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Understanding Printing Turnaround Time: What To Expect When You Submit Your Printing Order
By Bestype Printing & Imaging on November 18, 2020
Planning a big event or mail campaign requires managing a large volume and variety of printed material, from postcards and placards to envelopes and invites. High quality printed material plays a large role in the success of any vibrant, dynamic campaign or event—but how do you know when to place your printing order to ensure everything is ready when you need it?
Printing services involve multiple steps and rely on an extensive repertoire of processes to deliver quality results, so it can be difficult to gauge in advance how long it will take to print your marketing or event-related materials. Adding to the complexity is the fact that different printing companies have different turnaround times and quality standards.
Bestype is recognized as a leading high-quality, fast-turnaround printer serving some of the most demanding corporate, fashion, and retail companies in New York City.
Because so many of the projects we deliver to clients are highly time-sensitive, we’ve perfected the art of providing exceptional work in tight time frames. One of the best ways to ensure fast, high-quality work is to understand ahead of time what happens after you place your order — and how these actions impact your turnaround time. If you’ve always wanted to know how we can make your rush order happen successfully, here are the keys:
Print turnaround time is the amount of time it takes to print, cut, finish, and distribute your materials. It is important to note that this does not include shipping turnaround, which is the time it takes to ship your material after the printing process is complete.
So, when is it best to start working on your printed materials? The earlier you engage your chosen printer in the process, the better. Earlier engagement times means you’ll be able to clearly communicate what you want out of the project and give the printer more time to execute it.
Not to mention, you’ll be able to avoid rush costs or expedited shipping costs.
The printing process
The printing process involves multiple steps, and time needs to be built into the project for each one to be thoroughly completed. This will result in your final product being in line with what you envisioned when you placed your order.
Before you hand off your products to the printer, you’ll want to build in time to have the pieces created. Typically, the creation stage takes about a month, as it involves working with designers and copywriters to conceptualize the design and check any text for typos.
Once the product is sent to us, we can actually start the turnaround clock.
The first decisions the printer will go over is the paper size, print quantity, and print quality. All of these factors go into determining how long it will take to print your materials. Here are a few examples of specialized prints that generally require more time to complete:
- Stickers or labels: These typically add a day to print time.
- Number of pieces per item: Items like invitations that have an invitation card, envelope, and a return card take longer because they have to be individually stuffed.
- Digital or offset printing: This depends on how many colors offsets you choose. One to two color offsets typically take two to three days while larger amounts can take up to a week extra.
- Brochures: Items with several folds, such as brochures, take longer because they have to be run through the printer more times than traditional pieces of paper.
- Finishes: Paper with varnishes or other advanced finishes take longer to finish. You can expect one to two days added to the printing process.
Once we determine your priorities, we send you proof of what the final product will look like. We work with you until we agree on the desired proof. Keep in mind, this could take several days of sending the proof back and forth. We recommend you planning for a week of prepress time just to be safe.
Once the digital proof process is complete, we send you any hardcopy proofs you may have ordered. After you give the green light on the final hardcopy proof, we can proceed to production.
Production time typically starts a day or two after your proof is approved, and the duration can vary based on the options that you choose. For example, if your project contains any binding options or is a large order, the process will take longer than a front-only print.
Getting your order correct is our highest priority, so if you’re planning to have any advanced binding or finishing options, please anticipate a longer production timeline. We want to ensure you’re happy with the final product.
Once your order is printed and finished, random sampling is inspected to ensure it matches the agreed-upon proofs. They are then ready for distribution.
The final step in the printing order process is distribution. If you chose to pick your order up from us directly, you will be able to do so as soon as production is complete.
If you choose to have your order shipped, we’ll begin to execute those plans according to the distribution method you’ve chosen. Although we deliver as soon as possible, you should build in a few extra days in case of unexpected delays with the carrier such as vehicle issues.
Keeping these tips in mind next time you have a print order can make the process even easier and more efficient. Our print orders are faster than they’ve ever been, and we are happy to be a part of your next exciting print campaign. If you have questions about any part of the process, or you’re ready to begin your next print, contact us today.
Image Credit: Pexels @ Creative Commons