Negotiate printing when starting a project

Category: General

Many times printers will negotiate print costs on large construction jobs. This means as you start working, part of what you need to think about is can you possibly cut print costs by forcing all involved parties to use the same printer? The answer to that can be found in how large government jobs are put out for bids.


Many times government is not the ideal when it comes to structuring a job or doing work. It is normally slow and cumbersome, but in many cases what they do is very smart. This includes printing architectural and wide format prints. Many times they will not only put the job out for bid, but often they will put the print portion of the job out for bid separately. What this means is that all parties involved with every element of the building process are getting their architectural and wide format color prints from the same wide format print shop.

What this allows you to do is to not only lower your own cost, but also lower the cost of any sub-contractor you may have to use during the job. By pre-negotiating a rate based on expected volume, you can often lower blueprint costs by as much as 40%. If you know that over the next 6 months, you will need 200,000 sq ft of prints needed, that is something that most printers will discuss with you. Even if it means that you are printing it over a period of time, or on-demand printing as you need them.

How many printers will structure this is based on volume to be done. So an example would be, you pre-negotiate 200,000 sq ft of printing architectural over 6 months. For arguments sake, let’s say your local wide format printer charges 30 cents per square foot when printing low quantities. They might have price breaks at different volumes, so a break at 50,000 sq ft and another at 100,000. The price would go down to 25 cents for 50,000 and 20 cents for 100,000 and 18 cents at 200,000. Since all print shops can track how much they have printed for you, it is easy for you to negotiate this.

How the formula would then work is simple. You negotiate that for this project you will print 200,000 sq ft. Which you will be getting at 18 cents, this means the total estimated wide format print cost for the project will be $36,000. If you only hit 100,000 sq ft, the printer will often reserve the right to back bill the printing already done at a higher rate. This means you would then get a final bill for $4000. If on the other hand, you choose to print all your prints on demand and paying the full rate for each person or subcontractor needing prints done, the total print costs can end up being as high as $60,000 for 200,000 sq ft or $30,000 for 100,000 rather than $25,000. On very large scale wide format print jobs, pre-negotiating a rate for everyone involved with the project can be large cost saver. The beauty of it being that it’s often done with a single email or single phone call. So the next time you have a large number of architectural prints that need to be done, why not call the printer before you put the job out for bid and see what pricing you could get for your contractors?