Are Grants & Loans Really Necessary for Survival?

By John Stewart, Executive Director, NPRC

Are printers counting on government grants and Loans to survive the Covid-19 crisis?  Well, checking out various printing industry list servs, it certainly appears that many printers are indeed doing just that!

Instead of returning to the basics and concentrating on improving key financial ratios such as SPE, payroll and profits per employee many printers seem to be spending the better part of their days worrying how to fine tune loan applications and mastering SBA regulations.

Ironically, more printers appear to have mastered the myriad of new government regulations involved in securing PPP and EIDL loans and grants far better than they have mastered their own financial ratios. To be blunt, I have seen more posts in the past two weeks about how to secure various government loans than I have seen discussions in the past two years regarding  achieving higher SPEs and best practices for lowering payroll costs.

Most profit leaders in this industry (the top quartile in terms of profitability) appear well prepared to deal with the challenges that Covid-19 represents. Sure, there will be struggles and bumps along the way, but there is little doubt that they will survive and prosper both in the short term and the long term. Profit laggards, on the other hand, were ill-prepared to weather even a small financial storm, long before Covid-19 even existed. Now they find themselves in a cash and profit crisis mostly of their own making.

Sure, receiving a loan for $20,000, $50,000 or even $100,000 or more sounds great, but if that loan or grant is viewed as making the difference between “closing your doors” and your surviving to see 2021 then I would seriously question the financial strength and stability of your firm, Covid-19 not withstanding!

If you’ve been running a marginal or below average firm for the past two or three years, or possibly even longer, any loan or grant that you receive will end up being nothing more than a small band-aid where a tourniquet is required instead. Covid-19 related loans and grants are not likely to save firms that are foundering financially. At best, the inflow of new money will simply prolong the inevitable.

I talk to profit leaders all the time, and virtually all of them admit to me admit to me that while the loans and grants they have received are certainly helpful, they note that their firms are not dependent upon them for their survival. Some are treating these loans as “icing on the cake.” Ironically, because they are profitable to begin with, the loans and grants these firms will receive will end up making them even stronger in terms of profitability in 2020 and 2021.

Don’t misunderstand me when I talk about “icing on the cake.” Yes, even the strongest companies in our industry surely welcome the help, and they will indeed put these grants and loans to good use. Weaker firms, however, will likely use the money to patch holes in a sinking ship – a ship that was sinking long before we ever heard of Covid-19. In fact, many troubled firms will end up using the influx of cash to patch holes above the water line, instead of the more serious ones down below.

Don’t misunderstand me when I talk about “icing on the cake.” Yes, even the strongest companies in our industry surely welcome the help, and they will indeed put these grants and loans to good use. Weaker firms, however, will likely use the money to patch holes in a sinking ship – a ship that was sinking long before we ever heard of Covid-19.

Six months from now – I strongly suspect that that many of the troubled firms that so desperately need government grants and loans to survive will have blown through those funds faster than a speeding bullet, and six months from now they will be once again desperate for more loans and grants. As always, this industry, like all industries, has “profit leaders” and “profit laggards.” The difference between the two groups is that the former know there ratios inside and out and recognize that they are indeed in that top quartile. On the other hand, the “profit laggards” are generally poorly informed as to the types of key financial ratios it takes to operate a profitable firm in this industry, and thus struggle along, week to week, month to month.

In turbulent and uncertain times such as  we are facing today, it is more important than ever that you understand the kinds of key financial ratios required to survive and prosper. Granted, “increasing profitability” may be a bit “pollyannish” during the Covid-19 era, but the last thing you want to encounter these days is a slow, yet subtle decline in key ratios.

One fact we know for sure – Six months from now “profit leaders” will continue to be “profit leaders,” while many of the “profit laggards” of today will be struggling even more so than they are today, regardless of any loans or grants they may have received.

Granted, “increasing profitability” may be a bit “pollyannish” during the Covid-19 era, but the last thing you want to encounter these days is a slow, yet subtle decline in key ratios.

