Pre Press vs. Press salaries

vniehaus

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

That came out wrong. My respect for both. As I said I've never worked in another shop in prepress. But I've been blamed here as teh prepress guy. I had to learn how to have a tough skin in prepress especially doing design work. Every little thing you do wrong get's noticed.

Anyway our pressman quit recently right after we bought our first sheetfed. I guess because he thought he should be making more money but after calling in sick for a week repeatedly how he thought that I don't know.

So now I am the prepress and the pressman. Press work most of the day and prepress the rest because I can do that alone. We have to have somebody here with us to operate the press.

Our pressman quit not long after we bought our first sheetfed. My operator experience has been on our half web. My boss and I were able to move on and we have decided not to hire another pressman and I kinda like it this way besides having to clean up after this guy. I hope the best for him.

Small shops low pay but you get to experience both sides of the fence. When I have a pressman point a finger at me in my shop I either apologize or fix it myself depends on the finger pointing. I know what you mean and I'm sure your a better prepress dude than I and for that I am envious.
 
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

I think it can really go either way. I've trained a lot of people and fixed a lot of problems in a lot pre-press departments. Based on that, I suspect the trend in most shops of substantial size is that pre-press is paid less than pressmen. Of course, if they had paid and hired decent prepress operators, I'd have never been in those places, so that's a consideration.

One idea that comes to mind is this series of questions.

Can your pre-press operator make suggestions to help solve a press-related problem on press, i.e., ink/water balance, mechanical, etc.?

vs.

Can your press operator make suggestions to help solve a pre-press related problem, i.e., server's down, file errors out, missing fonts, etc?

I'm not suggesting that one should be able to perform the others job, but a good pre-press operator knows a lot more than how to turn on a computer and play with PDFs. If that's all you want, fine, go ahead and pay $10/hour. But don't expect anyone to come and work that can actually troubleshoot the processes employed, any more than you'd expect a $10/hr pressman to successfully fix his press.
 

KevinH

Member
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

In our shop of 6 press operators and 3 prepress staff, the prepress people make $26.36 to $32.17 and press operators make 26.81 to $30.96. The mostly highly paid prepress person is a working supervisor and the most highly paid press operator is not. Our prepress people have to cover the entire range from desktop publishing to file checking to producing plates, and finding people skilled and willing to keep current across that range of activities is never easy.
 

Franknater

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

I'm going to chime in on this one:

Area, type of management and owner background along with the amount of years in business.

Area: I was looking to move to VA. It was nearly insulting as to the rate of pay for prepress, printing for that fact.

Management/owner background: If they know press, you can bet the pressman will be paid slightly higher. If it is a front end, prepress/estimating/office background, both will be paid close, sheet fed the same, web press, higher.

Years in business: If the company started prior to 1989, there's a good chance prepress operators will have respect and paid high because of the working knowledge of printing/press/bindery functions and know the difference between W/T W/R and Perfecting without detailed explation.

Some of the larger companies purchased extremely high dollar prepress equipment that was mainly used for color.

Some, like me, got their hands dirty and went to see what is involved with the operation of the press, bindery, etc. (Printing for 35 yrs).

Now, the biggest problem is seeing the fine print on the monitor. LOL
 

G_Town

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

One of the first things I do when the pressman brings a sheet to the department (don't we all love that scene) is to grab my lighted beta viewer and take a look at how they are printing.

More often then not I can tell them what's wrong ie..doubling slurring, emulsification etc...

Hmmm maybe they should buy one.
 

Franknater

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

Danville. Even going to NC, it wasn't going to be much better. I'm in the Dallas/Ft Worth area
 

Franknater

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

Supply and demand is only part of the story. It also must take into account what one will settle for and area does make some sense, but in the US of A that drastic of a difference?

Just out of curiosity, I did search and of course, "overqualified". HA!

Norfolk, VA Mac Prepress 11.00
Dallas, TX 26.00-30.00

I also saw small press operators making less than 10.00. Hell, I ran a press back in 1978 making 9.00!

How bad do you want the job? What will you settle for? That's a big factor. Employers know if they can drop the pay will keep a downward trend.

How long they can keep the employee before they begin to look is another question.
 
Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

Wow...glad to see our tax dollars (or NV) well spent.
You prob. got full state bennys w/ retirement too.

