Industry Pricing for 3-P Carbonless Forms

Thanks to those printers who participated in our special 3-day mini-survey for pricing for 3-part carbonless forms. A total of 68 firms (after eliminating two outliers) submitted their surveys by the Wednesday midnight deadline.

SEE END OF ARTICLE FOR NEW CHARTS & DATA added 11/5/21 at 12:30 P.M.

Below is a summary of our data. See histograms at the end of this email. Specifications asked prices for 3-P carbonless, 1-S, 8.5 x 11″, padded, black ink or toner. The survey also asked for any additional charge for number these forms. See data below.

* The prices below are within 5-7% of those reported in the most recent 2021 NPRC Digital Pricing Survey

                               500-3-P Forms         1M 3-P Forms

Average Price               $214.92                        $369.63
Median Price                $208.99                       $345.17

High Price                    $380.00                       $675.00
Low Price                     $134.05                         $205.00

78.3% of respondents indicated these forms would be produced digitally, while 21.7% said they would produce using offset.

* We plant conduct some additional sorts in the next couple of days to determine the average and median price for numbering for jobs produced digitally vs. those produced via offset.

                                 # Chg 500 3-P      # Chg 1M 3-P

Average Price                $36.50                     $50.95
Median Price                $35.00                     $51.00

High Price                    $72.00                      $95.00
Low Price                     $15.00                      $15.00

Approximately 84% of respondents said that the job could easily be produced and ready with the requested parameters – brought in Monday AM with a requested delivery for Thursday AM. The remaining 16% said they though the delivery schedule would be tight but doable.

Histograms, especially those prepared within Excel, are not the easiest or most intuitive to read and understand. The percent above each bar represents the number of respondents who provided and answer falling between the prior bar/price and up to but not including the current price or range. Both graphs (excluding the “more” in the second graph) come very close to depicting a general or standard deviation chart with approximately 68% of all responses falling within +/- one standard deviation of the average.

We will be posting much of this email on the NPRC site and we are thinking of displaying the raw data for folks to inspect. Some readers will look at the data and shake their heads saying something like, “I can’t believe folks would be charging prices this low”, while others will respond with, “I can’t believe folks charge prices that high… they must be ripping-off customers.”

Following the initial release of pricing data gathered for the above-mentioned survey, we conducted a couple of additional sorts and analyses. We separated data by method of product as indicated by our survey respondents. Even though the two production methods are distinctly different from a costing and production standpoint, the pricing for the products or services is surprisingly close, especially in terms of average prices. Note too the amazing similarity in pricing for number of carbonless forms.


Prices Driven by the Market, Not Costs!

The following is an excerpt from the Executive Summary of the 2021-2022 NPRC Digital Color Pricing Study:

Market-Driven Pricing – We cannot stress enough the fact that prices presented in this study reflect prices as they are in the industry, and not necessarily what should be! Only you can determine the proper price to charge for a specific product or service.

People sometimes call our report a Pricing Guide and we clarify this by noting, that our industry studies make no attempt whatsoever to establish or suggest to printers what they should charge for specific services.

What this study accomplishes is to accurately portray “real world” average and median prices being charged for dozens and dozens of digitally products and services in our industry. The prices are “what they are,” and not “what they should be.” Only you can make that determination.

“The prices are ‘what they are,’ and not ‘what they should be.’ Only you can make that determination.”

As is so often the case in this industry, the prices currently being charged for products and services are far more likely to be based upon a variety of market conditions rather than upon actual costs of production. In many situations in this industry, products are often sold for far more that their actual production costs plus a standard markup might otherwise suggest or warrant.

This is due in large measure to the ability of many printers to sell their products at prices based upon their “perceived value” rather than based upon a laundry list of costs and mark-ups. Unfortunately, some printers never really comprehend this concept.

Another factor that contributes to perceived value is the ability of printers to meet or exceed even the most stringent demands of their customers in regard to quality and turnaround time. The greater this ability, the greater the latitude there is in pricing specific products and services. Too many printers we have met over the decades give a great deal of lip service to claims about quality and customer service but often fail miserably when put to the test. They claim great customer service when in fact, compared to others, it is mediocre. Claims of high quality are often equally exaggerated as well.

“Too many printers we have met over the decades give a great deal of lip service to claims about quality and customer service but often fail miserably when put to the test.”

Purchase this new study by visiting the NPRC Bookstore and you’ll
receive your PDF copy of the complete study within 30 minutes or less.

Pricing Study Now Available as PDF

In response to dozens and dozens of requests from printers across the country, the new 2019-2020 “Sweet Sixteen” Digital Color Pricing Study is now being made available as a PDF. Retail Price for the PDF is $225. Hard copy price remains at $245.

The new 90+ page study is packed with the latest pricing for dozens of the industry’s most popular digital products and services. The study provides average and median pricing for products such as flyers and catalog sheets (8.5 x 11″ and 11 x 17″), rack cards, postcards, carbonless forms, stand-alone click charges, newsletters and catalogs (8, 16 and 32-pages), digitally produced envelopes, business cards as well as industry discounting practices.

Quantities covered typically include 100, 500, 1,000 and 2,500 but vary depending upon the specific product. Average as well as median prices are provided for virtually all products, as well as individual unit prices. To order and receive your PDF copy today, visit the NPRC Bookstore.