The ratios and pricing data provided in this year’s study are probably the most accurate and the most detailed we have ever produced. Some of you probably read my April column where I offered up some preliminary findings. Now we have some of the final numbers to report.
OVERVIEW - PRICING STUDY PARTICIPANTS
Ratio Average Median
2010 sales $1,032,632 $685,000
Projected 2011 sales $1,105,561 $744,600
Projected Growth 2010
to 2011 7.1% 8.7%
Sales per Employee $123,501 $118,606
Sales per DTP Employee $78,910 $66,835
Sales per Press Operator $237,219 $213,140
Age of owner 55 56
Company founded 1982 1983
These key ratios represent not only those of our survey participants, but we also report, with a high degree of certainty, that these ratios are representative of the entire industry (+/- 6%), and not just our group of respondents.
What About Prices and Trends?
This year’s survey presents an immense amount of pricing data. We go the extra mile to make sure we present pricing information in a variety of formats most often requested by former participants. In most cases, prices are provided for five different quantities, including a High/Low range for each.
The High/Low Price range represents a range within which approximately 51% of all prices fell. The range (as a percent of the average) varies from product to product, and is presented as a general guideline. I feel that any prices falling outside of this range are most likely the result of errors, incorrect assumptions, or improper hourly rates being applied.
Below is a sample of our “All” pricing, along with the High/Low range:
DTP (Graphics) Hourly Charge
Average High/Low Range
File Handling Fee $17.45 $12.80-$22.10
12x18 CTP Poly Plate $16.38 $12.79-$19.96
500 Color, 8x11, 1-S,
100# Text $213 $181-$245
500 ea. Bus. Cards, 4/0,
1 Name $72.90 $55-$90
1M, #10/24 White Wove
Envelope $107 $93-$121
1M, 3-Part Carbonless,
8x11 $278 $247-$309
1M, 1-S, 2-C
Letterhead, 24# $221 $198-$244
The full study offers pricing for more than 65 different items or services, and offers more than 1,000 distinct pricing breakouts based upon size of firm, quantities, and our High/Low range. To view the study’s table of contents, check the participant list, view some sample graphs, or to order the study, go to my website at: www.quickconsultant.com.
The Future of Research Studies
The size of the quick printing segment of the industry was estimated to be 30,000-35,000 in the early 1990s. Today, the industry is much smaller. I estimate the size of the industry is closer to 15,000-20,000, but that is based on more of a gut feel than on hard data.
In the late 1980s, NAQP claimed more than 4,000 members. Today, the association is 75% smaller with fewer than 1,000 members. Other trade associations have suffered similar fates.
What does this mean for the future of research studies? What does the future hold for the operating ratio studies, bindery studies, and wage & benefit studies that I have published in conjunction with NAQP/NAPL for the past 25 years? I truly do not know, nor am I very encouraged.
In the past, trade associations used to carry the burden, if not responsibility for conducting industry research. Because of shrinking membership and smaller budgets, associations have to reexamine every expense item, and research projects do not get a “pass.”
Many association executives argue that future research studies should either pay for themselves or attract enough industry sponsors so that they at least break even. I can’t argue against that premise, but I can predict what will happen if it comes to pass—research studies as we know them will cease to be published.
Research is Expensive
Despite the fact that virtually all the research studies conducted by NAQP have continued to improve and attract good to excellent participation rates, none of the studies have ever sold enough to recover their costs, let alone produce a small profit.
For example, this year’s pricing study attracted approximately 350 qualified participants. Each participant received a free PDF copy of the study. We expect to sell 200-250 copies in the next 12 months. That’s a maximum of 600 pricing studies distributed in an industry of about 20,000. And remember, half of those copies are distributed free.