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When we were looking for an outside printing vendor, we faxed out RFQs to
area vendors. We included the following in our package:
- overview of our corporation (to give them a feel for our size and
- overview of our documentation/training dept with plans for expansion
- our service and price requirements
- past printing volume figures from which they could determine future
- plans for company expansion (in our case opening new stores) which
would give them an idea of potential business
- potential for corporate-wide business
- samples of the type of work we do, with a request that they run a
sample for us (e.g., manual pages, covers/spines, index tabs)
We then prepared a form with specifications for sample print jobs and asked
the vendors to price each job based on the anticipated volume of business.
We made no promises of how much business they would receive, however we
did indicate past and potential business. We did tell them we planned to
use them exclusively if we were happy with the quality and service provided.
Our sample print job specs included all info needed to get jobs printed by an
outside vendor, for example:
number of originals
charge for cutting spines?
charge for slip sheets?
charge for stapling?
charge for setups (2 up)?
saddle stitch for handbooks (folding and stapling)
We made a table of the responses/pricing. Because we had organized the
RFQ it was quite easy to present the information to management in an
organized fashion. We negotiated the pricing with the top few vendors and
my manager, who's very good at negotiating, finished it off. I think we
ended up with very good prices, but they're not so low that the vendor
resents them. We don't have to bid for each job we do, because we have set
prices for each type of work we have done, based on a large volume over a
year. The vendor also knows that if we're happy with him, we'll recommend
his services to other departments in our company.
Hope this helps.
p.s. If possible, get a tour of the facilities of the most promising
vendors. This tells you a lot about how they do business.