Ballpark Estimate: Between $25 and $150 for 1,000 basic cards
What’s the biggest marketing tool your company has? If you think it’s your business cards, you’re probably right. These small and relatively inexpensive cards can make a very big impact toward your goal of getting your company’s name out to a wide range of perspective customers. And your card will not only tell people what you can do for them but also how best to get in touch with you.
With a large number of people are conducting their business online these days and communicating via email, you may think that this means you can cut corners on your business cards and other printed material. However, the experts stress that most businesses still need takeaway materials to advertise their services and remind people how to find them. Therefore, business cards are still necessary to serve as your formal calling card. They should contain your company name and contact information, and can also play an important role in establishing your image and tone. For instance, an artist may use his cards to demonstrate his unique grasp of color and innovative design techniques, while a banker will strive to generate trust through more conservative cards printed on very high quality paper.
Let Your Cards Speak For You
Remember that you don’t have to splurge of the most extravagant or showy cards, but you should put some time and thought into choosing a design, color scheme and quality that appropriately represents your business focus and goals. For instance, a pet walker or day care provider can probably get away with quite simple cards, while a high-end wedding planner or upscale jeweler will want very elegant cards that are worthy of the prices they charge.
An Array Of Options
When you’re ready to select your business cards, you’ll have a number of decisions to make. For instance, you’ll need to decide on what information you want to include, what type of design you’d like, what color and type of paper and ink, the size and quantity of the cards and whether you want to add in any extravagant extras to make your cards stand out from most others. All of these factors can greatly impact your budget.
Read on for more specifics on each of these categories and find out what details you may want to consider before you make any final decisions.
The weight and quality of the paper you select will speak volumes about your business. If your cards are on a poor or flimsy quality stock, they can easily wrinkle or tear and therefore, they won’t present the same successful image that they might have if they were printed on a thicker, finer type of paper. This doesn’t mean you have to splurge on the most expensive stock you can find, though. It just means you should shop around and pick a sensible, nice quality option. Linen or fiber-stone stocks can be reasonably priced and will give you a final product that has some weight and substance to it. You can also pick paper that’s recycled, textured, colored or even adorned with delicate flecks. In addition, you can add a gloss or varnish to give a slicker feel to the printed pieces. Just keep in mind that these types of details usually come at an additional expense. Most printers will be able to recommend a paper suited to your overall goals and price range and can show you some samples so you’ll know what to expect in advance.
Ink Color Choices
You can also choose from a wide array of ink colors to use on your business cards. The most basic cards use only black ink, which is usually the least expensive, or you can select an alternative color (such as navy or red), which will cost a little more. If you will be having your cards offset printed (this is a traditional print process that gives you the best overall quality printing), you can even choose to go with two, three or even four colors on the job. The price of the cards for traditional printing will depend on how many colors are involved. In digital printing, which is a simplified process often used for smaller jobs, the cost to run a color digital order will usually be the same for two ink colors as for four, so this will allow you to get more creative without spending a whole lot.
Some people keep their business cards very simple, including only contact information on a preprinted template. Others prefer a more sophisticated custom design that incorporates their company logo and other graphics into the final product.
Basic cards can usually be typeset by the vendor that prints your cards or you can tailor them yourself using an online template, but some of the more complicated layouts will need to be set up by a designer or someone who knows how to get a job ready for print.
How many cards you decide to order at a time will make a big difference in what you can expect to be charged. If you’re planning on using traditional offset printing, you’ll find that smaller orders will be more per card. This is because the basic setup fee for your job will be divided among a smaller number, making each individual one cost more. This fact may encourage you to order a large batch of cards at one time rather than needing to splurge to reprint more cards in the near future. Before you do this, though, you’ll want to make sure that your contact information is expected to stay consistent so these won’t become outdated any time soon.
One of the biggest factors that will affect the final product and cost of your business cards is the print process you select. Offset printing typically relies on a technique called lithography that has been used for more than a century and is based on how water and oil repel. To this end, a plate is made of your image and then this is transferred through a rubber plate to your printing surface. The ink is then run over the image to adhere in designated areas, while water ensures that the non-printable areas remains untouched. When it comes to running an offset job, the number of steps involved and the prep work required can be time consuming and take much manpower. These factors also mean that it can be quite costly to use this technique for very small jobs. But if you plan to buy in bulk, this option suddenly becomes much more feasible. For very large quantities, it can even prove to be less expensive than digital printing. That’s because the cost per piece for digital printing stays somewhat standard no matter how many pieces you run, while the per-piece price for offset printing goes down greatly the more pieces you order at once.
