There is sometimes a big difference between the two. Beyond the list price, the internet based printing companies often charge additional fees for many of the services that we would provide at no additional charges. In addition, the internet based companies have some limitations that any buyer should be aware of. Some of these include:
1) Payment Terms– For our corporate clients we offer payment terms, which is basically a loan as part of our service. Internet based printing companies often require payment in full prior to the job shipping.
2) Delivery charges– For smaller jobs we provide local delivery at no charge, internet based companies charge this as an additional cost beyond the quoted amount. If the job is a rush and needs to ship by air the charges can easily add up.
3) Rush Charges– The internet companies list prices with a standard turnaround fee. Rush charges can easily increase the job by an additional 50% of the quoted price.
4) Changes– Many of the internet companies do not allow any changes. Once your job is submitted it is considered approved. The only way to change the job would be to reprint it.
5) Additional subscriptions– One of the major internet based print companies makes a significant portion of their revenue by selling magazine subscriptions at the end of the checkout process. Many buyers are unaware of this until they see the charge on the credit card and have difficulty reversing the charges.
6) Stock Limitations– In order to minimize their costs the internet companies typically offer a very limited choice of stocks. If the stock matches your needs great, if not, you are out of luck.
7) Color proofs– For those who have color critical jobs and require a hard proof, most internet companies offer only an electronic proof. For those that do offer hard proofs, the costs can be substantial.
While some of the internet companies do have some built in pricing advantages because they offer a limited scope of products, buyers should look at the context of the entire job to make sure that there will be no surprises after it has been delivered.