There are many products that smaller print shops like mine can’t do in-house.  Things like folders, laminated tabs, mass quantities of lamination, etc.  The equipment cost is too high and the space needed is often prohibitive as well for us to do them here.  As a result, we farm out many of those type of jobs to trade-only vendors. These are a bunch of companies that only deal with print shops and sell us their goods at a rate low enough to allow us to resell them to the customers and at least make a small amount.

Well somewhere back in the past the industry standard for jobs from vendors like this became known as +/- 10%.  What that means is that if you were to order say 1000 pocket folders, they could deliver to you as few as 900 or as many as 1100, bill you for whatever quantity is actually delivered, and consider the job ‘complete’. Yeah, I agree, that is bullshit.

In the 25 years I have been doing this I have received less than 5 orders that weren’t over.  And EVERY order that is over is at the full 10% over.  Now I get that you need to make extra pieces if you will be doing something to it in finishing.  You print extra folders because you have to cut, fold and glue them to shape and you need to allow for any damaged ones, set-up, etc.  Well, that should be figured into the price upfront.  It isn’t hard to do.  The computer program I use for estimating has that feature.  If I enter a job for 1000 brochures and it has folding in it , it adds 25 pieces for set up.  That is the price we quote.  With the digital machines of today it should be pretty easy to stop your machine within 1 or 2 pieces of the desired quantity.

Considering how it is almost always 10% over (not 3% over or 2% under), I wonder if there is any kind of fraud going on here.  Deceptive sales practices?  If there was an enterprising young lawyer out there looking for a name, maybe he can find out in discovery that when someone orders 1000, they set their machines for 1200, KNOWING that they will ship and bill 1100 and have the other 100 for set up.  A pattern of always delivering the extra 10% could be price fixing?  Has to be something wrong here.  Especially because when you complain before hand and say that you won’t accept overs, then the price is suddenly 10% higher…




3 thoughts on “Over/unders

  1. Here’s what you are missing. Being that ALL machines “F-up” … whether they are Heidelbergs or Toyotas… Its not a matter of shutting off the machine at “1000”… Its accounting for the pieces that are NOT 100% perfect and/or the “Offline” work that has to be done..ie…gluing, cutting, folding, collating that is done by machine. Its more economical to “Overrun” these jobs (sometimes at 25%) if the “offline” work is difficult, than setting up on the press for a second time due to “mistakes” that occur in the “assembly” offline process…. with the overrun, the “Bad” pieces can be discarded and the “over-run” pieces can be used therby negating a second setup and run to get to the 1000 pieces. Also, as a printer, if you have a Mailing for 1000 addressed pieces and you receive an under-run or even the 1000 pieces and YOU screwwup…Them you are VERY happy you have an over-run….


    1. I get it Mike. However, shouldn’t that be figured into the price? Problem is if only a handful do that they will appear higher than their competition. I take into account 10% or more when folding, depending on the stock used, and price it out upfront. If I have extras they get them, because it was already figured in as waste, which they paid for. It would be a more accurate price. You get it, I get it, trying to explain it to customers is always a real fun time.

      Liked by 1 person

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