Chain Printer vs Commercial Printer & why to use each

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Printing like many industries has seen the onset of chain businesses to meet the needs of the consumer and businesses. As technology has gotten better it has lowered the barrier of entry in skills that a printer must possess to produce a larger % of print jobs.

Printing was a skill learned and it took years to train to be able to produce fine work. This is certainly still the case for most jobs but printing has segmented into different markets that are filled by different companies.

The chain printer is more of a convenience printer. They turn quick jobs and are usually available to service longer hours and weekends. Walk in business is not only welcomed but expected and staffed for that. The workers are usually not nearly as skilled but can get something out quick and in your hands fast. They have usually only been in the printing business for a short time.

Lower quantities are what the chain printer is in existence for. A customer will pay more on average for this convenience factor and get inferior quality but the chain printer certainly serves a purpose.

The commercial printer is more designed around custom jobs. The commercial printer will have some of the same equipment as the chain printer but will also have equipment made for larger quantity jobs and usually will produce more difficult higher quality jobs.

There are certainly exceptions to these rules. There are commercial printers that donít produce quality work and some chain printers that do exceptional work. For the most part you are not going to go to chain printer xyz to get 100,000 brochures that have a diecut and are foil stamped. On the flip side though you are not going to be able to walk into a commercial printer Sunday night at 10pm and get 50 copies of a proposal for a Monday morning meeting.

Both have their respective places in the printing business and both fill a certain niche. There is certainly crossover of which both can produce the same product. For the most part with a good commercial printer if you are interested in building a relationship you will be talking to the same person that knows your needs and likes and will be able to produce a quality job in a cost effective timely manner.

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