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Overs/unders: what's the customary percentage now?

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  • Overs/unders: what's the customary percentage now?

    I was asked the other day whether a 10% over/under allowance was still a generally accepted printing trade custom. My response was that the over/under percentage is whatever the printer and the customer agree to put in the contract. The "official" language of the printing trade customs as promulgated by PIA and NAPL would seem to bear this out.

    These days, with digital workflows and improved press controls that minimize waste, 10% does seem needlessly high. But what is the acceptable allowance? 5%? 3%? What's small enough to satisfy the customer, but not too little to protect the printer?

  • #2
    Re: Overs/unders: what's the customary percentage now?

    Patrick
    In the UK, the days of trade association terms and conditions have gone -

    Clients want what they have ordered - rarely will accept overs - more likely to accept unders if they dont really need them

    Peter

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    • #3
      Re: Overs/unders: what's the customary percentage now?

      Same situation as Peter. Clients will rarely pay for overs, but will accept unders in most situations.

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      • #4
        Re: Overs/unders: what's the customary percentage now?

        When I joined this firm, I heard from my print buyers that 10% over/unders were the standard. Coming from the automotive and aerospace sectors, this seemed ridiculous. So, I polled our top five printers to find out what would be acceptable. After some discussion, we determined a sliding scale of appropriate OVERS based on run-size. However, I made them all aware that unders were simply not acceptable. It's worked very well.

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        • #5
          Re: Overs/unders: what's the customary percentage now?

          Patrick,
          Me experience working with hundreds of print buyers is that, Overs/Unders are still commonly used in North America. But not universally. And you are correct the percentages are going down down down.

          Many of our customers routinely specify 0%/0% when requesting quotes from printers. This prevents problems/surprises at the invoiceing stage.

          In other markets Europe and Australia, where P3Software also has many customers, Overs/Unders are generally not specified as the custom is to deliver what is ordered.

          It seems we North Americans cling to our 19th century business practices like we cling to our out dated units of measurement (i.e. inches, feet, cover weight, text weight etc.).

          Caleb Tower
          P3Software, Inc.
          Innovative solutions for print buyers

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          • #6
            Re: Overs/unders: what's the customary percentage now?

            Caleb
            The introduction of ISO9001 in the 90's demanding that Purchase Orders were produced at the start of a job - rather than after the job was complete - seemed to have stopped it dead in the UK

            peter

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            • #7
              Re: Overs/unders: what's the customary percentage now?

              There is no industry standard on overs. The issue should be addressed in the bidding/negotiation process just like any other pricing item. Overs have no value to us, so we state in our RFPs that we will not pay for overs. That way any printers bidding on the job know up front that any overs are part of the cost of the job.

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              • #8
                Re: Overs/unders: what's the customary percentage now?

                Thanks to all for some very insightful answers. Perhaps it's time for a 21st-century rewrite of the "trade customs" as a whole. But things have changed so much on so many fronts that I wonder if the term "customs" still applies.

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                • #9
                  Re: Overs/unders: what's the customary percentage now?

                  Some Nordic printers use the following conditions. The maximum percentage is 8 percent for runs up to 20.000 copies and a maximum of 800 sheets.
                  And 4 percent of a run of up to 20.000 with a maximum of 1.000 copies and a 2 percent for runs above 50.000 copies .
                  These conditions are applicable if no other conditions for over/under have been agreed.

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