What is a “listserv”?

NPRC LISTSERV REACHES 104
SUBSCRIBERS IN RECORD TIME!

Is it time to join the NPRC Listserv? You decide!

Industry listservs are proving more and more popular with many printers. Printers, especially those who own printing firms with sales under $2 million, often join industry listservs or forums because they believe such membership can help them improve their businesses.

Unfortunately, not everyone is familiar with these types of tools. We’re going to ignore “forums” right now, and address instead something that can be very beneficial for your business – Listservs!

How Does a Listserv Work?

A “listserv ” is a very efficient method for communicating with dozens and dozens (if not hundreds) of fellow printers, sign companies and mailing firms. Imagine the following scenario: You have a critical challenge facing your business and you would like to quickly survey a group of your peers and ask them how they would handle a specific problem.

Maybe you’re facing a challenge purchasing paper and you would like to know if any of your peers have started a purchasing co-op, or something similar.

Using the NPRC Listserv

As a member of the NPRC listserv, all you do is to write a simple email describing your challenges and send it off to the listserv email address at [email protected] (this email address will only work if you have first subscribed to the listserv), and within minutes your simple message arrives in the in-box of all members of the list, whether it’s a dozen, 50 or however many members of the list exist at that time.

Now it’s up to the members of the listserv to decide whether and how they will respond to your email. Many recipients will simply read the email and then move on without responding. A few, however, maybe because they are familiar with your problem or challenge, will prepare a response and post it to the list. That response, like all communications to the listserv, is automatically redistributed to members of the list.

Managing Your Listserv

Yes indeed, the scenario described above, over time, can generate a fair number of emails. However, experienced listserv subscribers quickly learn which emails to respond to and which ones to ignore. Some recipients will feel they have something new and constructive to offer, while others will either have no interest in the subject and thus feel no need to respond.

Many experienced listserv subscribers quickly learn how to manage emails from the listserv by setting up a “redirect” in their email programs that will direct or place all incoming emails from a specific sender (in this case the NPRC listserv) into a specially designated folder – maybe using a simple name like “My Printing Listserv.”  his action helps to separate and manage important business email from important, but less critical email from the listserv.

Active Poster or Lurker – It’s up to you. You are free to join and just read emails when they are posted. There is no obligation or requirement to post or respond to posts. For additional information regarding the listserv, contact Armand Girard at: [email protected]

Are you ready to give it a try?  If so, visit www.nprcprintownerslist.com

 

NPRC Releases Covid-19 & Supply Chain Report

After providing VIP “early-release copies” to all survey participants, NPRC has now released its special 8-page Covid-19 and Supply Chain Report to the entire industry. Download this FREE PDF copy of this special report by clicking here or the artwork below.

How Many Are Vaccinated?

The survey revealed some surprising results with the most surprising result being that almost 80% (79.6%) of our respondents (owners) stated they had been vaccinated for Covid-19. The vaccinations rate for spouses was almost identical at 77%.

Mandatory testing or vaccinations for employees? Despite the fact that the vast majority of employers told us they where not requiring either testing or Covid-19 vaccinations for their employees, they estimated that almost 76% (average) of their employees were indeed vaccinated.

Are Supply Chain Issues Serious?

How serious are supply chain issues? – Our initial survey findings reported that there appears to be a growing concern with supply chain issues. While almost 44% described the current situation as having only minimal to modest impact on their businesses, 55% told us they were indeed already experiencing disruptions, but added that the situation was manageable, at least for the short-term.

More than 165 printing firms participated in the survey

NPRC Introduces New Industry Listserv

The National Printing Research Council (NPRC) has just activated a brand new industry listserv. Financed 100% by NPRC, this listserv is available absolutely free to all owners of printing, mailing and sign firms.

Owners can sign-up immediately by clicking or visiting  https://nprcprintownerslist.com .  The new NPRC listserv will start accepting posts Oct. 26th. The moderator of the list is Armand Girard, a 30-year veteran of the printing industry. Girard was a founding board member of NPOA and has contributed greatly to that association as well as to to NPRC. Additional moderators will be added in the next three months.