We’ve been publishing Financial Benchmarking Studies for the Printing industry for more than 30 years and we have tracked dozens of key ratios in our industry. Most important of all, we’ve been able to compare and breakdown ratios of of the top firms vs. those at the bottom in terms of profitability. Suffice it to say that the “profit leaders” in our industry seem far better prepared to weather the “storm” than the “profit laggards.”

Below are just a few of the key ratios that we look at closely when analyzing the value of firms and their survivability score. Average sales for the firms in this extraction was $1,100,000. These ratios are extracted from the NPRC 2019-2020 financial Benchmarking Study. The 64-page study is a comprehensive analysis of Key financial benchmarks and ratios for the quick and small commercial printing industry. See page 48 for specific definitions and formulas used to report the following. (Click here to read more about this info-packed study.)

Key Ratios – All Firms by Profitability Quartiles

 

Key Financial Ratio* Bottom Profit Qrtl Top Profit Qrtl
2018 Average Gross Sales $1,448,004 $1,037,417
Cost of Goods % 30.6% 29.0%
Payroll Expense % 38.8% 25.8%
Overhead Expense % 25.2% 19.4%
Owner’s Compensation % 5.4% 25.7%
Excess Earnings $ -$7,135 $201,258
Profits Per Employee $ -$637 $32,461
Sales Per Employee $ $118,688 $144,085

Definitions as to specific ratios reported below can be found in 2019-2020 Financial Benchmarking Study

Sales Per Employee can often act as instant indicator of overall financial health. You don’t need a P&L or a Balance sheet and you don’t need the help of a CPA or bookkeeper to calculate it. SPE has nothing directly to do with payroll or wages so you don’t need that info either. Simply divide your annual sales (do not include postage income) by the total number of FT equivalent employees, including all working owners, partners, etc. used to produce those sales. SPE is generally calculated and expressed in annual terms, not monthly, although it can change somewhat from month to month.

By the way, a SPE in the $140-$150,000 range, even though that puts it in the “Profit Leader ” category, does not represent the top of what can be achieved. I know many firms, most of them heavily invested in digital printing, that report achieving SPEs of $160,000 to $180,000 and even more. So don’t be patting yourself on the back too quickly. You can always do better. On the other hand, if your SPE is $130,000 or below you are seriously under-performing in this industry compared to your peers.

Recent SPEs reported by NPRC – SPE varies modestly from report to report. Below are are recent SPEs as reported in various studies:

Study                                                               Average        Median
2019 Digital Color Pricing Study                    $139,830         $130,673
2020 Mailing Services Pricing Study             $156,179          $142,500
2019 Wage & Benefits Study                            $139,048         $134,444
2019 Financial Benchmarking Study              $139,595               NA

2019 Financial Benchmarking Study – Average SPE

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Save 18% on Popular NPRC Benchmarking Study!

Special discount available only to website visitors!

One of NPRC’s Most Popular Studies!!!  NPRC’s 2019-2020 Financial Benchmarking 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.

For a limited time, you can save 18% on this info-packed study. Use coupon code: NPRCBENCH18 to save 18%. Retail Price $149. With coupon, pay only $122.18. Click

Visit the NPOA Bookstore here.

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Save 16% on NPRC Mailing Study

PRIVATE SALE ANNOUNCEMENT*
Use Coupon to Save 16%
On Association’s Newest Study
*This announcement is limited to readers of the NPRC Website Only!

Now, for the first time, you can save 16% on NPRC’s recently released pricing study – The 2020-2021 Mailing Services Pricing Study. First published in February 2020 and offered at a retail price of $175 (PDF Only), you can now purchase this study for only $147, but you must act quickly since this limited-time offer expires May 31, 2020. Use the following coupon code to save 16%: NPRCMAIL16

NPRC’s newest study has been praised by printers from across the country. The 2020-2021 Mailing Services Pricing Study is 110+ pages in length, and covers dozens of mailing services and products, including average and median pricing for products and services such as:

  • Full-Service IMb Charges
  • De-duping Fees
  • NCOA Processing
  • Markup Rates for Brokered Lists
  • Laser letter Merging Fees
  • Inkjet Addressing Fees
  • Insertion Charges #10, 6×9″ & 9×12″
  • Metering Charges
  • Hand & Machine Application of stamps
  • Self-Mailer Processing Fees
    Plus many, many other services & products

To order your copy or to read more about this study, visit the NPRC Bookstore.

“As always, NPRC has produced a top-notch publication. “Going rates” for mailing services are hard to track from company to company and town to town, so it’s very helpful to have a baseline to compare with. While the numbers alone are worth the cost of the book, the commentary and analyses that come along with these studies are a huge bonus, especially true because they are unbiased and accurate.”

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

 

“I have been in the printing business almost 30 years. A big part of my success is because of John Stewart’s industry studies. The latest study, the 2020-21 Mailing Services Pricing Study has helped me determine that I was undercharging on some of my mailing services. We all are busy running our companies and often times simply forget how long it’s been since we last raised our prices to reflect the increased costs of operation. This study is the perfect tool to remind you to analyze your prices to ensure you stay profitable.”

Armand Girard
Curry Printing & Marketing
Auburn, ME

 

“NPRC has hit the mark again! We are very appreciative of the association’s tireless efforts to get these studies right and on time. We’ve been in the print and mail business for 15 years and have always relied on client feedback and market knowledge to help us set prices. It’s nice to see these corroborated by other businesses similar to ours on a regional and even national basis. Thanks again NPRC.”

Bob Heid
We Are Kymera
Orlando, FL

 

“The mailing survey is one of the best surveys to come out from NPRC in a long time. All of the association’s surveys are of immense help. This one hit a sweet spot for our company. It validated our pricing positions and gave us some items to add, services we should be breaking up into different price categories and not be “all-inclusive in pricing”. We have grown our commercial printing firm to be in the top ten in the San Francisco north bay. Surveys like the Mailing Services Pricing Study keep us growing.”

David Adams
QPS Printing
Petaluma, CA 94952

To order your copy or to read more about this study, visit the NPRC Bookstore.

Visits: 283

PPP Payments Outpace Stimulus Checks 2:1

Covid-19 “Take #2”

5-15-20 – The National Printing Research Council (NPRC) continues to serve the printing, mailing and sign industries with a series of statistical surveys designed to keep owners informed regarding major industry trends. Of course nothing has had a greater impact on our combined industries than the current Covid-19 Pandemic! (To download a 11-page PDF copy of this report click here.)

In fact, no single event in the past 100 years has had more impact on our industry than the current pandemic. As a result, NPRC launched its first Covid-19 Survey in mid-March and published the results on its website on March 26th. (Click here to read and download the previous report.)

It didn’t take long for it to become apparent that NPRC would need a second and most likely a third survey if we were to meet the needs of our industry. So on May 5th NPRC launched its 2nd survey called Covid-19 “Take #2.” 

The survey ran for seven days, closing on May 12th and attracted 253 participating firms, closely matching the 279 responses we received on our 1st survey about a month ago.

Stimulus Checks vs. PPP Disbursements

As a general rule, printers appear to have had far greater success in receiving PPP loans than they have in receiving their $1,200 stimulus checks by almost exactly a 2:1 rate. According to our data, and based upon 253 responses received between May 7-12, only 39% of survey respondents told us they had received their $1,200 checks, while 61% told us they were still waiting. Somewhat ironic considering no applications or forms were required for the latter while an application process was established for PPP disbursements.

As for PPP applications and disbursements, approximately 92% of printers told us they had applied for the Federal Government’s Payroll Protection Plan (PPP), and that 78% of those that had applied have already received the PPP funds.

Interesting too is that approximately 38% of the industry has applied for and received either an advance payment or full disbursement on their EIDL SBA Disaster Loan. (See Chart #18) Once again, contrast that with the fact that 61% of participants are still waiting for their stimulus checks. Granted, there are far more of the latter to be disbursed, but the disbursement process is much simpler and subject to far less variables than what can be a complex loan application.

Covid-19 & General Industries Trends

One of our first series of questions sought out participants and asked them to estimate or project the percent decline in total employees for three specific periods of time. We asked them about the number of employees currently employed as well as the number of employees they projected for two periods in the future. Below are the results uncovered as of May 12th:

Chart #1 – % Declines in Employment

As you can see (See Chart #1), it appears that many printers seem to be implying that the worst is possibly now behind us. The first two bars (average & median) reflect the decline in sales over a four-month (Jan-April),  however, most of the decline in staffing appears to have occurred in March and April, the last two months of that time-frame.

