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Currently outsource print jobs, wanting to do more in house, baffled by salespeople.

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  • Currently outsource print jobs, wanting to do more in house, baffled by salespeople.

    Hi everyone,

    Backstory: We have a leaflet distribution business in the UK & for a few years have supplied print which we get from a trade printer. We find we turn a fair amount of work away either due to turnaround or because our trade printer charges too much for us to be competitive.

    The problem: After getting various lease quotes on xerox machines we're baffled because everyone has a different opinion, we've been told about 5 machines are right for us (xerox 242, 550, c60,c75, phaser 7800)

    Also the click charges vary greatly, that guillotines are hard to use & it's a steep learning curve (they were trying to sell us a morgana cardextra machine we believe) & we're told the xerox 550 is tough to get lined up when duplex printing & we should get a C60 as the alignment is easier.

    We posted on another forum & a fierce debate ensued about whether it's better to lease or buy & whether click charges are worthwhile.

    I wonder if i should just ignore the small jobs or pass them on or focus on our distribution business more & get print out of my head entirely as its a big outlay & the whole start up process seems to be a total minefield however 1 competitor reached over 1 million turnover in 7 years using just a xerox 700 whilst outsourcing too & aside from the financial side of it, for some reason i'm drawn to it.

    I know this post is all over the place & I apologize for that but this represents the current confusion over the contradictory information we have been given by about 7 xerox concessionaires.

    Our current situation is that we supply around 20,000 A5 flyers a month so still small partly due to the turnaround & price issues we face as a broker. It's only really in our budget to lease a refurbished machine currently.

    Your opinions on the issues we face would be greatly appreciated.


    Last edited by PrintingInLincs; 09-26-2017, 06:33 AM. Reason: Adding tags

  • #2
    Lease or buy is your choice. If you think of click charges in a different way then you will find it is almost a moot point. Whether you pay a maintenance click charge or buy your supplies and pay maintenance, there is a cost for every time the meter clicks. This is true for offset as well. There is a cost associated for every impression. How you determine it is up to you. A known cost per copy for all consumables and maintenance isn't that bad once you think it through.

    When it comes to cutters. Nothing will compete with the speed of a guiloteen cutter. The card sitters are slow, but convenient. If you are just cutting and not scoring then a guiloteen is 100 times faster.

    There is nothing wrong with a plan of internal printing the smaller stuff and outsourcing the long runs. Trust me, you can make and lot of money that way. Also, the more you produce in house the more equipment you will find yourself needing. Make sure you have paper vendors as well, and not office supply vendors.


    • #3
      Thanks for replying. I suppose part of me is wondering if i'm a bit mad for wanting to get our own equipment but it would fill all the gaps in our business & allow us to supply the products we're currently not competitive on. We've only had 1 business card order previously for example though we do get asked for quotes.

      Too often i have seen printers saying that barely any money can be made from printing but looking at the numbers i believe it may be worth a shot.

      I suppose if we do go for a click charge it would save us time vs hunting out the toner or parts ourselves.


      • #4
        Would it be an option for you to approach more printers (trade or not)? Depending on when a job comes in one may be quiet while the other is out the door. Always best to have a few prices anyway.

        It is a big step to take it on yourself, you'd want to make sure you have enough hours of the day available to take it on to.


        • #5
          Hi Karl,

          I saw your post on the other forum but did not get involved there as I find there are too many people claiming to know everything on that forum that really do not know much at all!!

          Anyway, if you really would like to start print, I would always go with a click contract. I've been running my digital print business for 17+ years and have tried both approaches over the years, and the only way to ensure quality is maintained is to go through the click route. Trust me, if you are paying for each and every drum you replace, you will end up not changing them when a print problem occurs due to price and quality will suffer (i've been there and done it). Also, it's far easier to know exactly what each job will cost you without worrying about how much toner each job will take.

          With regards to presses, any of them should be fine for your needs. The newer the machine, the lower the click cost usually which should be a major deciding factor. Registration for leaflets should be fine as they are a little more forgiving than business cards for example.

          It is a steep learning curve, but that's not something which should put you off. But you must take time to learn everything, such as imposing on oversize stocks, bleeds, trimming, etc. A guillotine is a must for leaflets, and also bear in mind, digital print will only be cost effective for runs maybe up to 1500 units before buying in from the trade is more cost effective anyway. How long are your runs? Could you buy in from a better trade source? It's my opinion that printing yourself will only speed up lead times, and will not save you money. Longer runs will still need to be outsourced.

          I believe I'm not far from you, as I'm in Peterborough, so if there's ever anything you would like a price on or help with anything, feel free to get in touch.