While the NPRC listserv is unmoderated, meaning that all message sent to the list are automatically forwarded to all subscribers without intervention on our part, it is not anonymous, meaning that all posts must include a full real name, company name, city and state. Phone numbers are optional but recommended since some posts may eventually justify private one-on-one communications.

For those unfamiliar with a listserv, it is better understood by actually jumping in and trying it. However, for those that need a little more clarification, imagine you have a burning question or challenge facing your business and you would like to check with a dozen printers, 50 printers or maybe even 100 printers or more, and ask them your question. Maybe it’s about how to set-up a co-op paper purchasing group.

Well, as a member of the listserv, all you need to do is pose your question and send it to the listserv email address at [email protected] (this email address will only work if you have first subscribed to the listserv) and within minutes your message arrives in the in-box of all members of the list (a dozen, 50 or however many members of the list exist at that time). Members of the listserv who choose to do so will respond to your email. Others will choose not to respond. If three or four listserv subscribers choose to respond their responses will be distributed back out to all members of the listserv.

Yes indeed, the scenario described above can generate a fair number of emails. However, experienced listserv subscribers quickly learn which emails to respond to and which ones to ignore. Some recipients will feel they have something new and constructive to offer, while others will either have no interest in the subject and thus feel no need to respond.

Many experienced listserv subscribers quickly learn how to manage emails from the listserv by setting up a “redirect” in their email programs that will direct or place all incoming emails from a specific sender (in this case the NPRC listserv) into a special designated folder. By doing so, this helps to separate and manage important business email from important, but less critical email from the listserv.

Active Poster or Lurker – It’s up to you. You are free to join and just read emails when they are posted. There is no obligation or requirement to post or respond to posts. For additional information regarding the listserv, contact Armand Girard at [email protected] .

REMEMBER TO SIGN-UP HERE
www.nprcprintownerslist.com

Paper Shortage Creates Marketing Opportunity

Current Supply Chain Interruptions
Create PR Opportunities for Printers

Not sure if interruptions and delays in acquiring various papers has impacted your operations, but if it has we have a suggestion or two to offer.

We recently experienced three or four specific incidents where we found ourselves madly hunting around for paper that we normally would be able to order and receive within a couple of days. Even fairly common stocks such as coated stocks and specialty window envelopes are increasingly more difficult to find.

Well, at the very least we thought we would kill two birds with one stone by alerting our customers that the shortage is real and also encourage orders that if not placed early might not be processed at all.

Below is a simple draft of a news release (actually my wife’s printing firm) that we sent out to 1,800+ customers using Mailchimp. Mailchimp is not my favorite program but it serves Paragon’s purpose.

Anyway, feel free to copy and or modify the text below in whatever way you want. I would advise using something like, “XYZ Printing Issues Urgent Warning” as a subject line for whatever news release you choose to send out. It is eye-catching, dramatic, and should result in a fairly good open rate of 18-25% or more.

Please let us know if you follow up on this suggestion and how it worked.

John Stewart, Executive Director
National Printing Research Council (NPRC)
[email protected]

Please be sure to let us know if you find this article useful. Email us at: [email protected]


Sample News Release – Feel free to modify

Expect Significant Delays in Printing Orders
Advises Owner of Paragon Printing & Graphics

There is currently a serious shortage in both domestic and internationally manufactured papers, and the shortage is not expected to end anytime soon, warns Paragon Printing & Graphics.

The causes of the shortages are numerous, ranging from serious disruptions in the supply chain to the inability of the paper industry, both nationally and globally, to respond to an increasing demand for goods and services.

“When the pandemic first began, many paper mills either shut down their machines, or converted machines to produce other paper materials like board stock, or dramatically limited the types and weights of papers being produced,” explains Paragon Printing & Graphics owner Mary Stewart.

