A quick web search is all that’s needed these days to discover just how many ‘businesses’ and solo enterprises are passing themselves off as professional printing houses. It’s quite incredible and at the same time troubling – anyone with a home printer and a wad of stick label-sheets can technically open a website and claim to be the most capable printer of digital labels in the history of history.

Of course, those actually able to deliver the kinds of results product-makers are looking for exist in way, way smaller numbers. In fact, for every dozen dealers you come across it’s pretty safe to assume that 10 or 11 of them are in fact nowhere near up to scratch.

Which begs the obvious and important question – how’s a business to possibly know which to choose and which to stay away from?

Well, the good news is that while the web may have made it pretty easy for dodgy dealers to set up shop, it also makes it easy as pie to detect said shoddy services and keep them at arm’s length. It’s all about exercising proactivity in the vetting process, which contrary to how it may sound is a very simple step-by-step process.

Are They Really Pros?

How can you tell a professional apart from amateur pretty much in an instant? It’s simple – all you need to do is take a good look across their website. There’s a huge difference these days between a website that looks like it’s been put together by industry veterans and one thrown together using a free-to-use blogging service that’s riddled with errors and imperfections. The simple fact that you want/need your labels to be perfect should be the cause to insist on perfection in a printing partner – all of which begins by vetting how well they come across in their website.

How Much Can They Handle?

Another instant indicator of their professional status or otherwise is that of exactly how many labels they can print in a short time – what’s their capacity? If you find yourself looking into a printing service that can breeze through 150,000 perfect quality labels each day with no fuss, you know you’re looking at a large-scale operation. By contrast, if you get the feeling you’ll be pushing them to capacity with an initial run of 100 labels, there’s a strong chance you may be dealing with an unknown party with no more than a cheap HP office printer.

Do They Do Their Own Printing?

Right now, hundreds of people across the UK are making tidy sums of cash for doing pretty much nothing. How? It’s easy – they rack up a ton of label printing orders from online clients, they then send these orders onto third-party printers and then charge a higher price in order to gain commission. This is problematic for two reasons, with the first being that of those buying the labels being forced to overpay. Secondly though, it’s also worth bearing in mind that when dealing with a middle-man, they may have zero knowledge on the label printing process and thus not be able to answer any of your questions. Unless dealing direct with the printing company, don’t deal at all!

Do They Disclose Their Equipment?

With some printing houses you’ll find that those in charge are pretty insistent upon screaming to the world about how great their state-of-the-art printing equipment is. By contrast, others won’t say a thing about it and will avoid the issue as much as they possibly can. It really doesn’t take a genius to work our which of these two will clearly be using bog-standard printers the likes of which aren’t really up to producing the kind of results a professional business would be looking for. If it’s not clear what kind of equipment they use, feel free to ask. And if they don’t tell you as soon as you ask, feel free to look elsewhere.

Have They Won the Support of Their Clients?

And finally, it’s all well and good for a printing house to blow its own proverbial trumpet, but another for a crowd of adoring clients to do it on their behalf. They say reputation isn’t everything, but when it comes to choosing those you do business with, it’s pretty close. The key in this instance lies in looking out for feedback, reviews and testimonials anywhere on the printer’s website which should be positive, real, readily available and abundant. If there’s nothing to be found or you have to search high and low to find out anything, this should set alarm bells ringing and send a clear message about who you’re dealing with…for all the wrong reasons.