Should you BYOP? (Buy Your Own Paper)

by Kyle Kennedy

The cost of paper is one of the most important considerations for any print project. In fact, paper can account for 50% or more of the total project cost. If your marketing budget is slimmer than ever, you may be tempted to buy your own paper from a paper mill or distributor as an alternative to buying it through your printer. But does buying your own paper really save you time and money?

Whose responsibility is it?

power-of-paper.jpgWhen you purchase your own paper, new concerns suddenly fall into your lap:

  • You may run short. The basis weight of your paper order can have a 5% variance and still be within industry standards. If the basis weight is heavier – e.g., your 60# is actually 62# – you risk running short.
  • You may have an overage. Most mills and distributors don’t accept returns, so any unused paper is yours to keep. That means you’ll need to pay for storage.
  • Your cash-to-cash cycle is shorter. Once you place a paper purchase order, payment typically will be due within 30 days of the paper’s manufacturing date rather than being included in the printer’s invoice.
  • Your paper may be “bad.” Whether the batch is substandard or was damaged in transit, it results in downtime, added expense and possible missed deadlines.

To help you make the best decision for your needs, here are a few services your paper supplier should provide:

  • Act as a resource for defining paper grades beyond the basic grading structure. Your paper supplier should help you weigh the pros and cons of different types of paper in a way that’s relevant to your applications.
  • Provide paper samples of various grades, preferably with images or text from your files printed on them.
  • Advise you on how well certain types of paper will perform for your project’s requirements, such as withstanding the USPS mailing process or the extended shelf life of a catalog.

Once you’ve weighed the alternatives, you may find that purchasing paper through your printer is the wisest choice. The printer has a vested interest in ensuring your paper functions well on press, in the bindery and for your end use. Any problems that arise with the paper are the printer’s responsibility and should be transparent to you.

We encourage you to partner with your John Roberts sales rep in finding the best paper for your needs – and avoid the headaches!


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