          • #6
            I don't know whether you've calculated with them or not, so let's see what you'll need on top of a printer and a guillotine:

            - a place to do all this activity. Pretty downtown offices with apartments over them is a no-no, as people from the flats will come down yelling after the first cut performed on the guillotine. You'll need an industrial place – or a very smallish guillotine on a rubber floater. You also need space to store paper and products waiting to be dispatched.

            - persons fluent in each and every task: PDF preflight & massage, imposition, job scheduling & tracking, handling a printer (calibration, general user maintenance), post-processing (cutting, scoring, folding, packaging, logistics etc.). Count with two such persons as there are holidays, weekends, days off etc.

            - more and more machines as every job you'll see a possible profit in, will need a new, specialized type of equipment. Most of the 'pro' machines which are very similar to the ones in Office Depot will have a surprisingly high price tag. Or you struggle with office machinery and throw them out very frequently.

            ... and so on. We found out the hard way that the cost of printing & processign equipment alone is only around 40 percent of our monthly cost. Most of the money flows out to have the right place and personnel.



            • #7
              Hi Simon,

              I realise that a lot of the click charge it is based on how old the machine is & the metering. I'm getting told between 4.5p & 5.5p for colour sra3 but unsure if thats good or not.

              Had a meeting today regarding a xerox & the salesman had a minor traffic accident so the Director of the company came in, he said that a 550 would be fine for us & a guillotine shouldn't be a problem. I was also told that as he's the director they'd be happy to put it in writing that if we're not happy a year down the line then they'll tear the contract up which i found interesting.

              Our print runs vary to an extent because people either want a standard 1k/5k/10k or we have weird amounts based on how many properties are in an area. This often leaves us with excessive waste as we have to order 1000 for a village with 840 properties for example. This problem would be solved by printing in house.

              Thanks or your thoughts


              • #8
                Not sure about used equipment, but, all new equipment from Xerox comes with a "CED" (Customer Expectation Document) wherein they put what the machine should be able to do in writing. If, for some reason, the printer doesn't live up to the CED, they'll take it back and replace it. That is standard for Xerox equipment.


                • #9
                  Hi Peter,

                  In a few months we'll be ending a lease on a 1200sq ft office which we have in the centre of our city. It's 2nd floor with a tricky corner on the stairs so this is part of whats prevented us from printing in house previously.

                  I must admit that we'll be having our equipment in our garage for the short term while we build up but i do see us leasing somewhere again in a year or 2.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PrintingInLincs View Post
                    I must admit that we'll be having our equipment in our garage for the short term while we build up but i do see us leasing somewhere again in a year or 2.
                    In this case, you have to add (as we've learned the sour way) a nice sum to your already long list of 'auxillary expenses': the cost of periodic moving. Count thousands of $$$$ as transport of sophisticated machinery tends to be expensive.


                    • #11
                      Hi Karl

                      You say that you do 20k of A5 flyers per month so 5k of SRA3 (assuming you buy a guillotine). Unless you are definitely going to increase your volumes then for the best TCO I'd probably go for a cheaper machine. You can then always keep it if/when you need to get something more with a lower TCO because having a backup machine is always a good idea (or sell it if you don't have the room).

                      Also be aware that most dealers won't let you keep the machine at the end of the lease and will use various tricks to make you upgrade early so you never end up owning the thing. You need to get in writing from them that they will pass entitlement to you at the end of the minimum term.

                      So let's talk about cheaper GA machines. Really you have two choices as I see it - the Xerox Phaser 7800DN or the OKI C911DN both of which cost around £1.8k ish. Now Xerox's official PagePack click service is almost 20p per SRA3 whereas OKISmart is around 15p. No coverage limitation on the OKI whereas you must get 1/3 of the ISO stated yield out of the Xerox toners or they won't supply you. So both have quite a high click but your TCO all depends on volumes and this is what a lot of people fail to consider (and a lot of dealers 'forget' to mention)...

                      If you get say 4.5p by spending £10k more on a C60 then at around 100,000 SRA3 sheets (so 400,000 A5 sheets) you'll break even. At your current volumes that's almost 2 years.

                      I'm sure there will be people on here that will disagree but some small print businesses get away with using a colour copier because clicks can be low, some offer fantastic value for money and some offer excellent print quality. There are loads of choices but simply by spending say £2.5k on an entry-level copier you could still get a tiered click of around:
                      Mono Only 0% Colour 0.6p
                      Up to 5.1% Colour 2.5p
                      Up to 20% Colour 3.9p
                      Over 20% Colour 7.0p
                      Clicks go much lower the more you spend but please consider your TCO over say a 3 year period. I don't think it should take even that long to pay for itself but I'm sure some people will disagree.

                      Whatever you do, get samples and take a look at the machine before you buy.


                      Last edited by; 10-11-2017, 08:25 PM.


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