Question about business cards

Hi there, I hope I picked the right category for this question,

When doing business cards as a freelancer do you typically take on printing costs (for a small run of cards) and invoice or do you pass the file and printer recommendation to the client? In this case a smallish start up.

Thank you!

Kinda depends on how you are set up for business and where you are located.
If you buy business cards wholesale, and sell them to your client, most states require you collect sales tax. Are you set up for that?

In answer to your question, buying and selling print is a goodly portion of what I do for a living.

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I tell my clients that I also offer printing on the projects I design, but they aren’t required to use me. I can hand off the final PDFs to them or to a printer of their choosing.

If I’m brokering it, I get wholesale pricing that is about 10-20% off what the printer normally charges, and then I charge my client the printer’s retail price, and keep the difference. Here in California, brokering the print changes how sales tax is calculated for the project, and you are required to file quarterly returns.

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I live in Argentina and to me depends on the type of client I´m working with.
For locals clients I have 2 prices:
1-Design and pass the file of the project.
2-Design and handle the project printed (project + print retail price).
I get wholesale pricing, my earnings are the difference after charging my client with the printer´s retail price.

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As a freelancer, I don’t want to be responsible for paying the printer in case the client, for whatever reason, turns out to be a deadbeat. There’s no way I want to be holding the bag on a $5,000 printing job.

What I do instead, is tell the client I’ll make suggestions about which printer(s) to use and even supervise it to final delivery ( for a fee, of course ). Anything having anything to do with money, however, is strictly a matter between the printer and the client. I’ll also write this into the contract and make it clear to the printer that my involvement is only that of a third-party acting on behalf of the client who is solely responsible for payment.


I used to do print brokering many years ago. A couple of thoughts.

– You can make some extra money, but it also takes time to source vendors, get quotes, manage the printing, etc.

– With the rise of online printers, it’s tougher to make money with print brokering. Clients can do a quick search and see all of these places that will print their cards (or whatever) for some pretty low prices. So it’s tougher (though not impossible) to make decent money with it.

– The way my business has evolved, my clients have printers they already work with. So I haven’t been in the position to do any brokering. And I’m okay with that. The liability for the printer’s bill falls on you when brokering.


Thanks so much you guys, this is great and it’s so nice of you to take the time. :slight_smile:

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