Picking Printing Services: Self-Service vs. Full-Service Printing

Here's what small business owners need to consider when it comes to choosing printing services.

Printing services

Many standard printing services are offered in self-service and full-service varieties — yet both options are unique when it comes to the benefits they offer.

If you're a solopreneur, or employ a modest workforce, understanding which service most closely aligns with your small business's needs will better equip you to pick the choice that's right for you.

Self-Service Printing Is Usually Faster

Shaving time off an important task without compromising quality can free up precious hours in your busy schedule. Self-service printing services do just that by letting you order printed materials online, from the comfort of your own home or office. Once the printing has been completed, you can then pick up the finished product at a time that best fits your schedule. If you're really time-strapped, you can even arrange for delivery.

Turnaround time for self-service printing is fast. In some cases, if you choose a self-serve printing service for brochures, posters or banners, and place an order by early afternoon, you'll be able to pick it up in-store that same day.

Yet there's one form of self-service that's usually slower than full-service, and that's when it comes to making multiple prints or photocopies. Heading into a store to make thousands of copies of a page or to photocopy a large digital document is a lot of work and can take a long time. Placing a large print order online and picking it up from your local store when you're ready is a better approach. The job will be completed by a trained staff member, saving you time and headaches.

You Need an Online Account for Self-Service Printing

To order printing services online, you'll first need to set up an account and include personal and business information. If you plan on getting your order delivered, you'll also have to include payment information such as your credit card number. Not everyone wants to share this information online, so spend time considering your options and do your due diligence before placing any orders.

Your online account is where you'll be able to update the images, icons and text to include in your customized printing projects. One big benefit of self-service custom printing is that all of your multimedia files are collected and saved in your online account for easy access.

Full-Service Printing Comes With Expert Help

The key to self-serve anything is that you're on your own, whether it's at the gas station, the grocery store or the copy shop. You can, of course, call a toll-free number for help if you're in a bind.

When you go to a store, you can get personal, expert help with whatever you want printed, whether it's a stack of new product brochures or simply a few posters to hang around your store. Printing experts may have suggestions that you hadn't even thought of. This is especially helpful if you don't have a background in graphics or design and you're unsure how to improve the look of your project.

Choosing the best printing services for your business depends on your design background, comfort level with technology, available time and the project itself. If you're comfortable with technology and know exactly what you want, you can save time by ordering what you need online — but if you're new to designing and printing marketing materials, look to full-service printing to produce the best materials for your business.