People are sometimes surprised when printers ask for a deposit. After all, the customer hasn’t received anything yet. Occasionally, it becomes a bit of an issue when we ask for some dollars upfront. In this blog, we explain why printers ask for a deposit.
Why a deposit is necessary
So why do printers ask for a deposit? Before answering the question, let me put up a hypothetical scenario. Let’s say your car is running rough so you take it to a mechanic. What if you car became worthless as soon as the mechanic started working on it? Your car could still be driven, but it was now impossible to sell to anyone else. Well that’s exactly how it is for printers. As soon as we start designing the artwork for your business card or brochure, it has no value to anyone else. Once we print your logo on paper, it’s only worth something to you. It can’t be sold, returned for a refund, or traded for something else. The deposit is your commitment to the job, and our protection if you don’t proceed after the design, or don’t collect the job after printing.
Do all printers charge a deposit?
I know for a fact some of our competitors don’t charge a deposit. They simply trust that the client will return and pay. Having this kind of trust is admirable, but not realistic. In an ideal world where everyone is honest, this would be fine. Unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a world where some people do the wrong thing. Most people honour their commitments and pay their bills, however some don’t. I’m not saying that they do it intentionally, but regardless of the reasons, it’s unfair for the printer to be left holding the debt.
How much is the deposit?
Most printers charge the cost of the materials and the artwork, or 50%, which ever is higher. For jobs up to $100, we ask for the entire amount upfront. Obviously, not every client is charged a deposit. Clients who order regularly and have built up a good payment history, are obviously treated with a higher degree of trust.
The top 5 reasons people don’t collect their print job.
In no particular order, here are the five most common reasons people don’t collect their print job:
1. No money
They’ve decided to start a business without fully calculating the cost of starting a business. So now they have insufficient funds to pay for the printing. Best to do your sums on all the other costs before going to the printer.
They’ve gone to the printer and approved the design, but now they can’t decide if they like it. They’ve received too much input from well meaning family and friends, so rather than making a decision themselves, they’re doubting the whole thing.
3. Too busy
The job’s been printed and is awaiting collection, but they’ve forgotten to organise the electrician, plumber and shop fitters, so they’re now in catchup mode, desperately trying to get the shop ready for opening day next week. Collecting the printing is way down on their list of priorities.
4. No business name
This one happens more frequently than you’d think. They’ve organised the domain name for their business, found the perfect location for the shop, and organised the printing of 5,000 leaflets to advertise the grand opening. Catastrophe strikes. They find out that they can’t register the business name because it’s taken. The lesson here is not to assume that because the domain name is available, that the business name is too. The first step is always to register the business name.
5. Multiple designs
The customer mistakenly thinks that they can get multiple printing companies to design their artwork, and then select the best design. Sorry, but that’s not how it works. We always explain to the client that quotes are free, but artwork isn’t. A client once told us that although our design was very good, they liked the design from another printer more, and they’d like their deposit back. When we spend any time on the design, the deposit is non-refundable whether you proceed with printing or not.