By Ed Avis
Sometimes a new year can mean a new approach to business. Here are five ways to potentially increase your profits in 2017:
1) Bundle your services – Instead of selling prints by the square foot or even the sheet, try bundling your printing and document management services into one price. For example, rather than giving your client who is starting a new job a menu of prices, tell him you’ll handle all the documentation needs on the job – from file management to printing to archiving – for a flat fee. Why? Your client will appreciate knowing that expense up front, and you will be less likely to get “nickled and dimed” for every line item.
2) Charge for everything – Are there any services you’re providing for free that you could be charging for? If you’re barely breaking even on ridiculously low print prices, don’t give away your other services. You probably already charge a “first print” fee, but among other items you can charge for are quality control, binding, electronic storage, file downloads, delivery, etc. For the next two days write down everything you do, and see what from that list you can charge for. For a few more ideas, click here: http://www.apdsp.org/beyond-print:-how-smart-repro-firms-are-transforming/
3) Raise your prices – What? Are you nuts? The reprographics industry has suffered though such a price spiral since the 2000s that it might seem unnatural to raise prices. But other businesses do it all the time. Raising prices is a sign of success – it shows that you value your products and services and there is a demand for them. You might not be able to raise your prices across the board, but look at your menu of prices and see which might have a little flexibility.
4) Think like an airline – You know that if 10,000 people a day fly from Dallas to New York, they probably paid 10,000 different prices! Why? Because airlines are great at figuring out how much people are willing to pay and then adapting their prices to match. You can try the same thing. Do you have a rush charge? Then you already think like an airline in some cases – you know that if a client wants a job done in an hour, he’ll pay 50 percent more. Apply the same concept to other aspects – do you have a demanding client who wants her jobs prioritized every time? No problem – sell her the “Gold Level Package” that gets her jobs moved to the front of the line each time (for a 10 percent upcharge!). You can also try “congestion pricing,” which means you charge more when you’re extra busy – just like an airline charges more to fly from Chicago to Denver during ski season than during the summer. You don’t need to position the price difference as an increase; instead, raise your prices across the board but offer a discount during traditionally slow times. If someone complains about your price increase, tell him that if he delivers his work to you on Mondays instead of Thursdays (assuming Mondays are slower for you), he’ll get the old price.
5) Dig deeper – Make 2017 the year you expand your business by offering more services to your existing clients. And I’m not talking about some exotic printing service – instead look for things your clients do that you can help them with. Some reprographics shops are doing payroll for construction firms; others are handling the entire IT needs of AEC firms; some rent fully equipped trailers. There are lot of things your clients do that go beyond reprographics – see if you can’t increase your profit by taking those tasks off their plates.