Postcards are perfect marketing tools for reaching your customers in a personal and focused manner while staying cost effective within the means of your marketing budget. They’re fantastic for publicizing discounts and reaching audiences on a local and regional scale.
When it comes to printing postcards with commercial printers, there are several factors that most strongly influence the price. These key factors have varying degrees of influence on the end cost of print orders for customers, but simply taking a closer look at these factors can give customers a better understanding of why these job details affect pricing.
To help develop a stronger understanding of the various cost-affecting parts of a job, we’ve broken them out into a few categories, below, that will hopefully answer any questions customers may have about why their jobs are priced the way they are.
The most obvious cost-influencing factor is quantity. It seems logical that if you order more of something, the price will go up. This is often true, but in certain cases, adding a few more pieces to a job can make the price drop a little.
This is due to the way jobs are laid out on press sheets and how odd numbers of them are often more difficult or require special treatment and therefore more time to work.
For example, suppose you’re printing 450 two-sided 5.5” x 8.5” postcards and are trying to save money. Printing exactly 450 of them results in a price of $89.76. Simply adding 50 so you’re printing an even 500 results in a printing price of $75.90.
Why would the price go down $13.86 if you’re actually getting 50 more copies? This unexpected price drop is due to the fact that printing those 50 extra postcards results in an easier laying out process for our production team when they’re laying out the job on press sheets.
Printing 450 may result in our production team spending slightly more time trying to figure out another print job that we have in our press’ queue that can fit on the same press sheet so we can save paper and time by working on both at the same time.
Simply adding 50 copies actually decreases the price because it’s easier to have press sheets filled with just your job than it is to have to find other compatible press jobs that would fit alongside your 450 quantity job.
Since it doesn’t hurt to have a few extra, it’s highly advisable to stick to more nicely spaced intervals of quantity (50, 100, 250, 500, etc.) when printing so it saves you money and our production team some time.
The type of paper you choose to print on has a very heavy influence on the pricing of your print order. Most printers have a set of house stocks that they recommend using when you choose to print with them.
For Conquest Graphics, we have a “Conquest Preferred” stock that is the default option value when configuring your order on our product pages. Some of the default preferred stocks Conquest Graphics orders are a 100# gloss and velvet text, 80# gloss and velvet text, 100# gloss and velvet cover, 80# gloss and velvet cover and a 14pt C2S gloss cover. This is because we have a great majority of projects coming through our press that customers print on those stocks.
Since they are such popular paper types, we order them in bulk, and therefore they are the most economical for us to print on when it comes to printing daily. Because it’s more common, it’s also easier for us to print alongside other projects that require the same types of paper.
Choosing an irregular quantity and one of our non-preferred stocks for your paper will result in an exponentially higher price since it’s harder for us to pair with other jobs when laying out our press sheets to print alongside other projects.
Some types of paper require for us to specially order them since they’re rarely used. If we have to special order a stock, it will cost us a little more which translates to the final cost of the job for the customer.
There may also be additional time required for the special order stock to reach us for us to begin printing on it, so if you need to print on a special stock, you should be prepared for higher prices and longer turnaround times.
If you have questions on how you can change your projects paper type to save you more money, feel free to reach out to our customer service team via email or phone at (800) 707-9903.
Depending on how quickly you need your order of print, there will be varying prices associated with different turnaround times. Generally speaking, the sooner you need your order, the steeper the price will be.
This is due to the various benefits associated with longer turnaround times for commercial printers. If you allow a commercial printer a turnaround time of 6 days, they will have more time to receive similar jobs that they can print alongside yours on the press sheets before cutting and folding, therefore saving themselves paper, time and resources on both of the print orders.
Some of Conquest Graphics’ products are “Quick-Ship” products, meaning they have a turnaround time of just one day. This is usually because they’re smaller items that can be printed in bulk more easily on our digital press.
If a project needs the offset press to print larger quantities or on specific types of stock, there will generally be a longer turnaround time associated with the job.
