Paper Buying Tips
1. Get the best price. Be flexible about the paper brand. Instead of asking for a specific brand, say, “What’s my best buy on a No. 3, 60 lb paper, and I prefer blueish tones to yellowish tones,” to find the best-price options in your range.
2. Be flexible about paper grade and weight. If you’re willing to trade down, sometimes the savings are substantial.
3. Get quotes from your printer and broker. Include all costs.
4. Ask your printer about its “house” papers. Printers have a full range of papers they regularly buy in large volumes.
5. When buying your own paper, get roll width, maximum diameter and core requirements from your printer to avoid having the paper not fit on the press.
6. Don’t let paper run out before your press run is done. Get paper and “spoilage” requirements from your printer for outsourced paper. Sometimes, requirements are higher for outsourced paper.
7. Avoid unexpected freight charges by making sure your paper broker estimates freight costs from the mill to your printer, or prices freight on board to your printer.
8. Avoid unexpected storage or handling charges by asking your printer to quote on storage and handling for paper, if supplied by you (versus if supplied by the mill).
9. Avoid a broker that doesn’t deliver on promises. Ask for a reference from your printer. It buys through brokers all the time, and knows which ones to count on.
10. Know when to have your printer handle your paper purchase. For example, do so when:
• Your print run is less than 1 million.
• You insist on using only a specific branded paper.
• You lack a paper-savvy person on staff to coordinate between your broker and printer.
• Your printer delivers the best price.