Pre Press vs. Press salaries

Sheppy

Member
Just curious what the norm is for salaries regarding Pre Press and Press operators. The Pressmen at my company make substantially more money than us in pre-press. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Also anyone from the Boston area care to share general salary info. If you hadn't already guessed I am gathering info trying to get a raise.
 

G_Town

Well-known member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

It's been my experience that it's (salaries) are usually based on experience and what you bring to the company (how bad they need you).

Now if your saying there is a large disparity in wages between equally experienced press man and prepress ops that's BS IMHO. They can't print it right if you don't give it to them right.

Good luck.
 

rbailleu

Well-known member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

coming from the employer side of things in a small shop its tough. it is more difficult for us to find a really good pressman than a decent prepress guy. the pressman can ruin a lot more $ in paper than a prepress person usually does. especially with the modern ctp equipment. a worthless pressman can destroy a whole shop. press, work, reputation. same goes for bindery. but usually an on the ball pressman can keep the prepress person in check. a good prepress person does not see what goes out the door. it is not right, but capitalism makes the world go round. also we pay our pressman about $15/hour and prepress about $10. If I could find a top notch guy we might go as high as $20. we are in a small town, low cost of living. I have seen pressman that make about $20 near us. I chicago I know 2 color pressman that make $26. In atlanta I know a 6 color pressman the makes $30/hour.
 

G_Town

Well-known member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

Small shops are a bit different but it all is the same at the end of the day, getting the job done right. I remember a job that someone set the wrong copy on a job (it was a food label concerning the ingredients). Customer didn't catch the error until after it was printed and on the shelf. My company ate like 50 grand on that between fines and re-printing.

True a pressman can screw a job up real good but don't underestimate the prepress departments ability to royaly screw you over.

Modern ctp equipment is still run by people being "modern" does not make it full proof. Pay 'em what they are worth to your operation and don't look at one dept over the other. Finishing comes to mind who traditionally are not the highest paid group but have a high potential of screwing up the works.

I guess in the end it's like anything else, you get what you pay for, don't pay good people enough and sooner than later they will leave for someplace that will.
 

DonnaFC

Member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

A journeyman press man usually makes more than a prepress person. Prepress is a department that is making less and less money. Traditional strippers we at about $23+ per hour mid 80's in the Boston area. Most of the guys who stayed in it are bosses/supervisors now.
As more and more of the prepress operation has moved to computer, the people have been making less and less money.
 

John W

Well-known member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

On the one hand you have huge need for new prepress people. The technical schools even advertise 100% placement rate for graduates.
On the other hand, a junior CSR starts at a lower wage hoping to move up. But the truth is that 3 years later they're still making nearly the same wage and bitterness and disolution will ensue and many will leave the industry.
Until the companies realize that a technically competent person has to be paid enough to have a life, family, bills, mortgage etc and afford it, our industry has a growing disaster happening. Maybe, the companies will just replace these young people with more naive young people. Shame on us all.
John W
 

G_Town

Well-known member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

Well at least in my experience that has not been the case. I started in the biz in '85 the last 9 I spent as the prepress manager and just recently took a job as an operator for more money.

With the advent of computers I have seen a drastic reduction in the number of people needed to run a sucessfull prep dept. The flip side is those people need to be top notch and that is exactly what I looked for as a manager and paid them accordingly (makes your life a lot easier).

Maybe I'm just special in that I have not been making less money as you stated ;-)
 

chris_r

Well-known member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

> {quote:title=John W wrote:}{quote}
> On the one hand you have huge need for new prepress people. The technical schools even advertise 100% placement rate for graduates.

i have been doing electronic prepress for 15 years now, and almost all of the best operators i know and have worked with did not go to any type of technical school or have any out-of-shop training whatsoever, they know printing. this is not a slam to people who have gotten the degrees and certificates, i just have found it easier to teach printing-saavy people our electronic workflow than electronic-saavy people printing. work ethic, people skills and a thirst to learn are the traits i think are most useful, and for the most part, those are the people who are left standing from the great stripper purge of the 1990's. the problem now is, there arent many strippers left in the pool to recruit from, so more companies are going to the outside to find qualified people with degrees and so forth.

cr
 

mtnman

Member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

I've been in prepress for 30 years and have a college degree in Graphic Arts, Print Production. It's the best of both worlds when you have education and experience.

Head pressmen here make more than prepress people but we are on par with second pressmen and well above feeders.
 

chris_r

Well-known member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

> {quote:title=mtnman wrote:}{quote}
> I've been in prepress for 30 years and have a college degree in Graphic Arts, Print Production. It's the best of both worlds when you have education and experience.


no argument there...anyone who is willing to take the time and effort to go to school can only help their own cause.

cr
 

John W

Well-known member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

I agree with your point but times have changed.
Unless you have a university degree, the perception is that you cannot handle the arithmetic, the dedication required, the continuous study and constant upgrading of skill set. IMO, this is quite bogus but it is what it is.

Of course when that university degree individual comes to work for you, their expectation is that:

1. You'll be totally up-to-date all the time
2. You'll use all kinds of automation that works
3. You'll pay 40-50G's to start and up from there
4. You'll understand if they don't arrive on time
5. You'll pay to train continuously (maybe true)

John
 

chris_r

Well-known member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

that is really what i was getting at. what i see every day is that a large percent of prepress (at least in my shop) is knowing procedures, press specifications, dealing with CSR's and customers, ability to troubleshoot in a pressure situation, and willingness to put out the effort. the smaller percentage, but not the least important by any means, is the actual technical know-how of how to rip apart and troubleshoot pdf, or know quark and indesign or photoshop inside out.

id rather start with the larger percentage, and develop the smaller percentage than the other way round.

cr
 

Lammy

Well-known member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

Finding a good pressman is like finding gold. I often tell the owners to ours whatever they want if they ever threaten to leave. If you think there's pressure in your prepress now wait until you've got a really bad pressman.

