Questions that should be asked include the following:
• What is the risk of exposing confidential data?
• Will there be hidden costs?
• If I want to buy a few flyers occasionally, will the provider
still focus on my needs?
• Will there be a guarantee of consistency and quality?
• Is the supplier certified with a G7 rating?
• Will shipping be arranged at a fair and reasonable price, and
from a location assuring expeditious delivery?
• Will the supplier ensure a project meets its criteria for
• If there’s any customization to the job, will the supplier
identify concerns upfront so I gain a successful project
• Will there be communication before, during and after the
At one time, pricing was determined on the basis of a dollar sum, Dignam observes. “The variable was based on the dollar amount, and the value of that customer to you,” he notes. “If you have a customer who’s always a pain in the [behind], you might want to charge that guy more. But how do you deal with another customer who’s a terrific guy and provides you with a lot of work? You might want to offer a volume discount and charge him less.”
Dignam recommends not charging by the job, but by the overall cost of running the business. If, for instance, you know you have $10,000 in costs month after month, you must bring in $10,000 by the second or third week of the month, “and everything beyond that is pure profit,” he says.
Ad Specialty Resources
Many PSPs need to outsource to suppliers of business forms, holiday cards, and ad specialties. Here again, best practices can help guide them.
One best practice may be to seek a company that can service several needs at once, says Fred Collins, executive director of The DFS Group, a 31-year-old Groton, MA-based wholesale provider of short- to medium-run checks and forms. It is best known in the industry for its catalog of products and for its knowledgeable and affable call center representatives.
The company serves printers, distributors, brokers, and resellers looking for short runs and a high level of convenience, Collins says. “Our value is being one stop,” he adds. “If you have someone who deals with promo, they’re going to know right where to go for what manufacturer. What we have found is those who are promo product distributors find our value proposition great because it’s very straightforward to sell our catalog items.”
Demand for tax and other business forms has dropped with the digitization of many of the forms. But DFS Group still does robust sales in business forms because it serves small- to mid-sized companies, which by and large haven’t yet moved to digitized forms. “We do a lot of forms, like estimates and proposals, that are designed for contractors, services, and repair industries,” Collins says.
DFS Group sees itself as a company that provides products, services, and support that help PSPs and other clients grow their business relationships and build new ones. “Adding a wide breadth of products, and providing sales tools, helps them get everything they need from one supplier,” reports Collins, whose company in January will launch a brand new website for wholesale Web-to-print. “For instance, they can call us for labels, checks, and holiday cards, and not have to call three different suppliers.”