Just like ordering anything else online, it costs more to get it to you more quickly.
When it comes to matching colors and getting projects to more perfectly match their digital renderings, it can take special types of ink to get exactly the colors a customer wants.
For example, if a customer wants an exact color in their project, they may specify that they want to use a certain Pantone Matching System (or PMS) color value. Ordering special PMS colors of ink can become quite costly, so getting exactly that color for the customer can add a significant cost to their project.
Usually, only international brands or brands that are highly focused on maintaining consistency across all their printed media will have exact PMS requirements for their jobs.
In most cases, cyan, magenta, yellow and key (or black) or the CMYK color system is the best for rendering precise colors. Sticking to this color system in your jobs will result in significantly lower prices.
The size of your printed piece has a large impact on how a commercial printer ends up printing your project on press sheets, and in the end it determines how many your project will end up needing to be completed.
Generally speaking, the larger each individual piece ends up being, the more press sheets it will require, which roughly translates to higher costs associated with printing it.
Sticking with smaller sizes is the most economical choice to make when printing a project as it will allow for us to piece it together with other projects we’re working on that are similar sizes to fill a press sheet and save paper. For postcards, the standard sizes we offer are 4” x 6”, 4.25” x 6”, 5” x 7”, 5.5” x 8.5”, 6” x 9”, 6.25” x 9” (which is Every Door Direct Mail or EDDM eligible), and 6” x 11” (which is also EDDM eligible). You can also elect to use a custom size for your project, but that can become quite pricey depending on what that custom size is.
Sticking with the standard offered sizes your commercial printer offers is probably the best way to ensure you end up with a high quality print job that matches your expectations for what a postcard should look like. It will also keep the pricing reasonable for your project.
If a piece must be larger, the price will be slightly higher, so if you’re trying to save money on larger pieces, selecting a different paper type or quantity will be the biggest influences on your final cost.
Whether you choose to have your commercial printer mail your project or not also has an influence on the end price a customer will be asked to pay. The convenience of having your projects mail directly from your printer’s mail center can help expedite your project’s mail turnaround time.
Having your printer mail for you may seem like an unnecessary added cost, but often times, as is the case with Conquest Graphics, they will not charge you any more than what the postage would cost you already.
If you want to get your postcards in the mail faster and if you want to save yourself time and money trying to figure out the best way to mail your pieces, it can be better to elect to have your printer mail your project from their mail center.
Not every printer offers mailing since they don’t all have their own mail centers like Conquest Graphics, so be sure to ask before placing your postcard order whether or not they will be able to mail those to a list of your choosing.
When mailing with Conquest Graphics, all you have to worry about is uploading your mailing list on time and we’ll be sure to mail them when you want them to mail. For more information about mailing, check out our FAQ page for answers to any questions you might have.
So, how much does it cost to print postcards?
In the end, all of these factors combine to determine the printing costs of your project.
Postcards are often a highly cost-effective and time-effective choice for direct marketing. They have quick turnarounds since they don’t have complicating factors like folding and binding, so you can usually expect to have your finished prints back to you in a matter of two days or fewer (depending on shipping or mailing).
Depending on all the specifications outlined above, your project could cost anywhere between $20 and $2,000 and beyond. You can also save money having your commercial printer mail your postcard prints if they offer mailing as a service like Conquest Graphics.
Commercial printers are often invested heavily in their customers’ success, so contacting your printer and asking for ways to meet your budget and reach your marketing goals is always an option! Feel free to reach out to our customer service team via email or phone at (800) 707-9903 if you’d like to get started on reaching your marketing goals today.
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How Much Does it Cost to Print Postcards?
Postcards are highly effective direct marketing tools with which every marketer should be highly familiar. To get the best value on your postcard print orders, it's important to understand the various elements of your order that add significantly to the final cost. This blog takes a closer look at the pricing breakdown of your postcard orders and hopefully sheds light on the questions customers may have about their order's final price.
By Conquest Graphics