Do you have a rush print job that you need to be finished ASAP?  While each print partner may have different turnaround times, depending on their process and how busy they are, you can take actions on your end to help in getting a faster turnaround on your print order. Communication is critical for any print order, especially rush jobs, and ensures that your print partner has everything they need to complete the project.

Print Project Timelines

Production timelines for a print project have many different factors, with the exact number depending on the complexity of the project. Most jobs can be completed in one to six business days, depending on the project. Keep in mind that production is different from shipment. Shipping turnaround depends on the mail carrier.

Here’s another factor to consider - do you need design or copywriting services? These can take up to a month to finalize before the project is ready to print. For example, a brochure with many folds will take longer than an unfolded flier. As a rule of thumb, the higher the number of materials printed, the longer the turnaround.

Related: Print Turnaround Times and What to Expect

How to Prep Your Print Partner

1. Direct communication

Your print partner needs to know every specific element of your print project. Be sure to answer any questions they initially have regarding the overall project, and anything specific you want for it (such as type of ink, paper size, paper type, and finishes). The fewer questions your print partner has to ask you during the process, the quicker it will be. Adding new instructions or asking about extra project elements after the project has started will only lead to delays. Being upfront about what you want also helps with a more accurate turnaround estimate.

2. Minimize edits

When you send your project to the printer, it should be the final version. Triple-check your print project for any typos, design errors, and correct crop marks before sending it off. Revisions and edits will add time to the project.

Related: Bleed and Crop Marks

3. Give your print partner any additional assets they need

If you're doing a direct mail order, you will need to provide mailing lists. Know what creative assets you are providing (and make sure the files are in the right format) to avoid delays. Not sure what deliverables are your responsibility? Don't be afraid to ask your print partner!

Related: Print Vendor Management: Best Practices

4. Organize everything on your end

When you know precisely what you want and have it well-organized, ordering expedited print is easier. Know your timeline, know when to follow up, and confirm shipping. Be well-prepared to send all of your files, in the correct format, with all of the assets in a final, approved draft.

Tip: digital printing is quicker than offset. Have an honest conversation with your print partner about what you need and what your deadlines are. This will allow them to give you an accurate turnaround estimate (keeping in mind that the estimate assumes there are no additional revisions or hiccups).

Related: Digital vs. Offset Printing

5. Keep it simple

If you are ordering an expedited print project, it's best to keep the project as simple as possible when it comes to the design and print elements. Adding elements like stickers, folds, and finishing options means additional steps that add time to the turnaround.

Related: Get Your Print Projects Done Faster (and Easier)

When trying to get a fast turnaround on a print order, organization and communication is key. The more you can get right on the first go, the quicker the turnaround will be. Print partners are often working on many different projects, so to complete a rush print job as quickly as possible, follow these tips to avoid any unnecessary delays. For your next big print job, contact the experts at Ironmark to get it done right and as fast as possible.


Written by Lynne Kingsley

Lynne Kingsley oversees the digital marketing client services team as well as the marketing strategy division for the company. Since joining the company in 2016, she has increased Ironmark’s digital presence by over 700%, establishing a new lead generation mechanism for the sales team. A certified inbound marketing professional and HubSpot agency partner, Kingsley has been helping companies transform their marketing function into fully diverse and streamlined growth engines since 2003. With agency and client-side work under her belt, Kingsley’s strategic experience spans both the B2B and B2C sectors. Prior to joining the Ironmark team, she served as in-house marketing director for several non-profit organizations. Kingsley is an honors graduate of the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University.
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