I guess the Cost of Living must be So high 'cause of the gambling??
Thats sad because most people have to work twice as hard for half the pay...
 

G_Town

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

Ahhh,

Well I'm more toward the Richmond/Williamsburg area and from what I've seen and heard theres a heck of a lot more jobs down here then from where I came from (MI). Which maybe isn't saying much since you could actually hear the sucking sound as all the printing jobs leaving MI.
 

vniehaus

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

I live in the Ozarks of Arkansas. My rent is 400 dollars a month for a 2 bedroom 1 bath house that sits on about 3 acres in the middle of town. I live probably 2 miles from work and traffic is never an issue except for tourist season and even then you just take the side streets to work.

My salary is about what a experienced press helper makes in the city. I do good. Oh yeah crime isn't a problem at all. You do have to drive 30 miles for a pair of levi's and 40 miles for some beer.

These hills are my home and I had to learn that the hard way by moving to the city for a year D/FW. Man what a culture shock that was. Not worth the money to me. But the shop I worked at was top notch. Those guys can print.
 

UncleDave

Member
PrintPlaneteers map on frapper :was Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

PrintPlaneteers map on frapper :was Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

> {quote:title=G_Town wrote:}{quote}
> Where abouts in VA?

FWIW:
The PrintPlaneteers Map at www.frappr.com/printplaneteers lets you see where your friends work, who lives in the town or country that you will be visiting. Add your map pin today!

I like seeing members photo's popping up all over the world. And the scroll of their photo's at the bottom of the map.

I set the beast up some time ago and forgot about it.
Boy how it has grown!

Best,
Uncle Dave
 

disbellj

Well-known member
Re: PrintPlaneteers map on frapper :was Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

Re: PrintPlaneteers map on frapper :was Re: Pre Press vs. Press salaries

Uncle Dave, finally added my photo. Look for me in Memphis. :)

Don
 

Lukas Engqvist

Well-known member
To keep ontop of prepress requires much more than keeping ontop of a press. I find it that we on prepress have to be very firm with press operators... this is unfortunately not showing in saleries. If the prepress is done right the press job is less. The press operators and customers both demand more on the prepress.
 

oxburger

Well-known member
I work in prepress and I think that pressmen may have it as hard as us when keeping up with technology. We run 6 color presses with computer based inking systems that they have updates to those all the time. You also have to look at all the other stuff they have to keep on top of. New inks, chemistry, government regulations on waste disposal, plate technology (for which I'm sure prepress is cursed out about on a daily basis), paper, etc. It's ever evolving just like prepress. I think no matter what department you're in, the old adage holds true, as soon as you master learning something, they change it or come out with a new "improved" version.....

You should be paid on your skill level and based on your local economy. Sure it would be great to make $40 bucks an hour, but not if you have to live in California and pay a $2500 mortgage.
 

DFagan

Member
15 years ago I would not have argued about press operators making more money but with today's technology, presses almost run themselves. (could you tell I'm a pre-press guy?) Pre-press ops have at least a dozen programs they have to KNOW in order to do the job. Then add in print options (W/T, W/F, Perfect...) color profiles, plate making, bindery (will the job run better on the folder if I put it this way or this way?) and now it doesn't look like the press guys do much.

On the flip side of this... An experienced press operator can "fix" a lot of things that were either missed by pre-press or to costly to repair and make new plates.

IMHO press and pre-press operators should be paid based on their abilities. What kind of blows about this is geographic area. Here in North East WI (Green Bay/Fox Cities) pre-press makes from $12 - $25 and press ops are $15 - 30. But after reading some of these posts, I'm not sure I would want to move anywhere else and try to stay in printing.
 

gordo

Well-known member
RE: www.frappr.com

RE: www.frappr.com

RE: Uncle Dave wrote: "The PrintPlaneteers Map at www.frappr.com/printplaneteers lets you see where your friends work, who lives in the town or country that you will be visiting. Add your map pin today!"

The site seems to have a permanent malfuction (i.e. "Image Unavailable"):


best, gordo
 

RickC

New member
You could not have explained it better.
I am in NY-Westchester 6 color 74 @ $35
About to relocate to NC
Best offer = $18
Location, Location..
 

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Automatically Autonomous Automation
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