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Dealing with clients’ printing needs despite smaller budgets


Mike Peters

Mike Peters

While growing up in Boise, I observed my parents as small business owners. One of my mother’s favorite poems was “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. I did not know at the time that her frequent reference to “miles to go before I sleep” was from that poem, but she used that phrase often when speaking of what work still needed to be done at the end of the day. Since we are in our 26th year of being small business owners, we have learned firsthand what she meant.

Like most business owners, our challenge at Options has been to find better and more cost efficient ways to do business. We provide all manner of printed materials to our clients and have been asked on many occasions to help them save money in order to meet reduced budgets. We are happy to do that and have been successfully aiding them in maintaining a quality, professional image.

That is not to say that we are quick to encourage brand change just for the sake of price. What you pay is still pretty much indicative of what you get. We offer guidance in making important but necessary decisions about a client’s image.

For example, the following questions may be addressed.

Is it important to keep our logo in three colors even though the printed piece may have a short shelf life? Does an envelope need to be full color? Do return envelopes really encourage the prompt payment of invoices? Why is the price for four-color business cards the same as one printed in two colors?

These questions have more impacting implications than can be discussed in this short space but can be addressed with an office visit.

At Options, we have seen an incredible change in the printing industry. Forty-three years ago when I took my first job in a commercial print shop right here in Boise, we were still setting type by hand. Type drawers were not for small memorabilia collections but were housed in cases. I learned how to gently place the type in those drawers in order to not damage the soft material.

Typesetting was done by a craftsman who used strange terminology and sometimes spoke under his breath about the amount of text the customer was packing into the brochure he was composing. Proofs were done on a proof press and then originals were sent to the camera room. Negatives and offset plates were another challenge, and one- and two-color presses were able to produce beautiful four-color work.

Today we are blessed and cursed by the same computer that has changed so many aspects of life as we know it. Although we can provide all graphic art needs, sometimes the artwork is done by our client. While this idea may have the potential of saving some costs, sometimes it creates issues with the printing process. Clients who choose to do their own artwork may learn that not all of their files are truly print ready. We help step them through the process so that when we receive the file, there are minimal or no alterations to be made.

It is often more cost effective for our professionals to create the document and leave the customer’s personnel to do the job they are paid to do in their office.

Although artwork is the first and perhaps the most important factor for production of quality printed materials, once the artwork is complete and to the customer’s satisfaction, our job is to insure that the finished product is acceptable and on time. Our employees have years of experience working with clients to determine what work is needed and the best possible way to produce it. When we have determined the best course to pursue, detailed estimates are generated with specifications for quantity, stock choices, colors of ink and finishing, as needed.

Options has changed with the industry. Change came because it was necessary for survival but also because it is best for our clients.

This article was written by Mike Peters, owner of Options, a printing firm located at 1530 E. Commercial, Ste. 109, in Meridian. He can be reached at (208) 344-1117.

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