The Quick Consultant
Turning Printing Companies Around
One Firm at a Time!
By John Stewart
Between the late 1990s and well into the first decade of this century I made my living providing individualized, on-site consulting services to printing firms throughout the U.S. and abroad. I sometimes joke with folks that while my short-term memory has really gotten bad recently, I can recall almost every single detail, including the layout of the shop and the problems encountered, involving the 400+ consulting visits I undertook in those days.
I consulted with printers in almost every state in the U.S. including two separate firms in Alaska. I also traveled to Australia, Brazil and Venezuela, the latter visit being exceptionally memorable because to this day I still vividly remember the press operators using gasoline as a press wash! I was still smoking in those days, but I was not alone – the press operators seemed fine with have a cigarette themselves as they washed up their presses!
I’ve often thought I could put on a pretty interesting seminar about all those consulting visits, and one of the first stories I would probably tell would be one about the owner of a business, who during an early morning conversation, asked me to step outside for some additional privacy.
Once outside, he confessed with a couple of tears running down his cheek that he had a personal crisis on his hands, a crisis so bad in his own mind that he had seriously contemplated suicide. He told me he actually had been thinking about taking this action during the past few weeks and was actually waiting to hear what advice I might have to offer. Continue reading
Four Free Sample Pages – Would you like a very brief glimpse of what’s contained in the latest 2016-17 Digital Printing Pricing Study? All you have to do is click on the artwork below or click here to download a FREE 4-page PDF demonstrating the tip of the iceberg as to what is in store in the complete study.
“I immediately raised my digital envelope prices 5%… More than paid for the study in less than a month..”
Bob Rosenfield, Edison Press, Standford, ME
This 114-page study is one of the most comprehensive pricing studies we’ve ever published. It’s also one of our most popular.
Dedicated strictly to pricing of digital products and services, this new study is now available for immediate shipment (hard copies and PDFs). Retail price of this study is $229. PDF orders are shipped same day as received. Hard copies are mailed within 24 hours. Click on the Bookstore tab above or Click Here to place your order.
You can now download and print our 12-page report titled, “Printers Report Strong Shift to Digital,” by clicking here. If you wish to read it on line, the full article appears immediately below in the adjoining column.
The file is currently 12 pages, 8.5×11. To print as 3, 11×17, 2-sided pages from Adobe Acrobat > Print, > Page Setup in lower left corner, > Tabloid, landscape orientation. then > OK. Under Page Sizing and Handling, select Booklet. Then just choose 2-sided from your printer.
Printers Report Strong Shift to Digital
Printers Split on Shutting Down Offset Department
By John Stewart
“Is offset printing alive & well, or is it in intensive care” is a question we posed in a recent industry survey conducted Aug. 18-24, 2016. Well, the answers and comments we received were mixed, and while not all printers are ready to “pull the plug,” many recognize the patient is not doing too well and probably will not walk out of the hospital! Some are already making plans for the funeral!
Our 15-question survey was more detailed than many we have conducted recently, but it still received the third highest rate of response out of nine surveys we’ve conducted with more than 220 printers responding within the four-day window we allowed for responses. Continue reading
This Is the Most Detailed Pricing Study
Ever Published by QP Consulting, Inc.
This brand new 114-page study is one of the most comprehensive pricing studies we’ve ever published.
Dedicated strictly to pricing of digital products and services, this new study is now available for immediate shipment (hard copies and PDFs). Retail price of this study is $229.
However, for a limited time, you can SAVE 25% on this study if you place your order between now and Nov. 23rd. Orders are shipped same day as received. Instead of paying $229, you will pay only $171.75!
“The Digital Printing Pricing Survey is the most valuable yet. The pricing info helped us identify irregularities, bringing some prices up to increase profits, and identify high prices that were likely resulting in lost business.”
McCabe’s Printing Group
To View the Table of Contents, Click Here.
Please Note – If you participated in this key industry study, it was emailed to you on Aug. 30, 2016. Please check your email in-box for an email with the subject line, “Attached is your complimentary 2016-17 Digital Pricing Study.” Continue reading
Are Associations Meeting the Needs of Members?
Printers Place High Value on Research Studies
According to Latest Survey by QP Consulting
By John Stewart
Please note this article is confidential and copyrighted. Please do not share or redistribute. Thank you.
Printers in our industry, at least the 163 firms who responded to our most recent survey, told us they still place a high value on research studies, as well as surveys and polls about printing related topics. In fact, those two services, combined with the desire to share “confidential information” with fellow members, receive the highest ratings when compared to other services typically offered by trade associations, according to our latest survey. Continue reading
Preliminary Results at a Glance
With less than 12 days to go before the July 18th deadline, we can report some very brief, preliminary results from early participants in our 2016-2017 Printing Industry Digital Pricing Survey.
Average Sales – If you think you’re too small in terms of sales to participate think again. Survey participants report their average 2015 sales at $1,444,900 and are projecting sales of $,1,556,340 for 2016, an increase in sales of 7% – 2016 compared to 2015.
