Tangible, printed business cards are still such an important part of sales and marketing efforts for all industries. They provide you with an effective direct marketing tool, they add professionalism to your brand’s image, they’re a physical reminder of your brand, and they are kept for long periods of time.
However, how much do business cards cost and are they worth it for your specific budget?
In short, business cards are extremely cost-effective, and are worth it for even the smallest budget. But let’s look at the many factors that influence the end cost of just 500 business cards (and a few other quantities) so you can get an idea of how much you could be spending and how you can keep business card costs low.
Paper – How Do You Want Your Business Cards to Feel?
When it comes to business cards, durability is incredibly important since they are handed out and kept for long periods of time. Because of this, thick paper like 14pt or 18pt cover stock is recommended for business cards to protect them from tearing or creasing.
While these thicker paper weights are more expensive than say an 80# text weight paper, they will ensure that your business cards are durable enough to be handled by customers and prospects.
14pt is the most popular and cheapest paper used for business cards. 18pt cover paper will increase the cost of your business card anywhere from $8-$20 but it will be slightly thicker than 14pt cover which will increase the durability of your business cards.
Some printers also offer other options including plastic or acrylic business cards, as well as other specialty papers as a custom option. Materials like these will cost more than choosing your printer’s standard business card options or house stocks like “Conquest Preferred Paper.” This is because the material itself may cost more than say a 14pt cover stock, or they may not be as common, and your printer may not have them on hand, resulting in having to special order them.
Different Business Card Quantities
The more business cards you order, the higher the overall cost will be. However, as you increase the quantity of your business cards, there are discounts applied to the price per business card.
For example, for 250 business cards the cost per business card is around $0.11-$0.20, for 500 business cards it’s around $0.06-$0.10 per business card, and for 1,000 business cards the cost is around $0.05 for each business card.
Because the price per business card drops as you increase the quantity, it’s important to consider how many business cards you may need from the time you order them to a year or 2 down the road, so you can save money by taking advantage of bulk order discounts which is much cheaper than ordering smaller quantities multiple times.
Turnaround Time – When Do You Need Your Business Cards?
Turnaround time is the time it takes to print your business cards. If you choose a 1-day turnaround time, your business cards would be printed within the period of one business day and then would be ready to pick up or ship to you.
The faster you need your business cards, the more expensive it will cost. This is because when you give your printer say 3 days vs 1 day to print your business cards, you give them more time to find similar jobs that they can print alongside your business cards which saves them a lot of paper and time.
At Conquest Graphics, our business cards are a Quick Ship product, meaning depending on the quantity, and a few other factors, your business cards will automatically be printed within 1 business day at no extra charge. The average business card order of 500 to 2,500 business cards, through Conquest Graphics, are eligible for Quick Ship.
However, for most printing companies, choosing a 1-day turnaround for any quantity will be more expensive than choosing a 2 or 3-day turnaround.
Coatings & How They Influence Business Card Costs
Coatings have a huge impact on the end cost of business cards. There are also multiple options when it comes to adding coating to your business cards, including UV coatings on one side or both sides, as well as spot coating on one side or both sides of your business cards.
Spot coating (commonly glossy) is applied only on certain parts of your business card design. This creates a stunning look where certain elements like text, images, or specific design elements are shinier than the rest of your business card. Spot coating will increase the cost of business cards. For example, if you were looking to print 500 business cards and wanted spot coating applied to the front side of your cards, the cost could increase around $20.
Other coating options including UV gloss coating is applied to the entire front, back, or both sides of the business card. While UV coatings do increase the cost of business cards, adding a UV coating to at least one side of your business card will maximize its durability. When adding a UV coating to just one side of 500 business cards, the cost increases around $21.
Ink & Its Impact on The Cost of Business Cards
Some business cards have designs on the front and back and some only have designs and information printed on the front with the back side blank.
Printing on just the front side of your business card will be cheaper than printing on both sides. This is because printing elements on the front and back side of a business card will require more ink resulting in a higher price. However, having information and design elements printed on the front and back side of your business cards isn’t as expensive as you may think.
For example, if you were printing 500 business cards and decided to add a back design to your card, it would only increase the overall price by around $9.
Adding metallic inks to your business card design, including gold and silver elements, is popular when it comes to business card printing. While metallic inks are an impactful addition to any business card and help your brand stand out, they are more expensive. For instance, if you were ordering 250 business cards and wanted the front of each card to have metallic elements, the price would increase by around $50. If you wanted to use metallic inks on both sides of your business card, the price would increase by around $65.
Size – How Large or Small Do You Want Your Business Cards?
The standard business card size is 3.5” x 2”, however, some printers offer smaller business card sizes on their website or as a custom option. The smaller the business card, the less paper it will use, which typically translates to lower costs.
Larger business cards aren’t ideal for every business as it can be difficult for prospects and customers to store them in their wallets and elsewhere. If larger business cards make sense for your business, then it’s important to keep in mind that the larger the business card is, the higher the price will be.
For the standard 3.5” x 2” business card size, when ordering 500 custom business cards, the average cost per business card is around $0.06-$0.24.
The Design of Your Business Card
Designing your business cards in-house will be the cheapest option. If you don’t have much or any experience, there are some websites, like Canva, where you can choose from a variety of free designs that are customizable. If you’re looking for a professional and completely unique business card design, you may need to seek professional design help from a graphic designer.
The cost of taking advantage of a graphic designer varies and could increase the cost of your custom business cards anywhere from $25-$1,000 and beyond. If you’re looking to save money by designing your business cards yourself, make sure to ask your printer about their free business card design templates. These templates will help you get your business cards ready for print and will save you money in the long run by helping you avoid any errors.
Die-Cutting – What Shape do You Want Your Business Cards?
Die-cut business cards are great additions as they add a unique and custom component to your brand.
With die cutting, you can virtually create any shaped business card you would like. However, die-cut business cards will be more expensive than regular rectangle or square business cards and may require a custom quote, since they aren’t as common, and they will require your printer to make special cuts.
Typically, a business card with rounded corners will be more expensive than a business card with squared-off corners. And round corners will be cheaper than a custom-shaped business card. For example, if you were looking to create a circle, oval, cupcake, tree, or any other shaped business card, your printer will need to take extra time to specially cut each business card which will result in a higher cost.
What is The Average Cost of 500 Business Cards?
Some printers offer discounts on business cards like 50% off, 50 free business cards, or even free business card portals, where you and your team can access and order your business cards with a click of a button. Overall, however, when taking into consideration the above factors, as well as factoring in the different costs associated with different printers, the average cost of 500 business cards is around $20-$40.
However, depending on who you order your business cards form, the paper type, if you are looking for a special die-cut business card, ordering business cards with metallic ink or spot coating, etc., the cost could double in price and beyond.
Overall, business cards are affordable and effective business materials that are essential for all industries.
Whether you’re a small business, a nonprofit, a franchise, or just getting prepared for a trade show, craft show or another event, always make sure you and your team have enough business cards on hand.
To get started on ordering your business cards, head to our business card product page to check out our business card pricing calculator which can help you find out how much 250, 500, or 2,000 business cards could cost you. Also, if you’re looking for a different size or other option not listed on our business card page, don’t hesitate to contact us, we’d be happy to help get a quote started for you!
Get Started on Your Business Card Order