I manage a fair amount of printing at my business. It’s really just an extra service I offer. Most jobs start with the design portion and then they don’t know where to go to get it printed, so I can help. I have accounts, relationships and experience with local and online printers so I can find the best fit for each job. Online printers have really changed the industry. I have had a quality issues and often feel I’m getting killed on shipping charges, but it certainly made it easier for clients to get full color options they once couldn’t afford. Online printers is where you upload your artwork and who-know-who and who-knows-where it’s being printed, but the point is, it’s cheap. It’s generally not faster and the quality is not always better, but the one thing that’s hard to compete with is pricing. That said, what’s a few bucks really worth when the job doesn’t go well or arrive on time? To me, the freelance designer…. a lot!

Last week I uploaded few pretty straightforward business card orders. Artwork was quickly approved, everything was paid for and I generally put it out of my mind. It wasn’t until yesterday when my client called and asked “Where’s my card?”. After logging in, tracking down the order, seeing it hasn’t even being shipped, I go into panic mode. The other jobs ordered the same day were done days ago. So what the heck happened? I get on the phone with “Jenny”. She’s not my rep, she’s just some lady on the other end of the line listening to my rant. It takes he awhile but she tells me that the job “just took longer than expected”. No excuse, not even really an apology or no solution. It’s just going to arrive late – period.

On most of my jobs a day is not a big deal, but in this case my client was heading on a trip and needed them in hand before she boarded a plane. Bummer for me and big bummer for her.

I guess next time I want to guarantee my delivery I’ll work with my local printer rep who will personally see to it that my job is done on time, no questions asked.