July 11


The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing vs In-House Printing for Construction Plans

By Hackworth

July 11, 2016

in-house printer, outsource printer

If your business involves the need to print construction plans for contractors, architects or engineers, you may be studying project costs to determine if you should buy your own printer or outsource the job to a third party professional.  As an owner or manager you must control the expenses of your company no matter its size so that you can reach the financial goals that you have set for your business. The question of whether you should invest in a large format printer or outsource printing construction plans should be thoroughly addressed. Review the points discussed below to help you make the right decision for your company.

Printer Cost vs Printing Cost

One of the first things that you must think about is the cost of printing the plans. In order to accurately calculate the cost per square foot of your printing you must pay attetion to these factors:

  1. Volume of prints produced – If you print small volumes infrequently then outsourcing may be a good option. The more volume you print the more likely an in-house solution is right for your company.
  2. Inkjet or toner based printing – The gap between these types of printers gets smaller all of the time, but generally speaking if you want to print in house inkjet is a low cost and low volume solution while toner based printers offer higher production speeds and volumes at a higher cost.
  3. Color or black and white – With constantly improving technology this is not a simple “Yes, we will” or “No, we won’t use color” question. Similarly to inkjet and toner consideration the lines between color and black white are figuratively being blurred. Today, color is much more affordable to own and outsource and studies show that in the long run it can be more cost effective due to a reduction in errors on the job site.

Investing in a printer that accommodates the size of your projects can save you a great deal of money in the long run. The price of outsourcing your job will depend on whether you request black and white or color prints as well the size of the documents that you need. Printing in-house can save you as much as 46% more than the cost of having the work outsourced. Keep in mind that inside your own company you can also control the output of the job more closely.

Printing Flexibility

Another factor that you should think about is the amount of flexibility that you will have with in-house printing vs outsourcing the work. With in-house you will be able to print the job according to your business schedule and can better meet the deadlines imposed upon you by the client requesting the printing. If you outsource the printing of construction plans it allows your employees to on other more mission critical tasks. You must ask yourself if an outsourcing provider can meet your requirements, what type of recourse will you have if things go wrong, and will you have to include shipping or set-up costs in the total price of the job?

Printer Maintenance

Finally, maintenance on a large format printer will be required if you elect to purchase your own equipment to do printing jobs in-house. You must include the cost of the printer, the supplies that you will need, any upgrade costs, and the cost of maintaining the printer in excellent operating order. If you decide to outsource the job of printing construction plans to a printer, you will not have to worry about upkeep on a large format printer that takes up valuable office space and any specialized training that you’ll have to provide to employees so that they can operate the printer safely and accurately.

The final choice is yours to make; you must consider the amount of finances that you have available, the quantity of work that you do regularly on large format projects, and which strategy would work best for your company. If you have more questions about which solution is best for your business, talk to one of our Regional Sales Managers they can provide you with a free in-house vs. outsource analysis tailored to your company. Call us at 757-545-7675 to set up an appointment.


About the author

In 1991, Hackworth opened its doors as a blue printer in Chesapeake, VA. Under the direction of Dorothy and Charlie Hackworth and their son Charles, the business is now a full-fledged graphics, printing and technology company serving the Mid-Atlantic.

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