It is likely, but not assured, that in the next few months  we will look back on 2020 and view the March-April time-frame as the worst two-months of 2020. Of course, we still have no idea what May or June 2020 will bring, but the consensus seems to be “it can’t be any worse than what we have already seen.”

We also asked participants to predict the impact that Covid-19 will have on their employee staffing as it relates to both the first six months of 2020 as well as on total employment for all 12 months in 2020.

Chart #2 – Employees

Chart #2 above reflects answers to our survey question asking participants to tell us their current and projected staffing levels as we approach the end of the 1st six months of 2020 as well how we will finish out the year. Overall, it appears that owners are predicting that by year-end 2020 total staffing will have declined by approximately 13-17% from what it was in January 2020.


If you enjoy and appreciate reading research reports such as this, consider supporting NPRC by purchasing one or more of its research publications, or making a small financial contribution to NPRC via a PayPal donation to membership@printingresearch.org


Business As Usual?

Chart #3 provides the answers to the question, “Based upon state or county regulations or laws currently in effect, what is your current business status as of May 8, 2020?” According to our data, it appears that approximately 70% of the industry is back to “normal” in terms of being open for business. However, being open for business is not the same as a return to business as usual. Many participants told us that customers are simply staying home and are certainly not venturing outside to place orders.

Chart #3 – Current “open” or “closed” Status

With significant declines in raw business volume, something has to give, and we asked survey participants to tell us how they were handling their payroll and staffing demands in light of much lower sales. As you can see (Chart #4) approximately 46% told us they are currently paying employees full-pay.

Chart #4 – Employee Payroll Status

Payroll Status for Specific Firms –  Question #4 of our survey asked, “If you are temporarily closed, or operating under limited hours of operation, how are you handling payroll?” As you can see, 46% of those responding firms said they were continuing to pay employees at “full” pay. The remainder (remember these are firms that are still closed or operating under limited hours) turned to paying employees only for hours actually worked.

Employed vs. Furloughed? Question #5 asked respondents what percent of their total work forces is currently working at their physical plant as opposed to furloughed? Question #6 asked how many employees have been furloughed as a result of Covid-19. We clarified that question by noting that “furloughed” meant “temporarily sent home for a period of time without pay.” 

Chart #5-6 Employed or Furloughed?

Chart #5-6 illustrates that employers have, on average, retained approximately 73% of their work force. The bad news, of course, is that approximately 26% of the workforce in our industry has indeed been laid-off or furloughed and we suspect that most of them will never be rehired.

Healthcare Converage

Healthcare premiums and furloughed employees – What are owners doing in regards to continuing healthcare premiums for laid-off/furloughed employees was a popular question among owners who pay such for employees. For approximately 33% of participants, this question was not an issue since that coverage is not offered.

As you can see, at least as of May 8th, approximately 24% of employers continue to pay premiums for all employees. Unfortunately, approximately 11% of employers ceased (as of May 8 or before) paying healthcare premiums for inactive or furloughed employees.

Chart #7 – Handling Healthcare Premiums

Major Sales Declines Predicted

Our Covid-19 Take #2 survey offered up 5 distinct time frames (See graph #8-12 below) and asked participants to indicate the percentage that sales were either up or down. Suffice it to say, not a single participant indicated any UP or positive sales for the time periods reported or projected.

The graph below (Questions #8-#12) illustrates the tendency and belief at least among many survey participants that the “worst is behind us” in terms of impact on future sales. The further we go out in the future the lower the predicted cumulative negative impact on sales.

Nonetheless, printers are still predicting a 29% decline in sales for the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2020. Note the devastating impact Covid-19 had on April sales, with printers predicting a decline of -49% on April 2020 sales compared to April 2019. The negative trend clearly carries over into the 2nd quarter of 2020 with a predicted decline of -45%.

Had we asked about predictions for 2021 we are convinced that we would continue to have seen negative numbers, but we will leave that for a future survey. For right now, suffice it to say we are indeed looking at a dismal picture in terms of both sales and profits for not only the rest of 2020 but into 2021.