Making Your Mark
In addition to selecting from the variables described earlier, there are some special custom details that can make your business cards unique and can help to truly establish your businesses’ niche as a respected player in the marketplace. You can do this through such options as:
To add an elegant and timeless feel to your business cards, you may want to splurge on embossing. This technique creates a raised design on your cards. It can appear in color or can be simply a blind design, which is made from the textured lines rather than the ink marks.
This is similar to embossing but rather than created a raised image, it causes it to be indented on the page. This can present an extremely tasteful overall look.
Other things to consider that will really set your card apart from others include foil stamping, which adds an impressive touch, and selecting an oversized or square card to really help you make your mark. You can even have your cards laminated. Additional highly personal touches include foregoing paper and instead printing your cards on different materials, such as plastic or wood for a truly lasting impression.
Finding A Printer
When shopping for a printer, a good place to start is by asking family and friends for recommendations to offset printing plants. You can also ask other businesses you frequent who they use. Or, you can also do a search online for area printers. In addition, you can use an online directory that connects with your some appropriate options. For instance, services like Offset Printer allow you to request quotes from different vendors via the web. Just be sure to ask for samples from anyone you plan to use and also ask for referrals from other customers so you can be sure that the quality you’ll get will be up to your expectations.
If you prefer to have your business cards printed digitally, some offset printing plants also have the equipment to run jobs digitally when this makes the most sense. Or, you can get digital printing at many copy shops such as Kinko’s or office supply stores that have a service counter, including Office Depot, Staples, and Office Max. In addition, many online companies like Vista Print and 123 Print offer inexpensive business cards you can order online, either selecting from one of their standard design templates or having something custom made at an additional expense.
What It Costs
What you can expect to spend on business cards depends on exactly what you order, what process you use and what quantity you select. To give you an example of what to expect, here are some more specifics based on several scenarios.
If you want some basic business cards printed digitally, you can expect to pay between $25 and $75 for a batch of 1000 cards. Or, you can have them printed offset, which will probably be more expensive. You may spend in the range of $125 to $150 for a one or two color job of 1,000 cards. Bumping it up to four colors can increase the price to $200 or more. (Note that as you increase the quantity, the price per card goes down dramatically.) In addition, if you run multiple batches of cards at the same time using the same colors, you can also save on the cost for each batch since they can share the same setup.
So you can expect to spend:
- $25 to $75 for 1,000 color digital cards
- $125 to $200 or more for 1,000 offset cards
In addition to the main expense, using fancier papers can raise the prices, as can other extras. Adding embossing, engraving, foil stamping or other special details can double the cost for a small batch of cards (or add at least a few hundred more dollars into the cost of a larger batch).
- Extras can add another $50 to $300 or more to the cost of what you’ll spend.
Some printers will charge an additional cost for typesetting your cards in a standard template design, while other online services will allow you to do this yourself at no charge. Or, you may decide to use a designer to do a more sophisticated design.
- A professional designer can cost between $50 and $100 per hour for his or her time.
Keep in mind if the cards need to be delivered to you, there will be an additional cost for freight that can also significantly add to your bill.
- Mail delivery for a small batch of cards may range from $5 to $25, depending on the delivery method you use.
It’s also worth noting that if many online companies will print offer to discount print business cards. You can find them as low as $10 or less for 1,000 cards. Just keep in mind that in exchange for this bargain, you may be inundated with marketing offers and your information may be shared with third party companies, so this can end up being a hefty price to pay after all.
You can also try Do-it-Yourself business card sheets and run them off yourself. About 1,000 cards will be under $10. But if you run these on an inkjet printer, you have the risk of the ink running if they get wet.
A Final Note
It’s also worth noting that if you’re hesitant about investing in ordering premium quality business cards, keep in mind that the cost of ordering some good quality cards may seem quite small when you compared to what they can do to help your business grow and be strong.