Printing business cards is expensive. A few years ago I got pretty excited about printing services on the internet because it seemed such a perfect way to find deals on all kinds of printing services. Some internet printers have ventured into the business card market and done fairly well, but it’s still easy to spend over $100 to set up a new employee with high-quality business cards. And the price goes up dramatically the faster you need the cards.
The reason these companies have had some degree of success with business cards (a product that many local print shops shy away from) is that they can do extremely large quantities at once with orders coming in from all over the country. With local shops the cost of running individual business card orders was not worth the profit.
The main concern that I have about internet printers is inconsistent quality and service. Many do not guarantee the quality on business cards, and the paper and image clarity have varied wildly in the few times that I have seen business cards ordered from the same sites at different times. One of my orders came so poorly done (by comparison to a previous order with the same specs) that I tried to call and email the company to see if they would do anything about it. After several emails and phone messages, they responded that they could not always get the same paper or print quality and that was just the way it is with business cards. I had paid $130 for 2 day turnaround on 1000 cards that I had created the Illustrator files for myself.
From what I have heard and read in forums, I am not the only one disappointed by the once-promising internet printers. I’m reminded of how friendly and easy to work with the local printers are on other projects.
So my new stance (or hope) is that local print shops look at the newer models of business card slitters and offer them at prices comparable to the internet guys. I’m talking specifically about catering to the frequent, small runs for local companies that need business cards. Nothing fancy – just plain white, one color cards on 16pt. paper with clean, even edges and consistent quality. It could be done well with the new business card slitters available. I think it would satisfy customers who usually only go local for envelopes or letterhead to be able to tack on business card orders at a discount.
There are a few inexpensive business card slitters out there that could probably produce the same quality that I’ve seen on some of the good results from internet printers. But, for a little more money initially, it’s worth it to look at a higher quality cutter that will last and end up saving money and hassle. I’d recommend RB Sun Enterprises – they only make business card slitters, and they have a reputation for durable, low-maintenance machines.
The RB Sun Enteprises HS-2000-B Handi Slitter is a 4 up desktop model slitter that you can get for $1400 online. It can produce up to 600 cards a minute from 8-1/2″ x 11″ stock. Printers that do even the occasional business card run could make money with this model.
RB Sun Enterprises also offers the slightly less expensive HS-2000-M 12 up slitter. For about $1200, the HS-2000M is a manual slitter that will also work for printers who don’t specialize in business cards but still want to offer them to customers.