“With paper products of almost all types becoming progressively more difficult to acquire, it is critical that business owners try to anticipate future needs and place orders well in advance,” Stewart adds.

“The shortage in paper is very real and it is affecting both specialty papers as well as what we used to consider commodity house stocks such as offset and coated stocks,” notes Stewart. “Last week a customer attempted to place a re-order for a popular window envelope.

“Normally, we would process that order in less than four days. As it turned out, the paper mill that would normally produce this product was weeks behind, and no one could tell us when this product would be available. Fortunately, our customer was willing to accept an alternate choice,” Stewart relates.

The lesson to be learned? Printing orders that used to be completed in 2-3 days may take as long as 2-3 weeks depending upon shortages and delays in the supply chain, and customers need to place orders as far in advance as possible, advises Stewart.

###

NPRC Releases 2021-22 Sign Study

Yes, it’s now available! The NPRC 2021-2022 Signs & Wide Format Pricing Study is now ready for purchase.

Survey participants, entitled to a complimentary copy of the study, received personalized emails on Sept. 9, 10 and 13th. The emails incorporated “URGENT” in the subject line and provided detailed instructions for downloading.

SPECIAL NOTICE: Please carefully check your email client and confirm that www.printingresearch.org is whitelisted. Doing so will insure that you will be among the first to receive announcements from NPRC regarding this study’s content and availability.

This new study provides average, median and per piece pricing for dozens of products and services provided in the signs and wide format industry. Included in this study is pricing data for banners (horizontal and vertical), feather flags, foam core and coroplast signs, aluminum signs, contour cut decals, vehicle decals, flat surface vehicle wraps and vinyl signs, just to name a few.

The 2021-22 Signs & Wide Format Pricing Study also explores general industry pricing across a broad spectrum of firms, plus it also details pricing by firms based upon their overall sign sales. View the Table of Contents here.

The 110-page study (PDF Version) will retail for $186.00 for non-members and $93.00 for NPRC members. Orders are normally processed within two hours of receipt. Visit the NPRC Bookstore to place your order.

Sign Survey Accommodates Firms of All Sizes!

DON’T BE SHY – EVERY SIZE FIRM IS ELIGILE!

  • “Heck, most of the firms that participate in these surveys are way bigger than my company and my prices won’t relate.”
  • “Hey, most of the participants are little firms that don’t really know how to price their products.”
  • “I sometimes doubt that companies that complete these surveys are really typical of the industry?”

If you’ve considered participating in an industry survey BUT found yourself expressing some of the same thoughts as noted above we ask you to reconsider. Our surveys truly represent a good cross-section of our industry. To prove our point we’ve listed below some basic early findings from some of our first survey participants. As a general rule, we tend to attract participants with annuals sales in the $400,000 range upwards to a few firms with sales in the $4-6 million.

The same is true for levels of productivity as measured by Sales Per Employee or SPE. Regardless of the survey, we tend to attract firms with very high levels of productivity as well as those at the opposite end of the spectrum.

PROFILE OF EARLY 2021 SIGN SURVEY PARTICIPANTS
• Average total 2020 sales…. $1,347,995
• Median total 2020 sales… $540,936

• Aver. # of Employees… 10.95
• Median # of Employees… 5.5

• Average SPE… $123,104
• Median SPE… $98,352

• Sign sales vs. total sales (Average)… 34%
• Sign sales vs. total sales (Median)… 20%

Average Pricing for Brokered Business Cards

Curious about what fellow printers charge for 4/0 and 4/4 brokered  business cards? You’ve come to the right place. Brokered Business Cards as well as regular business cards are just two of more than 90+ products and services featured in the 2021-2022 Digital Color Pricing Study published by the National Printing Research Council (NPRC)

CLICK HERE OR IMAGE ABOVE to download above page.

Other products included in this just released pricing study include carbonless forms, rack cards, postcards, flyers, catalog sheets as well as newsletters and stationery. Click here to download and view the complete table of contents from this popular study.

