Whether for trade shows, direct mail, customer outreach, or other marketing, companies looking to utilize brochures, flyers, booklets, business cards, posters or other promotional items to help grow their business are faced with a common dilemma – outsourcing commercial printing vs. bringing commercial printing in-house. In-house commercial printing refers to the practice of producing printed materials and marketing collateral within a company’s own facilities, using their own equipment and resources. This is often done by businesses, organizations, or individuals who need to create printed materials regularly, such as for marketing or advertising purposes. On the other hand, outsourced commercial printing involves hiring a third-party company to produce your requested printed materials and marketing collateral.

Ultimately, the choice between in-house and outsourcing commercial printing will depend on the specific needs and goals of the business. By weighing the pros and cons of each option, businesses can make an informed decision that will help them achieve their printing goals and stay within budget.

in-house vs outsourced commercial printing

Considerations of Outsourcing Commercial Printing vs. In-House Commercial Printing

When deciding between whether it makes sense to outsource commercial printing vs. bringing commercial printing in-house, there are few top-of-mind factors to consider which include:

  1. Cost/Budget
  2. Types and Volume of Printed Materials
  3. Control/Flexibility
  4. Managing Printing + Expertise

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each type of commercial printing when it comes to these considerations.

1. Cost/Budget

Probably the most important factor for businesses when it comes to determining whether to outsource commercial printing is costs and budget. No matter the size of your business, every company has a budget they’re trying to stick to and ultimately, you want to save money where you can (without compromising quality of course). In order to be able to handle commercial printing in-house, you need access to a work-horse printing device that can handle those types of jobs. This requires purchasing or leasing the equipment, maintaining the equipment, and paying for materials and supplies.

Because of this, most organizations think right-of-the-bat that outsourcing commercial printing is more cost-effective. Third-party companies that specialize in commercial printing have already invested in the infrastructure and have access to specialized print devices and materials. However, costs of equipment, supplies, and materials have been rising over the last couple of years and businesses cannot afford to eat that cost. They need to pass the increase off to the customer in order to remain profitable.

So, with costs escalating, it’s important to weigh the costs of in-house versus outsourced commercial printing. Yes, the upfront costs in investing in a printer can be overwhelming, but the more materials you print, the more cost-savings you’ll see in the long-run. And with flexible purchase options, it can be more affordable to purchase an in-house printer than you think.

2. Types and Volume of Printed Materials

As mentioned in the above section, the more materials you print, the more money you can save with in-house commercial printing. Therefore, the volume at which you’re printing your materials and collateral is a big consideration when it comes to determining if bringing commercial printing in-house makes sense for your organization.

For example, on average, it will cost you less than $0.10 to print a full-color page on a high-quality printer. To print a full-color page from Staples, the cost is $0.69 – that’s about 7 times as expensive and that’s without any kind of specialty media or any kind of finishing like folding, stapling, or hole-punching. Now, if you’re only printing some flyers for a tradeshow every once and while, it may make sense to pay the premium price to outsource the printing. But if you are a real-estate company that prints brochures for open houses on a weekly basis, these outsourced printing costs can add up quickly, and it may make sense for you to bring this kind of printing in-house.

For print jobs such as brochures, booklets, presentations or flyers, these types of printed documents can all be printed in-house quite cost-effectively with a high-quality color copier for the workplace like the Xerox Altalink C8100 Color Series.

For printed materials and collateral that you print on a less frequent basis, like posters or custom-size materials, it may make sense to outsource those types of print jobs as the print equipment needed to handle those types of prints is more specialized and has a higher price tag. Now, if you are a marketing or design firm, such as a full-service marketing agency or graphic design company, that creates this type of collateral for your clients and you are utilizing specialty printing and die-cutting on regular basis, then investing in an-house specialty printer such as the Xerox PrimeLink color series may be a worthwhile investment.

3. Control/Flexibility

Another factor to consider when it comes to whether outsourcing commercial printing vs. bringing in-house makes sense for your business is control and flexibility. Outsourcing printing allows businesses to take on projects that may exceed their in-house capabilities or expertise. However, outsourcing printing can lead to longer turnaround times, particularly when working with companies located further away. With in-house printing, businesses have greater control over the printing process and can oversee every step of the process, and you are able to prioritize print jobs and have a faster turnaround time for projects.

4. Managing Printing and Expertise

Lastly, it’s important to consider if you have the resources within your company to manage in-house commercial printing. Not only does in-house printing require access to the right print equipment, but it also requires that you have personnel within your company that has some expertise in how to operate the equipment correctly and the ability to manage the printing technology and processes. For example, if your company already has a marketing department that designs all of your marketing materials and collateral, then you’re halfway there to being able to manage your marketing printing completely in-house. And since you already have the staff in place, it may make sense to look at your overall costs associated with outsourcing your print jobs and see if it makes sense to bring all of that in-house and have your marketing department manage printing in-house.

On the other hand, if you’re a smaller company without a marketing department or you’re already working with a trusted third-party design/marketing company to develop your marketing materials, then you may not be ready to take on that cost internally to hire additional staff to manage the printing process in-house.

Summing It All Up

When it comes down to it, there is no absolute answer to whether outsourcing commercial printing is better or worse than handling commercial printing in-house. Choosing between in-house vs. outsourced commercial printing requires careful consideration of several factors. While in-house printing can provide greater control, convenience, and cost savings for small to medium-sized print jobs, it may not have the capacity, expertise, or quality control measures in place for larger or more specialized printing needs. On the other hand, outsourcing commercial printing can provide access to specialized equipment and expertise, but may result in longer turnaround times, higher costs, and limited control over the printing process.

Ultimately, the best choice for a business or organization will depend on their specific printing needs and resources, and oftentimes a mix of in-house and outsourced printing may be the best solution. By carefully assessing your print needs, considering the pros and cons of both options, and selecting a trusted and reliable print specialist partner such as Parmetech, businesses can make the best choice for their printing needs and ensure they have the high-quality, professional printed materials they need to succeed.