile in terms of annual sales reported average sales of $3.2 million in 2020. This distribution of participants by annual sales is quite similar to sales distribution reported in other recent NPRC reports.

For additional information on this study, including a downloadable Table of Contents, visit the NPRC Bookstore today.

NPRC Launches Popular Biennial Survey

Dear Fellow Printer – We need your support! Once again, NPRC is launching what has clearly become one of its most popular and long-standing biennial surveys – the 2021-22 Digital Color Pricing Survey.

We’ve been producing top-notch, highly accurate pricing surveys like this for more than 25 years, but we can’t do it without your help. Participate and return your survey by the Jan. 2th Deadline and we promise to work 24-7 in late January and February to deliver you a product that will provide you with accurate, up-to-the-minute pricing info for dozens and dozens of digital products and services.

We need the support and participation of owners such as yourself to produce these top-notch studies. We can’t do it without your support. As always, participants will receive a FREE PDF copy of the final study – a 100-page report that will retail for $175 or more when it is released in early March 2021.

The final study will report both average and median prices for dozens and dozens of products and services – items such as carbonless forms, rack card, postcards, 6 X 9″ and 8.5 X 11″ booklets and directories, flyers, catalog sheets, as well as click charges and stock mark-up practices just to name a few.


#1 Worksheet to SurveyThis method is the most efficient, but it takes a bit more time. You download a survey worksheet, complete it at your leisure over a 2-3 day period. When the worksheet is completed, you will then visit our official on-line survey site where you will transfer your answers to the online survey. We estimate that this method entails an additional 10-15 minutes, but you have more time to complete the process. CLICK HERE  to download and print the PDF Worksheet.

#2 Direct Submission of Survey This approach is slightly faster, but is also fraught with potential problems as well, including the chance of losing all of your answers in the event you cannot complete the survey in one sitting. If you’ve participated in the past, and you are super fast at preparing dozens of estimates in a timely fashion then go for it, BUT it is not what we would recommend. Ideally, the on-line survey needs to be completed in one sitting.* CLICK HERE  to go directly to the on-line survey. *(It is possible to pause and then return to an incomplete survey and continue entering data, but we don’t guarantee that.)

The deadline for submitting your survey is Jan. 25, 2021!

Look for Lower Valued Companies Says Hunt

Purchasing a company from the buyer’s perspective

Industry Expert Larry Hunt Suggests
Looking for Lower Valued Companies

By John Stewart

Larry Hunt

We recently turned to our long-time friend, industry expert and author Larry Hunt and asked him for his comments as they might pertain to our recent popular blog post titled, “Excess Earnings” Are Key to High Valuations!”

As readers may recall, we spent a considerable amount of space detailing the definition of “excess earnings” and how that numbers plays such a significant role in determining the value of a company.

Our special report ranked 48 different printing firms based upon their estimated valuation as a percent of sales. While we presented the rankings from high to low, we did not want to suggest that the firms at the top of the list (those with the highest valuation ratios) were necessarily the best to buy. In fact, just the opposite might be suggested, at least according to Hunt.

Larry wrote us and commented, “John, As I remember when we wrote ‘Print Shop for Sale,’ we often discussed the powerful value of Excess earnings. And while Net Assets do carry some value, as you know, I actually put a penalty in our formula for having net assets. My thinking was and still is: I would rather buy a company that can make excess earnings without forcing me to put a bunch of money into hard assets.” 

Hunt further expanded his comments with the following, “While this list shows people what they need to do to get a great price for their company, I want to put on my buyer’s hat for a moment. If I were a buyer, I would want to buy a company that does NOT have high excess earnings. If they are already performing at the peak, then I have little I can do to improve on it. They may have been lucky or very good at what they did, but I don’t want to buy a company that is operating at perfection.”

“I would look to buy someone like #31 Copy Masters or #26 Copy Magic,” Hunt adds. “They both have good sales but poor excess earnings. They also don’t have a lot of Net Assets. I should be able to buy either of these companies at a good price and with some decent management effort I should be able to double the value of the company without having to increase sales.”

Once again, I want to thank my friend Larry Hunt for his sage advice and for all his contributions he has made to the industry for more than half a century.



NPRC to Launch New Digital Survey

Ho, ho, ho!

No Need to spend the holiday season attempting to complete a cumbersome, 57-page, 720-question pricing survey being promoted by one of our competitors (Yes, that’s a gigantic, huge, humongous survey <g>) when there’s a much better choice…

On Jan 4-6, 2021 the National Printing Research Council (NPRC) will officially launch one of its most popular and longest-running surveys – The 2021-22 Digital Color Pricing Survey.

The new NPRC survey is more streamlined than ever and should take you less than one hour to complete, and yet the final product will contain a wealth of digital pricing data that you can put to use immediately. Best yet, as with all of our surveys, if you complete our survey you receive the final report absolutely FREE!

So sit back and relax this holiday season and let us put the finishing touches on our popular biennial survey. Beginning in early January 2021, we’ll send you 3-4 invitations and reminders to participate. We expect to publish our popular digital pricing study by mid-March 2021. Have a happy and safe holiday season.