Median Sales – Median sales, a probably more reflective picture of our survey participants, for 2015 was $854,480 and projected to be $935,000 for 2016, or a 9% projected increase in sales for 2016.
Independents vs. Franchises – Independents account for 75% of all our respondents with franchises accounting for 22.5%. Another 2.5% are In-plant operations. Continue reading
The One Question We Forgot to Ask!
It looks like we may have set a record of sorts with our most recent survey titled, “Printing & Politics – Your Choice for President.” More than 270 printers responded within 48 hours, the largest number of responses to a survey in the past four years.
“More than 270 printers responded within 48 hours, the largest number of responses to a survey in the past four years.”
Unfortunately, after the survey “hit the streets,” and we were already processing the results, it suddenly dawned on us, especially after seeing the early trends, there was one question we wished we had asked but didn’t. We’ll let you know what that question was near the end of this survey. Continue reading
Ryan Sauers – Our Guest Columnist
OK, I Will Say It: Sales is ALL About Price
By Ryan T. Sauers
You see this article title and know it is true. Many of you tell me this from all across the country. Today, sales is quite simple. It all comes down to who has the lowest price, right? If you get your pricing tight/right, than you have a chance of winning/earning some business, right? If you cannot do this, then buyers will not consider you. Simply said, it is all about price these days. Are you feeling better about your sales now?
Not so fast, there is something else I need to mention…
The goal was to get your attention as we have the attention Continue reading
Workers’ Compensation rates vary dramatically according to a special 11-page report just-released by QP Consulting, Inc. However, contrary to popular opinion, owners still have options, to control or even lower annual premiums.
The new industry report includes a number of charts and graphs, including a special table detailing 35 states and the most common codes and NCCI rates per $100 for the four major classifications available in the printing industry – Clerical, Sales, Printing and Delivery. Continue reading
Leaders vs. Laggards in the Printing Industry
I’ve been actively involved in the printing industry since the early 1970s, so I guess you would definitely consider me an “old-timer.” Although relatively old in terms of physical age, I believe I am younger than most in the industry in terms of my enthusiasm for the industry and the belief that one can still make a very, very good living as the owner of a printing firm.
Sure, the industry has changed dramatically in terms of how we produce many of our products and services. But for every AB Dick or Ryobi press sitting idle back in the corner gathering dust, there is a digital printer up front that is probably producing an array of high quality printed products that would have been unheard of less than 10 years ago. But this article is not meant to address how much things have changed, but rather how much some things have remained in terms of key ratios and profitability. I think you will be quite surprised about some of the facts and figures revealed in the remainder of this article. Continue reading
The comments below were written on April 26th and forwarded to the PrintOwners List Serv, but they never appeared on the list, because unbeknownst to me at the time I had been removed from the list a couple of hours prior.
Nonetheless, I consider SPE to be one of the most important ratios to track in the printing industry so I decided to post the following. It is indeed unfortunate, that too many printers tend to either ignore, avoid, gloss-over or rationalize their sales per employee (SPE) numbers when compared to others.
So here is the post that never made it to the list serv: (See interesting chart at end of post.) For those unfamiliar with this ratio, it is calculated taking gross annual sales (excluding postage income) and dividing that by the total number of employees, including all working owners/partners.
“As a general rule, truly profitable printers in this industry become and remain very profitable not by charging significantly more or less for their product, but rather by producing those products far more efficiently. Efficiency and levels of productivity can be easily and quickly measured by SPE or Sales Per Employee….. Continue reading
QP Consulting, Inc. has just released the results of its 1st Quarter Business Climate Results.
All firms participating in the survey were sent a private email with a link to download the confidential PDF Report.
If you did not receive an email it may be because you never provided a proper address. If you believe you did provide the necessary information, please contact us at [email protected] and we will provide you with the proper link.
FREE Download – If you would like to download this 3-page PDF please click here.
Complete Study Now on Sale… (see below)
Executive Summary of 2016 Study
Now Available for Free Download
Thinking about purchasing this just-released study on compensation practices but would like to first take a glimpse of what this study actually contains? No problem – QP Consulting has prepared one of its popular “executive summaries” highlighting key findings of this new report. No, it doesn’t reveal everything, but it certainly provides more than enough data, charts and graphs to help you make that final purchasing decision.
For a limited time, the complete study (retail price $285) is available for only $233, an 18% Discount. Visit the bookstore to place your order. Offer expires May 16, 2016.
Popular Speaker & Consultant
Praises New Compensation Report
“John Stewart of QP Consulting has done an amazing job of compiling data that will help printing companies (of all sizes) as it comes to their salesperson analysis, staffing and compensation. The research process (in this report) is valid and reliable and provides (up to date 2016) information. It is packed full of relevant information yet is easy to follow and can be (sorted and used) in a multitude of ways.
