Difficult Conversations – Changes~

While working on a RFP, one of the questions often asked is how we plan to review their work and correct initial problems prior to delivering proofs.

Unless a designer/production artist is highly talented and their proof-reading staff is perfect, there will be mistakes found in most customers’ files. So, who is responsible for the cost of corrections?

Printers are asked to competitively bid most jobs, so we do that. Are client changes and corrections a part of our proposal? In a competitive situation, no.

So, when we get a file from a designer and it’s incorrect and corrections are required and we are billing the end client, who pays for the costs it took to correct their work?


2 thoughts on “Difficult Conversations – Changes~

  1. When the atmosphere is so competitive, there is little margin left in a job to do the “nice guy” thing and just make the fix for our client. When the correction is made at no charge, who really profits from that benefit, and who ultimately pays? the designer? the client? the printer?

  2. That is a good question. In healthier times in the industry, there probably were staff to proof-read and check files at the agencies. Printing companies had time and staff to handle “preflight” of customer files. There was an opportunity for advantageous communication between the printer and the client to discuss issues with files. This was a benefit on both sides: The clients were able to get a better insight into file construction by learning what a printer needed in a graphic file. It also showed that the printer really cared about the outcome of their job, and was just as concerned about their bottomline as they were. On the printer’s side, it was a chance to earn the much-valued trust of the client.

    Nowadays, both sides are scrambling to do the same thing they did 10 years ago with half the staff. Many people wearing multiple hats, and many things getting overlooked in the harried rush of meeting a deadline.

    In a perfect world? Obviously the client (or agency) who created the files should be responsible for additional charges that are incurred to correct file issues. After all, they are their files, and they did create them. But… in this dog-eat-dog world we actually live in, with thread-bare margins and time lines, it’s a catch-22 situation. If you go back to the agency, you may offend them and jeopardize their slim margin, which “might” cause them to look elsewhere next time. Or you can offer the agency the chance to fix their own files, which is fiscally more prudent for the agency, but might threaten their tight dealine (as this is usually more time-consuming), which could cause them to look elsewhere. Or you could go to the end client, which could cast doubt on the agency in the eyes of the client, possibly causing the agency to look elsewhere. Or you could just fix it and absorb the loss… but that doesn’t help anyone, as you bust your slim margin and the customer continues to create bad files. It’s a tough question all the way around.

    For me, the truth works better than fabrication.
    If you make the corrections at no charge, both sides lose. The printer loses money, the client doesn’t know there is a problem (or knows, but expects free work in the future due to the precedent that has been set). Again… a catch-22

    When you figure out an answer, buy a lotto ticket for me.

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