Co-Mailing: The Biggest Controllable Variable in Your Catalog’s Printing and Postage Costs, Part 2 of 2
This week in the final part of our two-part series on co-mailing economics, I’ll inform you of the various price estimates you need to research from printers to accurately compare savings between co-mail pools. I also pose a list of questions that catalogers need to ask printers when negotiating co-mail contracts.
(For part 1, click here.)
It can be difficult to compare savings between different printer’s co-mail pools. To do this effectively, you need to get the following estimates from printers:
* estimated gross postage without any savings;
* estimated net postage after the printer’s mail pool and co-mail savings; and
* the printer’s cost for their portion of the savings, their freight cost (including the dreaded fuel surcharge) and administration cost.
You end up with the printer’s estimate of your net postage and their total cost to capture that savings for you. The postage savings and the printer’s costs can be difficult to calculate. Even if you calculate the savings yourself, ask your printers to also provide an estimate of net postage and all costs they’ll be charging you for. Keep it simple: What will be my postal bill and what will be my cost from the printer to capture those savings? (Click on the chart at the bottom of the page for an example of how to calculate these numbers.)
Other than costs, are there other factors to consider? In addition to the differences between in-line and off-line pools, educate yourself on the size of the typical mail pool from the different printers. The bigger the pool, the bigger the potential savings! Then find out the frequency of the pools: Are they once a week, twice a week or spread further apart? Know the trim size constraints and whether your trim size is giving you the best flexibility. The generic trim sizes have become 8 inches x 10 ½ inches and 7 3/8 inches x 10 ½ inches, but some printers have machinery that handles a variety of trim sizes. And know whether the pool is through the printer or a consolidator.