Questions and considerations to ask when specifying a print order

Print managers have a tricky job on their hands when it comes to getting everything spot on. One tiny mistake and the whole job can come tumbling down. However, get it all right and you’ll have some rather happy customers and a profitable business. To ensure you get those specs spot on every time we’ve come up with all of the questions to ask when estimating a print order.



  1.       What is the budget?

One of the most important print specification questions to ask your customer is how much money are they able to spend. Asking this first will ensure you are able to advise them better when it comes to the next few questions and considerations. For example, if a client only has a small budget then they aren’t going to be able to go for the most luxurious of papers. Make a note of their budget and find out if there is any wiggle room in what they can spend.


  1.       What is the delivery date?

Next up, you need to find out when the client is expecting their print order to be completed by. This is another one of the most important questions to ask before estimating a print order as it can make a big difference in the price. Fast track jobs are going to cost more and this may be difficult depending on the answer to question number one. Remember the rule of three when it comes to meeting clients’ expectations; they can only have two out of the three – quick turnaround, high quality or low price. It is impossible to meet all three demands.


  1.       What paper?

You may find that your client is looking for cheap and cheerful, in which case they probably won’t even have an answer for this question. However, it still needs to be asked. Some people may just say, “Whatever is cheapest,” or “Whatever looks best,” whereas others have a particular paper in mind. They may want FSC-certified paper in an effort to be more ‘green’ or they may be looking for something luxurious. Knowing what paper your customer wants will ensure your print estimate is right first time.



  1.       What finishing?

Does the client want a matte finish, a glossy finish, a silk finish or something else entirely? Ensure you have noted down their answer to this question before estimating their print order. As with the type of paper you may find that they want you to recommend whatever is cheapest or looks best, so make sure you advise based on their budget and timings.


  1.       Bespoke sizing and shapes

Some clients may be looking for something completely unique and this is where things can get interesting! One of the questions to ask before estimating a print order is whether they’re looking for anything bespoke or out of the ordinary. Someone who is looking for a leaf shaped brochure in a custom size may have to consider a bigger budget and/or a longer timeframe.



Once you have asked all of these print specification questions you should be ready to put together your estimation. In some cases the demands seem impossible and you may need to be politely honest to the client and let them know. However, as long as you have got all of these above questions answered you should be able to price up the project perfectly, and work out whether it is worth your time and effort!

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Category: PRINTERS
  • James Devine Posted 4 years ago

    Really good advice here, and it's very true that if you don't get the brief right you can end up out of pocket. I've learned this a few times in my career!

  • Emma Carney Posted 4 years ago

    Oh dear James! I hope that it wasn't too much!

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