Choosing a printing partner for your POP graphics, yard signage or other products isn’t a decision to take lightly. Pick the wrong service, and you could be left with hundreds of poor-quality graphics or a project that finishes weeks after its initial deadline. Here are four red flags to watch out for when considering a printing partner:

1. They only offer one type of service
Digital and screen printing each have their advantages. Digital printing is great for smaller runs, but also for runs that need higher quality. There’s rarely any waste involved in digital printing, so there’s no reason to increase the number of graphics ordered to get maximum use out of the materials. On the other hand, screen printing is the best option for large jobs and jobs with specific color matching. It’s fast, cost effective and allows for versatility in spot colors and other coatings like glitter.

You might only need one or the other for your current project, but it’s hard to guess which one is best for your future projects. Choosing a printing partner that only offers screen printing binds you to minimum quantity orders, while choosing a digital-only printer means you might not get the exact color you need. Partnering with a company that offers both ensures you’re covered if your printing needs change.

“Great technology is essential for providing the best quality graphics.”

2. They don’t invest in better equipment
Buying the latest printing technology is expensive, but it’s essential for providing the best quality graphics. Some printing services hold on to old equipment for as long as possible, leaving their customers to suffer the consequences of poor color matching, degrading print quality, and low resolution. When considering a printer, ask what printers, cutters, and prepress tools they use, then compare them to other potential partners. A reputable printer will have this information readily available and they should have print samples to offer as well..

3. They compete with your business
Many print companies also build and design displays, putting them in direct competition with businesses that partner with them. Display manufacturers should ask a potential printer for the scope of their services so they don’t end up giving money to a place that could take their customers.

Still, certain additional offers are beneficial. For example, a printer that packs and distributes graphics takes this burden off your business. Choose a partner whose services match your needs without encroaching on your business.

4. They hide their work
Most printers will have samples of their former work to view, but you should do a little more research and ask a potential partner for references. A good service will be happy to direct you to satisfied clients. Speak to the decision makers at these companies and ask how long they’ve been using the print service. If they’ve done business for a long time, that’s a good sign that you’re choosing a quality service. In addition, a good printing partner is proud of its customers and wants to show them off at every opportunity. If you can’t find testimonials prominently displayed on their website, you’re better off looking for someone else.