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Topic: PrePress/Printing Consultant? (Read 341 times) previous topic - next topic

PrePress/Printing Consultant?

Hello. I stopped working for an undesirable employer of 12 years last June. I really don't want to make a lateral move to another print shop. I have been in printing doing mostly prepress for 25 years. What are your thoughts on prepress or printing consulting? I tried to do some print brokering, but the competition with online printers is fierce and I am not the best sales person. I was hoping to consult new graphic artists and or office managers that try to do their own printing but get unexpected results from their errors. I haven't found many resources for this kind of project and it's currently just an idea. Does anyone think this could work?

Re: PrePress/Printing Consultant?

Reply #1
The biggest issue will probably be convincing someone they need this service and then pay for it. It seems people in this business are 1) notoriously cheap and 2) have a habit of not paying their bills.

I do wish most of my customers would pay someone to fix their stuff before sending it to me.
Mac OS 10.12 Sierra | Prinergy 7.5 | Adobe Creative Cloud 2017 | Two Luscher XPose 160 CTP units

Prepress: One who does precision guess work based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.

Re: PrePress/Printing Consultant?

Reply #2
Not to mention all the people who think there's nothing wrong with their files in the first place. And those who won't learn even when you try to help them for free.

I'd say a consultant is definitely needed, but just try to convince people of that.
No Facebook, no iAnything. What am I missing?
2009 Mac Mini, OSX 10.6

Re: PrePress/Printing Consultant?

Reply #3
In my experience, a consultant can be worth their weight in gold.

But as others have said, convincing someone that they need one might be hard.

If you are good, I guess word of mouth would get you noticed but that might take awhile.

Re: PrePress/Printing Consultant?

Reply #4
The sad truth is that as long as print shops are fixing files pretty much for free (as many have been doing for the past 15 years out of fear of losing the customer), then there is no incentive for the designers to pay anyone to do it for them.

Unexpected results on press result in the customer calling the printer and bitching, and the printer either offering a discount or reprinting the piece for free. Either way the customer comes out ahead.

I do think that this might have been a viable business model back in the days when we still used film, bluelines and Matchprints. Customers were actually charged for RIP time, fix-up time and for the materials, and film was not cheap. So paying someone a fee to guarantee that the files would be perfect would be like an insurance policy against high service bureau prepress charges.
Prinergy 8.1.1.286 • Preps 8 (Not a fan) • SmartStream Designer

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night. But set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life!

Re: PrePress/Printing Consultant?

Reply #5
The sad truth is that as long as print shops are fixing files pretty much for free (as many have been doing for the past 15 years out of fear of losing the customer), then there is no incentive for the designers to pay anyone to do it for them.

Unexpected results on press result in the customer calling the printer and bitching, and the printer either offering a discount or reprinting the piece for free. Either way the customer comes out ahead.

I do think that this might have been a viable business model back in the days when we still used film, bluelines and Matchprints. Customers were actually charged for RIP time, fix-up time and for the materials, and film was not cheap. So paying someone a fee to guarantee that the files would be perfect would be like an insurance policy against high service bureau prepress charges.

Also, I don't think the only area to get into would be fixing files.

I can see a need for printers to get a consultant when they delve into new areas of work such as mailing. It takes a lot of knowledge to integrate Adobe apps with the mailing workflow and that might have some potential.

Re: PrePress/Printing Consultant?

Reply #6
We had some consultants come in when we had to deal with post office and sorting software. If that didn't happen we'd never have gotten off the ground. I don't see anyone figuring it all out for themselves in such a short period of time without a teacher/consultant.

And this stuff gets integrated with Indesign data merge ie. stepping a repeating mailing labels etc. and other software for producing more complicated variable jobs. Companies starting out would definatley need some help.

Re: PrePress/Printing Consultant?

Reply #7
Me and several co-workers thought this would be a good idea as well (years ago). We wanted to start our own business.
But sadly, like DCurry said, no one wanted to pay for a service to do stuff for things they already do on a daily basis.

That's why I still work for a printer, been doing it for over 45 years now.


 :drunk3:
Prepress guy - doin' jobs one at a time


Re: PrePress/Printing Consultant?

Reply #9
For a while, I took some time off, but I went to several shops and made them aware I was available for "consulting," and fill-in part-time work. It was a gold mine, because most shops only have one guy, and he/she can never take any time off because everything stops. Being an "on-call," fill in worked very well for me, as within the first month "off," I worked almost every day between 3 different shops. I'm back to employed full-time, but I still get calls and fill-in elsewhere as needed. My clients allow me to come in at my leisure, so I do a lot of my fill-in work after hours so I can still work my regular day job without issue.
"I'm not addicted to cocaine. I just like the way it smells."
– Richard Pryor

“Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Re: PrePress/Printing Consultant?

Reply #10
Yes, the "one-guy" ball and chain job syndrome.

I know it well.

 :drunk3:

Re: PrePress/Printing Consultant?

Reply #11
Having done this, it's a painful process to sell and even more so to collect on.
Matt Beals

Everything I say is my own personal opinion and has nothing to do with my employer or their views.

Re: PrePress/Printing Consultant?

Reply #12
Thank you all for the great input. I think I'm going to go more of a part time prepress temp direction like DigiCorn did. I could offer consulting as an ad on if they show interest. I do remember being the only prepress person in a shop and getting sick or wanting a vacation was an issue. Most times it was easier to show up sick rather then deal with the aftermath.

Re: PrePress/Printing Consultant?

Reply #13
Yes, around here, if you are not dead you show up.

But I have managed to take a week off in the winter the last 4 years, there is a guy for emergency backup but I am not sure he'd know half of what we do now. Things just have to be scheduled and organized well and everyone cross their fingers that a great rush job doesn't come in. And give the clients a little BS as well.

 

Re: PrePress/Printing Consultant?

Reply #14
This guy made a living doing it, sort of...
https://www.lynda.com/Taz-Tally/38-1.html


I had the pleasure of sitting in one of Taz's seminars on Lightroom at Print '18. Pretty amazing guy, and super smart... 
People will notice the change in your attitude towards them, but won't notice their behavior that made you change.  -Bob Marley