Turnaround Times

Most of us have experienced the panic that comes with the realisation that we have forgotten to do something important, like order those company brochures that our boss demanded we organise weeks ago. Naturally, such realisations will usually come to us on a Friday afternoon, which undeniably adds to the panic. Where you need something printed, the best practice is to arrange it as far in advance as possible, to reduce the possibility of any delays or hiccups. However, if you do need something urgently, there are some printers that guarantee a quick turnaround time (even on weekends!), which will hopefully help your panic to subside.

Firstly, what do we mean by print turnaround times?

Turnaround time refers to the length of time that is required to print, cut and finish a print job. Depending on the printer that you engage, this may or may not include the time required to post or deliver your printing to you. Of course, delivery (or in this case, shipping) will generally take longer if you have ordered online from an overseas printer.
The general rule is that the earlier you place an order, the more likely you will receive your printing without delay. This is because the printer will have more time to arrange their schedule and make sure there is plenty of time to complete and deliver your job.
However, if you find yourself in a situation like the one described above, then you should try and find printers that offer quick turnaround times or same-day printing. You should be aware that there may be additional costs associated with rush orders, including express postage, and note whether the printer you have chosen has any production cut-off times (i.e. the time that each order needs to be received by the printer during the day). If you submit your order past the cut-off time, then your turnaround time will be calculated from the next day.

Factors that can affect print turnaround times:

• Type of product
Turnaround time will always vary depending on the type of product ordered. For example, a brochure with 3 folds will generally take longer than a one-sided flyer because it needs to pass through equipment several times to be printed and folded.

• Paper size and quantity
Like most other things, the higher the quantity you have ordered, the longer your products will take to produce. Smaller designs will mean that more can fit on single sheet, which will reduce the time needed and therefore the cost.

• The finish selected
Special finishes, such as matt or gloss laminating, will usually increase the amount of time the printer needs to prepare your order. Depending on the product, special finishes can sometimes add days to your expected turnaround time.

• The artwork submitted is not print ready
Artwork is considered to be print ready when the file submitted to the printer already meets all the specifications to produce high-resolution printed product, without needing any alterations. Pixelated logos, missing images or font and incorrect file sizes can result in delays as the printer will need to contact you to request a print ready file before they can produce your order.
It’s especially important to arrange an order in advance where you require design and/or copywriting services. Some printers may have designers in house or design agencies they can refer you to. Designers and copywriters will need some time to create and prepare your product for printing, so you should give them as much notice as possible as it is unlikely they will be able to meet the same turnaround times as the printer.

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