How Much Of Your Work Should You Send To A Commercial Printer?

Sending your work to a commercial printing company can relieve a lot of burdens. However, commercial printing services cost money, and you may not want to put in the time working with a company on every project. How do you strike a balance between dealing with jobs in-house versus sending them out? Look at these 5 factors before you decide how to address your commercial label printing needs.

In-House Costs

Price is one of the main reasons organizations often assume working with a commercial printer isn't ideal. Oftentimes, this ends up being penny-wise and pound-foolish, though. If you don't have a full commercial printing operation at your organization, you can expect office-grade printers to take a lot of wear and tear doing large assignments.

You must factor in equipment, maintenance, and consumables costs before you can make an apples-to-apples comparison. If the final calculation is even close, the difference in aggravation and quality likely makes paying for commercial printing services the more cost-effective option.

Project Scale

As a project scales up, the value proposition of commercial printing also increases. If you have to do a bit of label printing to send out a few notices to customers, it might not be worth it. However, an organization that needs thousands of labels for a mass mailing may want to go with a commercial services provider.


Even the most talented graphic designers working with the best office equipment will have a tough time matching the quality of commercial printing work. If you need to produce a high-quality printed item like a glossy brochure with many photos, you will likely want to have commercial-tier resources available. Professionals know how to deal with complex color processes to ensure their customers' projects look the best. Likewise, they can maintain quality standards across multiple production runs.

Product Dimensions

The more unusual your plans for the final product, the more likely you'll want to use commercial printing services. Poster-size items, for example, aren't ideal for most office printers. Something letter-size, though, may be within your means.

Similarly, you'll have a hard time finding a way to print full-bleed without creating a lot of waste. A full-bleed print item is one where the ink goes right to the edge. Generally, a commercial printing firm will use large sheets and cut the excess to ensure the color runs the whole way.

Stapling and Binding

Any commercial printing project that needs to bring many sheets together will be difficult. If a job calls for stapling or binding, you probably won't want the headaches involved with printing the pages on the right sheets and lining everything up.