Questions #8-12 – Sales Projections

Stimulus Checks & Other Loan Options

#14 – A Stimulus Check?

Our Covid-19 Take #2 survey asked five specific questions dealing with various stimulus legislation such as stimulus checks, PPP applications and EIDL/SBA Disaster Loans. Our first question was the simplest and yet the results were the most shocking.

Question #14 asked whether survey participants  had (Yes or No answer required) received their individual stimulus check or deposit of $1,200 per person (with qualifications and restriction). The question was flawed in a sense that the question assumed those that answered would be qualified to receive one.

Nonetheless, we believe that most printers and most participants would indeed be qualified to receive a stimulus check of some $$$ amount. With that said, 61% of respondents as of May 8, 2020 told us they had not received a check.

As a result, we were surprised when we began checking out the survey data. What was supposed to be the most transparent, the quickest and the simplest of the many federal bailout programs now appears to have run into some major delays if not roadblocks. When we asked folks if they had received (as of May 8th) their stimulus checks we were surprised to hear that 61% of our respondents told us “No.”

(SPECIAL NOTE: As noted previously, we realized this question and our comments that followed was flawed, in that not every owner/spouse would be qualified to receive a stimulus check. Our question should have been more specific, to allow for the fact that not everyone was qualified to receive such.)

PPL Funds and Applications –  The good news came when we asked about PPP funds. According to our survey data, almost 92% of the printing industry applied for PPP Funds, and even more surprising is that approximately 78% told us they had in fact received payments under the government’s Payroll Protection Plan. (See graph – Questions #15-17)

PPP Funds Forgiven? When asked about “forgiveness” of loans, participants told us they expected that 73.4% of the loan amount would be forgiven. The median was 95% of the loan amount.

#15-17 PPP Applications & Loans

EIDL – SBA Disaster Loans – Since this has turned out to be another popular Covid-19 era loan program, we thought we would ask participants if they have applied for a loan and whether or not they have actually received an advance and/or the full loan amount. Their answers appear below. Note that the cumulative total of the responses below (70.3%) represents to the total percent of survey participants who indicated they applied for an EIDL loan.

#18 EIDL Loan Disbursements

Cash Reserves – How Much & How Little – We asked participants to take into account steps and expenditures they have already taken, to tell us how many additional weeks or months did they feel they could survive under the current Covid-19 economy. (See Graph #19)

We must confide that the 33% of printers who told us they had enough cash reserves to last them at least six months was a refreshing bit of news considering all of the negative stats we had received. Even more encouraging was the fact that another 13% of respondents told us they could last at least one year.

Unfortunately, another 31% of printers told us they only have enough cash reserves to last them two months or less. Considering the fact that most owners predict that the negative business climate and the severe decline in demand will extend well into late summer (if not the Fall or Winter), it appears that a significant portion of the printing industry is in deep trouble.

#19 – Cash Reserves

Predicting modest recovery by Spring 2021?

Overall Business Confidence Level – Question #20 of our Covid-19 “Take #2” Survey posed the following question: “Taking into account everything that has transpired in the past three months, how would you rate your confidence level that your business will be somewhat back to ‘normal’ by April 2021.”

We provided a slider that moved through a scale from left to right. On the far left, we displayed a -100 and identified it as (Very Doubtful). In the middle we displayed a 0 and labeled it “about 50/50”. On the far right we displayed +100 and labeled it “Extremely Confident.”

The final score was +16! In hindsight, we should have simplified the scale and its interpretation. Nonetheless, we interpret the +16 to be a slightly (very slight) positive indication or feeling that their business will possible be approaching normal by Spring of 2021.

Controlling Labor Costs

Preferences for Controlling Labor CostsQuestion #21 was a complex question asking readers to provide a “weighted” answer to five possible steps that might be taken to reduce or control labor costs. We provided five options they could take, and then basically asked them to tell us how likely or unlikely they were to pursue each option. The options ranged between “We will not consider” to “Will like implement.”

