Brokering is easy money, but I have rules.
- It has to be $1500 or less.
- It has to be an existing client with an existing purchase order.
- It has to be a project that I’ve designed
- It has to be for postcards, flyers, banners or brochures in standard sizes. No custom sizes, no die cuts, no spot colors… nothing requiring special services.
I have one printer that I deal with that has decent prices and does consistently good work. I get wholesale prices from them which are 10-20% less than the advertised prices on their website. I net a few thousand dollars a year from brokering. The clients appreciate not having to deal with printers and additional invoices. They can approve the art with me and be done, and it’s basically the same price for them. I do blind drop ship so it looks like it’s being shipped from me.
The worst thing is rushes. When I get into trouble with a client it’s always been because of a rush on a brokered project. They need it by a certain date or its worthless to them, so they approve the extra charge and I give them the estimated turnaround that the printer gives me. And then there is some delay in the printing, or it gets held up in their shipping dept, and I’m spending an inordinate amount of time tracking the shipment on UPS, hoping it gets there on time. That can be stressful.
If I don’t broker printing I’ll give them a list of printers I’ve had positive experiences with in the past. Some of the catalog projects I do are for 50k-100k a year in printing, which is too risky for me to broker. In those situations I offer to write up the Request for Bid for them to make sure it includes all the specs. But they need to get a printer under contract for stuff that large.