Unless your a union shop with set rules about who gets paid what, you make your own deal when you come in the door. You don't like it, force a new one of go out and find another.

As for who SHOULD make more, I'd say it's even. Lead pressman and lead operator are on the same level with different skill sets.

__________________
Lammy

EPP Manager • Brass City Printery
OSX 10.4.10 • RAMpage 9.4 • Dynastrip 4.2
EFI Colorproof XF • Avantra 30 • Epson 7600
 

stargate

Well-known member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

In my place prepress makes more money. Why?

It's simple. Just answer the question -

- what did pressman had to learn in the last 6 months to do his job?

- what did poor prepress guy/gal had to learn to do his/her job?

The times the you learn to use a razor blade and ruler are gone. In prepress we constantly have to learn new software/hardware. it's just never ever ends.
 
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

Prepress should and will in the future.
Lot more stress and a lot more to juggle.

So many files, things to look for, etc. etc. etc. etc.
Issues to fix (glad most designers suck at press like thinking...keeps me a job)

As far as school....hmmmm.
Never liked it....
Skool of Hard-Knocks baby. The real way to learn.
But, school can help. I do agree...Adobe classes and things like that.
I would not take someone with 4 years college over 4 years Real World Exp.
Not that could proof themselves....no way.

Also, Prepress has merged with many more things.
Digital printing, copy center, large format, etc.
 

disbellj

Well-known member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

stargate has said correctly that Prepress has to constantly learn just to keep up with ever-changing technology and new ways to do the same things with more precision and better results. This is why an experienced prepress person should make at least what an experienced pressman makes.

Don
 
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

even though pre-press does present a need to continued education of it´s personnel, pressroom also has it´s needs. the stress levels in the press room are huge, regardless of the quality of the prep work (in this i add environmental stress in the form of noise, heat, vibrating frequencies and all that), and also, as someone posted in the lounge, pressroom also carries a greater danger to people. i know i´ve heard quite a efw tales of how people in the pressroom lost fingers, arms, and in one case, even the guys life was taken. that kind of hazard is not found in prep. sure you can end up with some nasty cuts (i have one myself), and work-related ailments, but it´s a lot harder to lose some bodypart in front of the computer than it is to lose one in a huge 12plater.

of course a good and experienced pressman is less likely to get involved in such an accident but the potential is there, and that alone grants him - imho - some bigger pay, though still in fair grounds.
 

chris_r

Well-known member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

i think both sides make a valid argument, which is why i say a talented press operator and a talented prepress operator should be mentioned in the same breath regarding pay, they BOTH are necessary and vital to the successful run of a job. neither are more important than the other, becasue they both rely heavily on each other. both are needed for a company to succeed, and it doesnt matter how perfectly a job is set up in prepress, if you have a hack running the press, its gonna look crappy. on the other hand, you could have houdini running the press and if you have a lousy prep department and are being fed impossible to work with proofs and plates, it's not goiing to be pretty.

i have no problem with quality press guys getting real good money.

cr
 

vniehaus

Well-known member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

I've got about 15 years in the printing industry having started when I was 14 working during school breaks and then full time in 1992. I've got about the same amount of time put in prepress as I do press. Once or twice over the years I've ventured out in hopes of finding something better than my home town job. blah blah blah.

Never even got a call back for prepress jobs but press jobs are easy to get. Especially helper's and from what I'm used to being paid as an operator in my home town a helper makes in the city. So I've never worked in another shop as a prepress operator or helper. Only as a press helper. Although I'm capapable of getting the work out as a prepress tech. My experience has only been as a one man department in prepress. I can sit down in front of any OS and be comfortable. I type fast even with 9 fingers.

No offense guys but it's been my feeling from prepress people, while I was working in shops in the pressroom, that they feel they are on this higher plain than the shop monkey's. A few were alright but most had me glad that I was working in the press room when deep down I wanted to be in prepress because that's is where the true quality control is at I belieive. Plus I enjoy the power of a keyboard. But not if I got to be around that kind of attitude those prepress people had. Pressmen work hard and they catch hell for a lot of things that is prepress's doing in the first place. I understand also about having to deal with a stubborn customer and having to fix things for them.

The skill set's are the same period. It just depend's on the individual how far you want to go. If pressmen get paid more it's largely because they have to get their hand's dirty and most people don't want that.
 

G_Town

Well-known member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

That's gotta be the first time I've heard that pressman get blamed for prepress errors. It's been my experience that it's the other way around

"i Can't match color because these plates aren't right" type of statement and typically managment coming from press background more often than not believe it.

Whole lot of finger pointing going on on both sides. I have been through the drill so many times my ass hurts thinking about it.

"Can't get color" Check plates/plates OK Check Processor/processor OK Check file/File OK Tell Managment/owner everything checks out (usually didn't have to as they were watching the whole time).

Pressman dissapear back into the pressroom never to be heard from again.

People (and I aint saying pressman only) need to check their sh*t before they raise the alarm.

Sorry this is a touchy subject for me. :(

p.s. I prefer to work TOGETHER with the pressroom as it makes everyones life so much easier, unfortunately that isn't always so simple a task as I've seen horses a@@ on both sides of the plate.
 

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