As a result, we were able to produce the following graph. As you can tell, printers are very reluctant to institute a “Reduction in Pay.” At the other end of the spectrum, printers are far more likely to pursue a “Reduction in hours for individual employees” followed closely by a general “Reduction in hours across the board.”

#21 – Controlling Labor Costs

Handling Accounts Payable?

Dealing with Accounts Payable – Recognizing the critical importance of improving and maintaining cash flow, we asked participants what if any steps they have taken to delay or slow down payments to vendors.

One option that we initially had not even considered in our first draft but was added later was the option stating that the owner has not delayed or slowed payments to vendors at all. Surprisingly, as it turned out, this option dominated all of the other responses. Almost 60% of respondents told us they have not delayed or slowed payments to their vendors.

#22 Dealing With Accounts Payable

Prospects for the future of your business – We could have just as easily put this question at the beginning or the end, but we basically wanted printers to tell us how Covid-19 has impacted their business. As expected, approximately 70% told us Covid-19 is having a “significantly negative impact” on their business, while another 10.5% tell us it has been “catastrophic.” (Graph #23)

#23 – Prospects for the Future?

The Role of Politics

Support for Governors, Congress & the President – Since politics plays such a major role in everything these days, the last five questions of our survey attempted to gauge the support and ratings offered by participants for their governors, state legislatures, the U.S. Congress and President Trump. Participants were provided a scale ranging from 0 (Totally Opposed) to 50 (Neutral) to 100 (Fully Support). 

Accurate Reporting on this data was imperative and we thus calculated both average and median figures. Our take? Too close to call out any big “winners” or “losers” in this contest!

Questions #24-27

Red States vs. Blue States – As a foundation for question #23, we asked participants to define the political nature of their own state. Where they in “Red,” “Blue,” or “Purple” state. The answers appear below. Our “gut” expected the “Red” state percentage to be slightly higher than the 32% shown, but all of that will only really matter when November rolls around.

#28 – Red State vs. Blue State

Our Sincere Thanks – We want to sincerely thank those of you who took the time to participate in our most recent industry survey. Rest assured it will not be our last, but we will be honest with you that we need your continuing support, not only as a survey participant but also as a financial supporter.

We would also like to thank the following two individuals for their help and advice in creating this industry survey:  (1) John Henry, owner of Speedway Press, Oswego, NY and founding board member of NPOA, and (2) Armand Girard, owner of Curry Printing & Marketing, Auburn, ME and also a founding board member of NPOA.

You can support NPRC and its research efforts by participating in various surveys we conduct and/or purchasing studies when they published. Click here to visit our Bookstore. If you feel really generous, but have already purchased one or more of our studies, you can always make a small donation to NPRC via PayPal at membership@printingresearch.org.

Remember to drop us a line and give us your suggestions for future surveys, especially those dealing with the current and future impact of Covid-19! We love to hear from you.

John Stewart, Executive Director, NPRC

Copyright 2020, National Printing Research Council (NPRC), Melbourne, FL  www.printingresearch.org

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Visits: 578

Shocking – Printers Report April Sales Down 44%!

Early, preliminary results from NPRC’s newest survey, Covid-19 “Take #2,” are in and the results are nothing short of shocking!

Although approximately 81% of printers who responded told us they are back to “close to normal” in terms of actually being open for business, the financial picture is far more grim.

Below are just a few of the stats we’ve been able to gather so far. Please note that the percentages displayed are tentative and subject to change in the next few days.

The Check is in the Mail & other Stats…

  • According to survey respondents so far, approximately 29% of all employees in the printing industry are currently furloughed.
  • April 2020 sales compared to April 2019 sales are down a whopping -54%!
  • Second Qtr. 2020 sales compared to the same quarter in 2019 are down -44%.
  • Six month 2020 sales compared to 2019 sales are projected down -33%.
  • Digital color copy volume is reported to be down -48%.
  • 60% of all respondents (Survey launched May 6 at approx. 9:30 a.m.) report they have not yet received their $1,200 stimulus check.

Click here to participate in our survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Y53VG27

We encourage all readers of this post to take our Covid-19 Survey. The deadline for participating is May 12th. All participants will receive a special link that will allow them to download a complete report of our survey.