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

Print Shop For Sale (6th Printing)

Print Shop for Sale, one of NPRC’s all-time, most popular bookstore publications, is now back in stock. Quantities are limited, however, and available only as a hard copy. Sorry, no PDFs. 

Don’t put your business up for sale or offer to buy a competitor until you purchased a copy of Print Shop for Sale.

Now in its 6th printing, this 310-page book by industry leaders John Stewart and Larry Hunt is packed with practical information on how to arrive at a “fair market” price for the business.

Chapter 12 of special interest –  This chapter is special… it contains 12, 4-page analyses detailing exactly how the “Excess Earnings” approach is used to value real-world companies. These sample valuations are well worth the entire price of the book.

Print Shop for Sale includes 14 key chapters dealing with some of the following:

  • Historical and current valuation methods
  • Common valuation myths
  • Importance of “Excess Earnings”
  • What happens when there are no “Excess Earnings?”
  • What about a business with a negative “net worth?”
  • Great tips for increasing the value of your business
  • Cautions for prospective buyers

RETAIL PRICE: $94.50 (includes shipping & handling)
NPRC MEMBER PRICE: $74.00 (includes shipping & handling)

An additional postage charge of $18 applies to Canadian orders.


“Excess Earnings” Are Key to High Valuations!


5-page valuation report

NPRC is offering, for a limited time, a special report detailing real world valuations for 48 printing firms. The report features four special valuation charts. Each chart features key factors used to arrive at a typical company valuation.  The charts examine factors such as  –  annual sales, excess earnings, excess earnings as a percent of sales, net assets and assigned earnings multipliers.

The valuation charts then summarize the estimated value arrived at for each of the 48 firms in question, as well as the ratio of value to annual sales.

Top & Bottom Firms by Value

When it comes to establishing the value of a printing company, there’s one fact that stands out above all the rest – “The value of a company has little to do with annual sales.” The charts depict that while one firm with sales of $717,000 can be worth almost $676,000 (or 94% of it sales), a similar size firm with almost identical sales of $745,000 can be worth less than $81,000 (less than 11% of sales.) The same comparisons can be made regardless of annual sales volume.

How do you explain these great variations? Most variations in company valuations can be explained by a company’s ability or inability to generate “excess earnings.” What are “excess earnings?” Complete the form below to download your FREE copy of this special report.

    2021 Wage & Benefits Study Just Released!

    The 2021 NPRC Printing Industry Wage & Benefits Study has just been released (effective Nov. 2, 2020), according to NPRC Executive Director John Stewart.

    The new 150+ page study reports average and median wages, along with key benefits, for 24 key positions in the printing industry.  This brand new report also covers sales and compensation practices for outside sales representatives.

    Specific positions covered include general managers, production managers, Sr. and Jr. customer service representatives, Digital and Offset press operators, graphic designers as well as bindery operators and mailing specialists, just to name a few. This year’s survey also included employees assigned to producing signs and large format.


    Wages & salaries are broken down based upon population density, geographic location, sales and profitability.  Discover what firms your size in similar markets are paying for specific positions such as press operators, bindery assistants and delivery technicians. Click here or the artwork to the left to download and view the Table of Contents for the 2021 Wage & Benefits Study.

    Complimentary Copies Distributed – If you’re one of the 200+ firms that participated in this popular industry recent survey you should expect to receive your FREE, complimentary copy of the study between Nov. 4-6th. If you did not receive your copy please drop us an email at:

    2021 Wage & Benefits Study PDF
    Non-Member Price… $179.00
    NPRC Member Price… $89.50

    2021 Wage & Benefits Study (Hard Copy)
    Non-Member Price… $195.00
    NPRC Member Price… $98.00

    To order your copy, visit the NPRC Bookstore.



    Save 18% on Signs & Wide Format Pricing Study

    18% Discount on Popular Signs Study

    The 2018-2019 Signs & Wide Format Pricing Study is one of NPRC’s most popular pricing studies, and you can now save 18% – BUT you must place your order by Friday, Nov. 27, 2020.  Use Coupon NPRCSIGNS18 to save 18%.

    This study has already proven to be a real eye-opener for many firms! Read testimonials below.

    Visit our bookstore at to read details about this popular study. Remember too, that 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 

    RETAIL PRICE (PDF)… $169.00
    AND PAY ONLY… $138.58!


    “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

    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.


    Download FREE Digital Pricing Pages & Save 18%

    Act now and save 18% on popular 2019-2020 Digital Pricing Study. This study covers pricing for dozens of the most popular digital products and services provided in our industry. Use Coupon: NPRCDIGITAL18. This special offer expires Oct. 30, 2020.

    As an example, you’ll find useful pricing info for 4 x 9 rack cards, #10 and 9×12″ Envelopes, 4/4 flyers, catalog sheets, rack cards and postcards just to name a few. Most prices includes cutting and trim charges, but assumes artwork is provided by customer.

    Click here to view the Table of Contents. Visit the Bookstore for more info about this study. Reg. Retail Price  (PDF) is $225. With coupon pay on $184.50


    You can download two sample pricing pages from this popular study by clicking here.