“Quite frankly, the price of this report (based on the extensive data that it contains) could easily be priced much higher. The price is a bargain. As I have spent my career working in the print and related industries in owning companies and later consulting with them (focus on sales) across the country, I found this report incredibly beneficial. It is one I wish I would have had years ago. This report contains the answers to questions I am often asked by print company owners. The process of hiring a salesperson in this industry is a tough endeavor. Thus, we may be (overpaying or underpaying a salesperson) and wondering what their compensation package should look like. Continue reading
Pricing & Financial Ratios Prove Most Popular
First, a big “thank you” to all of you who participated in our “quickie” survey about surveys. We were one shy of reaching the 200 mark in terms of respondents to the survey we conducted March 10-11, 1016.
Approximately 96% of our survey respondents indicated they had participated in at least one major industry survey in the past five years. Far more encouraging, however, was the fact that 39% (78 firms) had completed 3-4 surveys during that time frame, with an additional 36% (72 firms) indicating they had participated in five or more surveys during that period.
Rating of Surveys – We first asked survey respondents how they rated the overall value of surveys and subsequent studies that have been published by QP Consulting, Inc. and the results were overwhelmingly positive with 84% of all respondents telling us they believe the studies we’ve published have been either “Extremely Valuable” or “Very Valuable.” Continue reading
RESULTS OF QP CONSULTING SURVEY…
Printers Continue to Report
By John Stewart, President, QP Consulting, Inc.
Approximately 18 months ago (August 2014) we conducted a survey on behalf of NPOA titled, titled, “Down to Earth, No Punches Pulled” – a general business climate survey. In August of 2014, approximately 28% of owners reported that sales were down either moderately or significantly. Move ahead 18 months and we find that number has improved, but only modestly! Today, approximately 20% of respondents are still reporting that their sales continue to be down.
Unfortunately however, as you can see from the chart below, the percentage of firms reporting to us that sales are “pretty flat” has actually increased from the 28% reported in 2014 to 35% in Feb. 2016. That means that approximately 55% of our industry is still struggling to some degree and telling us that their sales are either “down” or “flat” as we head into the remainder of 2016.
If we could only get these kinds of response rates to our major industry surveys dealing with sales, profitability and pricing of various products we would be ecstatic, especially when you can get more than 200 responses in less than three days!
Anyway, here is a link to the complete results of our survey. However, so as not to keep you in suspense, we are providing a graph below depicting the results to Question #10, where we asked:
“Based upon your personal political
inclinations at the present time, who would
you most be inclined to vote for if the
elections were being held in the next 7 days?”
We developed this Financial Goal sheet a number years ago based upon a template we found in another industry. As you know, the printing industry was one of the first industries in the U.S. to actually collect and share financial ratios for operating a profitable printing businesses. I have authored, along with my good friend Larry Hunt, more than 16 Financial Benchmarking Studies, and the data presented on this goal sheet is based upon these financial benchmark studies.
Click Photo to download PDF of this chart.
I recently received a call from a former client. He and I have been corresponding on and off for many years since my first visit to his firm back in 2003. His firm is located in the far northwest. “John, I was going over my ratios the other day and noticed that my total payroll ratio is almost 31% and that seems much higher than it should be. Do you have any suggestions?”
Yes, under normal circumstances, 31% for total payroll costs, assuming all other financial ratios for the company were typical and average for the industry, would be high, but not in this case. Based on additional data he provided, Bob (not his real name) told me they had just finished their best year ever in 2015 with sales of $1.6 million. “My manager earned $105,000 last year and he is very happy. He and his wife just bought a house, and their first child is on the way, and he couldn’t be happier. The rest of my employees are also being paid well above average wages, especially for this market area,” Bob added. Continue reading
THE 2013-2014 BINDERY SERVICES PRICING STUDY
2013-2014 BINDERY SERVICES PRICING STUDY This brand new, 140+ page study, published by NPOA and QP Consulting, Inc., and co-sponsored by Printer’s Plan and EFI, is the most comprehensive study of pricing for bindery services and products ever published in the printing industry. To view the bindery services covered in this study, please check here to view the Table of Contents.This just-released study, sold with a 100% Money-back guarantee if you are not totally satisifed, is available either as a tape-bound report or as a PDF. Continue reading
One of the Most Popular Studies in the Mailing Industry
The 2013-2014 Mailing Services Pricing Study
The 2013-2014 Mailing Services Pricing Study – This study is consistently praised, year after year, as a “must have” tool for analyzing pricing in the mailing services industry! This 124+ page report contains detailed pricing information on more than 45 key services provided in the mailing services industry. Plus, we provide you national breakouts and pricing for three different categories of firms – All Firms, Small Firms (those with mailing volume less than 100,000 pieces per month, and Large Firms with mail volumes of 500,000 or more pieces per month.
Please note this study is available now as either a hard copy or as a PDF, and orders are typically processed the same day they are ordered. Remember, as always, this study is offered on a 100% Money-Back Guarantee! Continue reading