Visits: 323

Brushing Up Your Pricing Practices

A Special Alert – that NPRC is reminding owners that operate printing, mailing and sign companies that they can download a copy of our 2017 Hourly Rates & Mark-Up Practices Report absolutely free.

This offer is simply our way of saying thanks to folks like yourself who have supported our industry research efforts during the past 25+ years.

Remember too, that we are also offering an 18% Discount on virtually all of our major reports and studies. With most businesses incurring major declines in monthly sales, what better time than now to brush up on pricing practices for digital printing, mailing services and signs and wide format products. Use the coupon NPRCVIP18 when placing an order in our bookstore. This coupon expires April 30th!

 

Visits: 690

Free Covid-19 Survey Report

Covid-19 Survey Report Available for Download…

Almost 280 printers, mailers and owners of sign companies turned out and answered recent survey on Covid-19.

As the 8-page report notes at the beginning, “Shock, amazement and surprises (both good and bad) are just a few of the reactions we experienced this week as we began examining the data gathered from our Covid-19 Printing Industry Survey.”

To read or download the entire PDF report, click here or the artwork above.

Visits: 1113

Corona Virus Factoid Sheet

There’s a lot of misinformation going around and the last thing we want to do is contribute to that misinformation. Nonetheless, we received the following, second hand, from an immunologist at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore. I wish we could supply the name but we could not find it, and the reason we can’t is probably due to the fact that JH is probably a bit sensitive as to papers like this being published with or even without attribution. That said, I found it very informative and educational – John Stewart.

From an immunologist at Johns Hopkins University…

Feeling confused as to why the Coronavirus is a bigger deal than Seasonal flu?  Here it is in a nutshell. I hope this helps.  Feel free to share this with others who don’t understand… It has to do with RNA sequencing….  I.e. genetics.

Seasonal flu is an “all human virus”.  The DNA/RNA chains that make up the virus are recognized by the human immune system.  This means that your body has some immunity to it before it comes around each year…  you get immunity two ways…through exposure to a virus, or by getting a flu shot.

Novel viruses, come from ANIMALS….the WHO (World Health Organization) tracks novel viruses in animals, (sometimes for years watching for mutations). Usually these viruses only transfer from animal to animal (pigs in the case of H1N1) (birds in the case of the Spanish flu).  But once one of these animal viruses mutates, and starts to transfer from animals to humans… then it’s a problem. Why? Because we have no natural or acquired immunity. The RNA sequencing of the genes inside the virus isn’t human, and the human immune system doesn’t recognize it so, we can’t fight it off.

Now sometimes, the mutation only allows transfer from animal to human. For years it’s only transmission is from an infected animal to a human, before it finally mutates so that it can now transfer human to human. Once that happens, we have a new contagion phase.  And depending on the fashion of this new mutation, that’s what decides how contagious, or how deadly it’s gonna be.

H1N1 was deadly, but it did not mutate in a way that was as deadly as the Spanish flu.    It’s RNA was slower to mutate and it attacked its host differently too. Fast  forward.

Now, here comes this Coronavirus… it existed in animals only, for nobody knows how long…but one day, at an animal market, in Wuhan China in December 2019, it mutated and made the jump from ANIMAL TO PEOPLE.  At first, only animals could give it to a person… But here is the scary part…. in just TWO WEEKS it mutated AGAIN and gained the ability to jump from human to human.   Scientists call this quick ability, “slippery”

This Coronavirus, not being in any form a “human” virus (whereas we would all have some natural or acquired immunity), took off like a rocket!! And this was because humans have no known immunity…doctors have no known medicines for it.

And it just so happens that this particular mutated animal virus, changed itself in such a way that it causes great damage to human lungs.

That’s why Coronavirus is different from seasonal flu, or H1N1 or any other type of influenza….  this one is slippery AF.   And it’s a lung eater…And, it’s already mutated AGAIN, so that we now have two strains to deal with, strain s, and strain L….which makes it twice as hard to develop a vaccine.

We really have no tools in our shed, with this.  History has shown that fast and immediate closings of public places has helped in the past pandemics. Philadelphia and Baltimore were reluctant to close events in 1918 and they were the hardest hit in the US during the Spanish Flu.

Factoid:  Henry VIII stayed in his room and allowed no one near him, till the Black Plague passed…(honestly…I understand him so much better now). Just like us, he had no tools in his shed, except social isolation…

And the author concludes – And let me end by saying….right now it’s hitting older folks harder… but this genome is so slippery…if it mutates again (and it will). Who is to say, what it will do next.

Be smart folks…  acting like you’re unafraid is so not sexy right now, and frankly stupid and selfish. Stay home folks…  and share this to those that just are not catching on.

 

Visits: 669

Free Hourly Rates Report

Melbourne, FL 3-17-20A few hours ago, Florida’s governor announced all bars and nightclubs will be closed for the next 30 days, and restaurants will be restricted to 50% seating capacity. More restrictions to follow.

That’s almost incomprehensible. Nothing in my 46 years as a business owner and consultant has prepared me for what we are hearing today. Like you, I am certain there will be more shocking announcements to come.

As business slows, as it surely will, you need to focus like a laser beam on the basics that got you where you are today… marketing, fine-tuning your pricing, improving your firm’s productivity (as measured by SPE) and trimming the fat in every corner of your operation. This is not the time to coddle lazy or unproductive employees. This is not the time to be apologizing for your prices. This is not the time for excuses. This is the time to be more proactive in your business than ever before. Your employees, at least the good ones, will follow and support you, but YOU must point the way. As an aside, we are fully confident that the dozens of studies and specialized reports published by NPRC can help you focus on what you need to do and how to do it. No other printing association can make that claim.

As a small token of our appreciation to hundreds and hundreds of printers, mailers and sign company owners who have supported our industry research for more than 30 years, we have decided to offer one of our smaller, yet popular industry reports absolutely FREE. Does it have all the answers, of course not, but it is a good example of the type of research that we conduct every year on behalf of this industry.

A limited time offer – For a brief period of time, you can download a complimentary copy of this report. This study normally sells for $49.95, but for a limited time you can download the study absolutely FREE!

The 2017 Hourly Rates & Mark-up Practices Report, like all of our studies, is packed with useful information, data and pricing designed to help you focus on what you need to do in the next 30 days and beyond. The study reveals pricing data on hand labor charges, hourly graphic charges, mark-up rates for paper and  brokered services, and hourly rates for various operations such as cutting, folding and padding.

To download a FREE copy of this report, click here or the artwork to the left.

NPRC has been the leading publisher of key statistical studies in the printing industry for the past three plus years., and we invite you to visit our bookstore before you download your FREE report. If you’re really interested in taking a laser-focused approach towards your business, you won’t find a better way than to visit our Bookstore and checkout what many printers claim to be the industry’s premier source of studies dealing with key financial ratios, pricing of digital services, wages &  benefits, mailing services as well as signs & large format products.

Our Studies are sold with a 100% money-back guarantee, and are typically process and shipped within 3-4 hours.

 

Visits: 914

California Mailer Praises Mailing Study

“The new NPRC Mailing Services Pricing Study is one of the best surveys to come out from NPRC in a long time,” says David Adams, owner of QPS Printing, Petaluma, CA.

“Although all of the association’s surveys are of immense help, this one hit a sweet spot for our company. It validated our pricing positions and gave us some items to add, services we should be breaking up into different price categories and not be ‘all-inclusive in pricing'”.

“We have grown our commercial printing firm to be in the top ten in the San Francisco north bay. Surveys like the Mailing Services Pricing Study keep us growing,” adds Adams.

Adams is one of many printers and mailers who have praised NPRC’s latest industry study, the 2020-2021 Mailing Services Pricing Study. This brand new, 100+ page study is packed with average and median prices for dozens and dozens of popular mailing products and services, including:

Full-Service IMb Charges
De-duping Fees
NCOA Processing Fees
Laser Letter Merging Fees
Markup Rates for Brokered Lists
Inkjet Addressing Fees
Insertion Charges for #10, 6×9″ and 9×12″ Envelopes
Metering Charges
Hand & Machine Application of Stamps
Self-Mailer Processing Fees
Plus, many, many other services & Products.

Click here to download the complete Table of Contents for this just-released study.

 

Visits: 132