advice on wholesale pricing

Wondering if anyone has advice on wholesale pricing for letterpress. I am putting a quote together for a local company to print all their packaging in one color (black) I want the pricing to be competitive but not so high that they go somewhere else. I will be printing 1-2000 at a time (on a Vandercook), there is some slightly complicated packing that has to be done to even out the thickness of the packaging on the press. In the past I have charged them .45 cents per package. They are providing the packaging. Would love to hear any advice or experience.

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Before considering the market price for such a thing, you need to look at your own operating expenses. Can you make a profit at your current price point?

Once you determine that, then it’s time to look at what other printers might charge for the same project. If other people are charging less, you have to go back and look at your expenses to determine where you can adjust costs to make a profit and be competitive.

Basically it sounds like you’re making $900 for 2000 impressions, and they provide the paper. So we’re talking raw labor + press consumables.

2000 impressions on a Vandercook takes a lot of time, less so on a Heidelberg.

Can the same job be run on a Heidelberg, say a 10x15? If so, I probably would have underbid you to a degree. If it was only printable on a Vandercook, or a Heidelberg Cylinder due to dimension, you’re probably close to the mark in my opinion.

Are you setting type or making a plate from artwork?
What size is the package?

I guess one way would be to look at the amount of time it takes to print ten package. And based on 10 you can adjust your charges.

If 10 copies take 5 minutes and you need $20 an hour, you could say, You need $1.70 per 10 copies plus set up time.

And, if the set up time takes 1 hour, you to tell them that the price is per package plus $20 for set. (And the set charge will be each time they bring you the job to print.)

Actually, I checked my invoice and I charged .35 cents per impression before. I don’t have a heidelberg and I use photopolymer. Plates will be $35 (probably per 2000 impressions) I am thinking it will take me about two days with interruptions 3 to print by hand. I think it might be tricky to do it on an automated machine because they are actually coffee bags and takes a lot of fussing to make sure the packing is lined up properly… but I have no experience with that so I am sure there are some tricks on the heidelberg.

I’ve done similar style bags on the Heidelberg. The makeready is time-consuming, and you have to sort out the feeding, but you can get it.

The pricing sounds fair to me. I think you might be able to find someone to do it cheaper, but your client might not be looking for cheap. They must have chosen you for some reason - maybe they like your marketing approach or attention to detail.

I bet they can afford to price the $0.35 into their pricing scheme for the coffee, as the fancy letterpress label will set it apart as a premium product. Say you could reduce your costs $0.05 per. That would mean $100 less in your pocket, and just a tiny decrease relative to the $5 - $10 selling price of the bag.

I think it sounds like a good pricing scheme, but you do need to analyze your overhead to determine if you are charging enough to stay profitable while paying for your labor and making additional money that will go into growing your business.

When making that calculation, it’s best to imagine that you are hiring someone else to do the printing, and you want to make a percentage on that labor expense.

Good advice. Thanks all!