Local printers priced out of profit

TOO many WA printers have priced themselves into a hole they cannot escape says Touchstone Colour founder Terry Stone.

Mr Stone said sheet-fed printing in Perth was the cheapest in Australia. WA printers are charging more than 10 per cent less than their eastern states rivals. Yet many local firms have won several national, and in some cases international, printing awards.

Since buying into the company and renaming it Touchstone one year ago, Mr Stone said he had put prices up considerably.

“When we came in the company was doing one job at a 16 per cent loss,” he said. “Printers confuse wages with a reasonable return.

“There have been complaints about too much printing machinery in Perth, but many companies are working two to three shifts. If there is that much work and companies are not making a profit, then the prices are too low.”

“When printing companies have to replace equipment and increase the charge out rate, they are going to find themselves in a hole,” he said. “We are trying to find clients that want quality and service and are willing to pay for it.”

Touchstone recently came 72nd in the Business Review Weekly list of Australia’s 100 fastest growing companies.

Mr Stone said having staff that understood basic things such as profit and loss statements was essential to the company’s growth. He also believes the future may not lie in printing. He thinks Internet service providers will move into pre-press and print broking services, changing the face of the printing industry.

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