Retail Price (PDF)… $225
Retail Price (Hard Copy)… $245

Remember, all NPRC publications are sold on a 100% money-back guarantee basis if you are not totally satisfied that it is everything we promised!

* Most orders are processed almost immediately. HOWEVER, orders placed on Friday’s, or prior to holidays will likely be delayed and not processed or shipped until the following Monday. IMPORTANT: If you place an order with NPRC you should typically receive it within two hours or less. Be sure and check your spam and trash folders and make sure that our domain [email protected] is “whitelisted”

NPRC Releases Special 2021 Spring Report

Printers worn-out by Covid-19 and who have been expecting a quick economic recovery may have to wait until at least 2022, according to results of the the Spring 2021 Industry Survey published by the National Printing Research Council (NPRC).

Survey participants were initially provided an exclusive early glimpse at this report in return and in appreciation for for their efforts in participating in the survey.

NPRC’s newest report is 8-pages in length and is based upon a survey conducted between April 20-22. The survey attracted more than 175 participants and tackled key questions regarding the on-going impact that Covid-19 has had on sales and productivity since the pandemic first reared its head in early 2020.

Popular topics covered by the Spring survey included the impact Covid-19 has had on operating hours, the viability of competitors, average and median industry sales for 2019-2021 and past, current and future sales per employee (SPE). The survey also addresses steps printers are currently taking to recapture customers and increase sales.

Complete the information below to download your free copy of this just-released report.

    NPRC Releases Popular Digital Pricing Study

     The 2021 Digital Color Pricing Study, one of the printing industry’s most popular studies, has just been released by NPRC and is  available in the NPRC Bookstore.

    This new study features average, median and per unit pricing for products such as envelopes, 8, 16 and 32-page newsletters, envelopes and carbonless forms, rack cards and postcards, as well as dozens of other popular digital products.

    If you’re a “profit leader” in this industry, or you aspire to be one, then this report is a “must-have” document. Profit leaders recognize how important it is monitor and keep-up with pricing in the industry. They know that pricing products too high can lose them jobs, while pricing jobs too low can impact their bottom line!

    NPRC’s newest pricing study can be ordered now in the bookstore with most orders being processed in two hours or less!

    “This year’s study is more accurate than ever,” notes John Stewart, NPRC Executive Director. “Pricing for every product has been double-checked and then checked again for outliers. The result is a study that contains extremely accurate pricing data that printers can count on as being truly representative of current national pricing,” adds Stewart. “One of the things we stress year-after-year is that the greatest variation in pricing occurs at the local level, and not at the regional or national level as many printers often believe,” cautions Stewart.

    We know, with a high degree of certainty, that pricing for many products within a small town or city can vary by as much as 30-35% and even more, and yet the national or regional average price for that same product will rarely vary by more than 4-6%.”

    “We hate to hear printers claim that ‘price are different’ in their market, as compared to national pricing when we know absolutely that is not true,” explains Stewart. “We know with a high degree of certainty that pricing for many products within a small town or city can vary by as much as 30-35% and even more, and yet the national or regional average price for that same product will rarely vary by more than 4-6%.” Stewart adds. 

    Industry Sales Per Employee

    Average Sales Per Employee among all 196 participants average $133,892 while the median SPE was $126,667. This represents an approximate drop in SPE of approximately 5% as compared to what was reported in the summer of 2019.

    The 2021 Digital Pricing Study provides both average and median pricing for specific quantities as well as per unit pricing. This year’s report also features “Average/Median Deviation” data calculated as a percent to demonstrate the accuracy of the data collected.

    Pricing Data for Postcards

    The chart above is typical of the type of data available in NPRC’s latest study. The national average for 1M, 4/4 6×9″ Postcards is $346 with the median at $333., a pricing deviation of less than 4%.

    “Excess Earnings” Are Key to High Valuations!

    NPRC SPECIAL REPORT – NOV. 2020
    “EXCESS EARNINGS” ARE KEY TO HIGH COMPANY 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.