Trade print, or just trade prices?

Price is, of course, important. But of the biggest online printers associated with competitive prices, it would be fair to say that very few are truly ‘trade only’.

In fairness, most don’t profess to be; although in some cases the company name is designed to suggest otherwise. In other cases, they have associate companies that also cater for the general public. The question is, providing they’re cheap, does this even matter?


To a certain extent, it depends on how transparent you are about outsourcing work, but if like many, you’d prefer for clients to think you’re producing in-house, there are some serious issues to consider.


Are you confident gifting your best, hard-earned clients to a company who are effectively competing for the same work?


Do you find yourself repacking jobs because of the fear of branded paperwork or packaging?


Can you talk to your supplier and get a sympathetic response, or will they be willing to help you best support your own clients?


Can you rely on the quality being to your own standards, or as consistent as you’d like to produce yourself in-house?


Some of the other ‘tricks of the trade’ include:


Using HP Indigos in EPM only mode meaning they’re printing in just CMY (and making a version of a black) rather than CMYK


  • Using lithographic grade materials instead of HP Indigo approved stocks resulting in excessive marking or smudging
  • Putting excessive tolerances in terms and conditions to evade responsibility for poor quality
  • Adding hidden charges for delivery and/or file-checking
  • Packing to the maximum one-parcel weight, usually 30Kg (far too heavy to handle comfortably and invariably needs repackaging)


Flexpress are a true trade only printing company. We have just one brand, no design or online design capabilities and only print for print professionals. We print using only the time-tested, quality assured technologies of lithographic and HP Indigo. Where HP Indigo is used, we always use HP approved papers and boards and only use 3 colour EPM printing where it will enhance the print quality, not detract from it. We always dispatch in unbranded packaging; even our delivery vehicles are unbranded.

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