Printer vs Broker…The Final Say?

Recently I posted a blog @ on whether to use a broker or go directly to a manufacturer for your printing and packaging needs. Pam Koehler and Debbie Simpson offer comprehensive opposing views that give you “food for thought” for your next project.
Feel free to add your comments as we further explore the issue of Printer vs Broker

Pam Koehler @

 I have worked all sides of the business – as a print buyer, as a sales rep for a large printing company in LA, and have now been a broker for 20 years. I became a broker because I had clients that had work that we could not produce in our plant, and my employer would not allow me to broker any work. My clients wanted to work with ME, because they knew they could trust me to get the work done and delivered on time. I am fortunate to say that, 20 years later, I still have some of those clients – even though I don’t live in LA anymore! It really is all about developing relationships with both clients and printers, and focusing on service!

One of the biggest keys to success as a broker is finding qualified printers, that not only do good work at fair prices, but will step up to the plate if a problem arises. I again have been fortunate that just about all of the printers I have worked with in 20 years have really treated me as a true partner, and been happy to work with me and my clients. By the way, I have never “hidden” my printers from my clients – there is full transparency and we all work as a team.

I also have been able to utilize my years of knowledge and expertise to be hired as a consultant, and now provide print management services for a US client that prints and distributes education materials in Africa and Latin America. I gained their trust brokering printing, and it has now opened up a whole international market for me. That is something I would not have been able to do if I was working as a sales rep for a printing company!

Debbie Simpson @

As a print manufacturing company, our experience has been that good brokers are hard to find. We work with a handful and really value them. They are the brokers that provide a value to their customers in their knowledge/expertise and they usually offer other value-added services like design, warehousing and fulfillment. They are not simply a mark-up or pass-through. They have great in-depth knowledge, excellent communication skills, don’t nickle-and-dime us and actually pay within terms.

On the other hand, we have fired many brokers over the years. They tended to not know much about what they were selling, garbled the communication, provided incorrect specs, argued about price and then, when they “blew it”, tried to get us to re-run at no charge. In my opinion, a broker that doesn’t provide any services other than brokering, may be a good resource for small businesses without marketing expertise, but larger organizations have the buying expertise on staff and adding a broker to the mix does nothing more than increase the cost and the risk of miscommunication.

If you place your color critical job with a broker and one month he uses one plant and the next he uses another, when does color management come into play?

Most of those brokers we fired were those who had been terminated from another company where they could not meet their sales goals. They felt their previous employer was getting rich from their personal efforts and felt they could capture that profit for themselves. After all they have no equipment, no facility, no employees, no traditional business costs. They were operating from the kitchen table, on the house phone, have no errors & omissions insurance, no liability insurance and generated a lot of bad debt expense.

Printer vs Broker…You decide!

Tell us what you think!

Al Bagocius
The A & I Consulting Group
Creative Packaging Solutions
9838 Old Baymeadows Road # 387
Jacksonville, FL 32256
Voice Mail: 904.553.9539
e-mail @
LinkedIn @
blog @
“We Package Your Message!”

No Responses Yet to “Printer vs Broker…The Final Say?”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: