The Secret to Your Long-Term Success as a Print Reseller

This past year there has been some anxious talk here on the West coast about recent mergers of trade-only printing shops with retail shops.

Why the anxiety?

It has to do with the subtle but crucial difference between a “trade printer” and a “trade-only printer.” A failure to appreciate that difference can cost print resellers a lot of money and heartache.

I’ll explain.

The One Crucial Trade Printing Fact That Can Make or Break a Print Reseller

success as a print reseller


There are plenty of commercial printers who offer trade printing services. In other words, they’ll discount their retail prices for print resellers—"the trade.”

Yet few can call themselves “trade only.”

The problem is that many are dual-purpose printers who offer both trade and retail services. That scenario comes with a built-in conflict of interest in which serious problems can happen.

Self Interest – If a lower-profit trade job conflicts with a higher profit retail job, which one do you think will get priority?

Industry Presence – A dual-purpose shop typically has a significant online and offline industry presence geared to the retail end user. They must because that’s how they make a living. But if a reseller’s client sees this presence and knows this is the reseller’s vendor, how long before they ask, “Hey, why don’t we just cut out the middleman reseller?”

Unscrupulous Characters – Sadly, our industry has a long history of owners and sales professionals in dual-purpose shops who betray the trade relationship. Once they get some inside knowledge of their reseller’s clients, they’ll solicit work from them, typically by undercutting the reseller’s prices.

Perhaps the owner is the best guy in the world, and you trust them 100%. The problem is they can’t guarantee than one of their “commissioned sales” people walking the floor won’t see your job and just decide to call on your client.

To paraphrase the old bible verse, “No one can serve two masters. Either you hate the one and love the other, or you’ll be loyal to one and not care about the other.”

Dual-purpose shops are, in a sense, trying to serve two masters—the retail end user and the trade reseller.

On the other hand, a trade-only shop like us serves just the one – our print resellers. It adds a level of security not always found in dual-purpose shops.

What constitutes a trade-only printer?

  • Trade-only shops don’t sell to retail users, whether through direct contact or through an ecommerce site.
  • A trade-only shop never contacts the reseller’s customers unless directed to do so by the reseller.
  • A trade-only shop sells only at wholesale prices which allow room for the reseller to make a profit.
  • A trade-only shop does blind shipping to the reseller’s customer or they use the reseller’s packaging and labeling.

Of course, if you currently have a great relationship with a dual-purpose trade printer…great!

However, if any of the dual-purpose conflicts mentioned above concern you, you can put them to rest by collaborating with a trade vendor like WTP.

To find out whether your other suppliers are trade-only, pick up the phone and ask them! Find out exactly where you stand in their world.

In a trade-only shop like ours, you are always the number one priority. Print resellers like you are the ONLY ones we serve.

Go here to get an instant online quote.

Prefer the phone?

Call me direct at 559-251-8595 ext. 411.

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