Print estimating software is a specialized form of print-business software. It uses data from your day-to-day print-shop operations to quickly calculate and deliver accurate price quotes for different types and sizes of print jobs.
Print estimating software is particularly valuable in shops that use a mix of printing and finishing processes to handle a high volume of fast-turnaround jobs. The software can calculate price quotes in a fraction of the time it would take a human estimator or customer-service representative to do it.
Setting up print-estimating software does require some time and effort to gather and update all of the relevant cost data. For instance, the software needs to know your current costs for materials, prepress tasks, equipment operation, labor, shipping, and overhead.
To make money on each job, you can use a standard cost-plus pricing formula or set up a customized pricing model that takes into account some of the added value your company provides.
Here are several reasons why print-estimating software can be the cornerstone of your printing business:
It can help your print business stay competitive in a marketplace in which customers expect rapid responses to all requests for information.
It can reduce the risk of losing money on print jobs. If the estimating software is set up and maintained correctly, you won’t overlook any relevant costs when you prepare each quote.
It can provide greater consistency in pricing. If two different employees from the same company request quotes for similar jobs a few weeks apart, the second employee won’t receive a radically different price from the quote provided to the first employee.
It can provide flexibility in pricing to accommodate your best customers.
Some print-estimating software enables you to provide discounts to selected customers.Or, you can set up custom price structures to accommodate the costs of value-added services you have agreed to provide as part of a contracted program for printing and project management.
It can scale up as your business grows.
A highly customizable, cloud-based print estimating program such as Ordant makes it easy to incorporate the cost data related to creation and sale of new types of products. Ordant understands that many companies today use a combination of different printing and finishing equipment to produce a mix of products such as marketing collateral, signs, packages, promotional products, photos, and T-shirts.
It empowers more of your employees to provide estimates.
With the right print estimating software, you don’t have to rely on one or two employees who are designated as estimators. With an easy-to-use program, any of your customer service representatives can provide quotes.
You can provide estimates during sales calls.
If you are visiting a customer to talk more about the types of services your print shop provides, you can immediately give them estimates about different types of projects they might be considering. With a cloud-based system such as Ordant, you can create the estimate on your smartphone or tablet.
It can provide useful insights.
Setting up a print estimating program requires you to examine the costs related to every step of your production processes. You may find ways to improve efficiencies or reduce costs so your prices can stay competitive with other printing companies in your area. Over time, you will be able to see what customers and jobs are the most profitable and least profitable. This information can help you guide the future direction of your print business.
How the Customer Sees It
When a new customer quickly receives a professional-looking quote from your company, it makes a big impression. It suggests that you are operating a well-managed shop equipped with the latest devices. If the customer is planning a big multi-media marketing campaign that will require timely delivery and flawless execution, the professionalism and speed of your automated quoting process can help influence their decision.
Print estimating software such as Ordant can be integrated into web-to-print systems that empower customers to calculate their own estimates and place orders online.
Before placing the order, customers can see for themselves what the price difference would be if they increased the number of pieces ordered, modified the size of the printed piece, of selected a more budget-friendly material for producing the job.
Benefits to Your Employees
Experienced professionals may still be required to produce estimates for major projects or complex print jobs. But if 80-percent of your estimates can be calculated with your print estimating software, your key employees can focus more of their attention on the biggest, most complex jobs.
You customer-service representatives can focus more attention on solving bigger issues if they aren’t continually interrupted with pricing-related questions.
Some print estimating software is complicated and inflexible. Many programs are designed more for financial analysts than shop-floor employees.
Users of Ordant print estimating and order management software rave about its ease of use and flexibility. For a demonstration, visit http://ordant.com/print-estimating-software/