With the release of our fourth Mailing Services Pricing Study one thing appears abundantly clear, and that is that more and more printers appear to be entering the mailing services arena and are prepared to meet traditional mailers head on.
When we distributed our first mailing services survey in June 2002, approximately 52% of those who responded indicated they offered both printing and mailing services, while the remainder said they were either dedicated mailing houses or in-plant operations.
Move ahead seven years to this year’s survey and we now find that almost 79% of all our participants indicated they offered both printing and mailing services, with less than 22% indicating they were primarily mailing operations or in-plant firms. At the very least, this increase in responses and participation by “printing & mailing services” companies seems to indicate that more and more printers view mailing services as a natural area for expansion as well as increased profits.
Participating firms are getting much larger as well. In mid-2002 when we conducted our first study, the average firm reported 2001 sales of $838,312 and an average monthly piece count of 771,235. In the current study, our average participating firm reported 2008 annual sales approaching almost $1.8 million and average monthly piece counts of almost 950,000. These sales figures exclude all postage income.
Profile of Survey Participants
More than 365 companies participated in this year’s pricing survey, from which approximately 320 surveys were used to compile our data. The data submitted was subjected to strenuous tests to check for basic submission errors and misplaced decimals. As a result, the overall margin of error for the pricing and ratios reported in the study ranges between 5-7%, depending on the specific price, ratio, or extraction. That is considered excellent for a survey of this size.
Below is a profile of our respondents:
PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS
|2008 Annual Sales*||$1,712,550||$916,150|
|Sales from Printing||$1,078,906||$751,243|
|Amount of Sales from Mailing*||$633,644||$164,907|
|Number of Employees||14.5||7.6|
|Sales per Employee||$117,973||$120,941|
|Total Square Feet||20,076||6,500|
|Sales per Square Foot||$169||$152|
|Mailing Pieces Processed/Month||945,487||100,000|
In terms of raw sales and average monthly piece counts, this year’s survey set records in the range and diversity of its participants. So that certain ratios would not be distorted any more than necessary, the majority of our initial extractions excluded data submitted by companies with sales of less than $100,000 or greater than $10 million. Nonetheless, even with these exclusions, printers and mailing firms of all sizes and shapes participated in this survey.
While 44% of all our survey participants indicated they processed between 10,000 and 99,000 pieces per month, and thus would be considered “small mailers” under most definitions, another 27% of our participants said they mailed 500,000 or more pieces each month.
In fact, 7.1% of our participants told us they processed two million pieces or more each month. And that would make them huge in light of our data. We also heard from many shops in the middle that processed between 100,000 and 500,000 pieces each month. (See graph on page 28 labeled “Average Monthly Piece Counts by Participant Categories”.)
Pricing Versus Profits
The 2009-2010 Mailing Services Pricing Study covers more than 40 distinct services provided in the mailing industry, including NCOA list processing fees, de-duping charges, data entry rates, mail matching fees, machine and hand labeling charges, and inkjet addressing, just to name a few. Readers can download a free page from the study (NCOA charges) as well as view the entire table of contents by visiting the Q.P. Consulting website at: www.quickconsultant.com.