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PrePress/Printing Consultant?

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  • PrePress/Printing Consultant?

    Hello. I stopped working for an undesirable employer of 12 years last June. I really don't want to make a lateral move to another print shop. I have been in printing doing mostly prepress for 25 years. What are your thoughts on prepress or printing consulting? I tried to do some print brokering, but the competition with online printers is fierce and I am not the best sales person. I was hoping to consult new graphic artists and or office managers that try to do their own printing but get unexpected results from their errors. I haven't found many resources for this kind of project and it's currently just an idea. Does anyone think this could work?

  • #2
    I wouldn't count on getting business from graphic artists or office managers. You could try creating a seminar about creating proper files and advertising it to them - but I doubt that you'll get any business doing that.

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    • #3
      Companies like the one I work for are always looking for people with knowledge gained from working in the printing industry. https://jobs.esko.com Maybe try some of the vendors you've worked with before as well. Best of luck!
      "you never know how the past is going to turn out"

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      • #4
        Hi Leafy ! Interesting question, as I have a couple of highly skilled press room specialists contemplating the same thing. There SHOULD be, but sadly not showing hope..at least not in the USA.

        These truths may sting a bit fellow PP members, but from MY perspective ONLY and MY involvement with the largest packaging firms down to 2 color shops.......support is needed but few are willing to pay for it.

        Process improvement and preventive maintenance would save tremendous amounts of money for so many shops but it goes unattended. Again, not condemning all, so no ruffled feathers, please. So focused on price, not value for the money. Shops have cut quality people because they "cost too much". Skilled press operators replaced by low cost labor and temps, in many cases. Beat up the vendor for price. Blame the ink or the plates. Neglect equipment. Never preventative maintenance, always reactive. Never our fault, always the product or the supplier. The true stories I can tell.

        Leafy read the posts. So many have issues and so many can be rectified by spending time or money to fix them. In offset it still holds true that only 2-4% of the job cost is the "consumables". Not the paper or the ink, of course. Yet, all day is spent trying to save $5 on a pail of wash. Time is money and more is wasted than paying the $5. Some high end and/or progressive thinking shops do have consultants and they see the value.

        So many good minds out there that have been terminated or "head count reduced". Former operators, sales reps, instructors...those who could really help a shop...but unless they do it for free or "cheap", no one is buying. They love freebies and samples. Intellect and problem solving is an "expense". One that would probably save them more money, but the budget or even the ego will not allow. Job security ? Perhaps

        I go in so many shops and all I see is fixable issues, but never fixed. They can't imagine forking over money to you to improve their process. That mentality is pervasive and getting worse. Corporations have handcuffed the "producers'. Excel runs the pressroom, not the pressroom supervisor. Bean counters who know zip about printing making the decisions. I could go on for days, Leafy.

        I wish you well and I support you and what you want to do..it is NEEDED. There are shops out there that, depending on your skill set and experience, will be an option. I will be more than willing to send any lead I can to you via PM when I run into shops willing to pay for a consultant. Promise. Good luck !!!

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        • #5
          Hi Leafy,
          I LOVE your idea. However it's because as Prepress, we know how valuable it would be to other prepress people. Not all agencies or designers give a hoot. That's what they pay the printer for, right?

          A number of years back I made a pass at the Ad Agency world, using my prepress background to land a job as a "Mechanical Artist". Fine tuning and editing existing work that was produced by the designers and creative muckity-mucks.
          Essentially doing what we as Prepress folks wish ALL agencies would do more often.
          I enjoyed it very much, the salary was an increase, and the atmosphere was fun and interesting.

          I would probably still be working for an agency if it weren't for those meddling kids and their dog!

          No wait... it was the 400 million dollar automotive account they lost within a year after I got there, that was it. Laid off along with many others.
          Urgency put me back in Prepress, and the volatility I had discovered in agency employment has unfortunately kept me away from trying again.

          If you can deal with a little volatility and a little uncertainty, it might be worth a look.

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          • #6
            Support is needed but few are willing to pay for it.
            This is very true.

            If you really want to do this, you have to get into sales or sales support. The ol' corporate bug. Because most companies do not want to pay a separate charge for what they think they've already got.

            I deal with a plate company salesman who brings by their "old guy" about once every 10 trips, just to help get things into order for a day. It's one reason we buy his plates.

            We have a mailing software supplier who holds hands through any difficult mailing job. He's a salesman, but he's also exceedingly well skilled in data bases and knowledgable about the latest postal regulations. We will use his software "forever".

            In other words, you might want to deal with someone who could make consulting your "plus" rather than your reason for existence.

            Remember that there's only so much advice that anyone wants to pay for, but they'll take steady help whenever it's offered, even if it means holding on to you as their ink/plate/prepress/design/paper/chemicals supplier.

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            • #7
              Same here, jumped from undesirable employer to label printer, but with a heavy price on my salary... ( At least i'm getting paid ).

              Still getting calls from ex employer's collaborators who expect me to set them up with minimal wage hourly rates.... :-p

              Since you are not really good at sales - neither am i - i would suggest to take as much time as you can and find something in packaging.

              I think the only people getting by in printing are those with work on healthy shops for many-many years.

              Hardly know people getting good money moving to other shops, and still way less than they used to make 7-8 years before....

              Good luck with whatever you decide but i would not try the consultant plan, the ESKO options sounds better if you fit anywhere there...


              Comment


              • #8
                The problem you face with this approach is that so many printers give Prepress time away free, which means there's little value for content creators to pay for a service they are already getting at no cost. If you really want to get into consulting, and you have the appropriate skill set the one area which can be lucrative is assisting print shops to achieve ISO certification and/or effective colour management processes.

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                • #9
                  This is great! Thank you for all of the input. It's nice to get perspectives from people that work in printing, I mostly just gets blank stares and smiles when I approach other business people with my ideas. I think I'm going towards more of prepress fill in temp agency with additional consulting and/or training (if they want it.) I do remember how difficult it was to take a vacation and showing up sick because it was easier than getting behind because I was alone in prepress. The mess I came back to after a maternity leave was substantial. Starting my business plan today, wish me luck and thanks again!

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