Product Questions


Fine-tuning Pricing


Posted: 17 September 2010

Ok I am working on getting my high school work back. It is a really big account. Here is the thing . Carbonless is an example. I need to set up new contract pricing. It needs to be for them only. The price is below the slider price.

Ways to change pricing:

Estimate Manager
Press hourly rate
Customer discounts

The pricing needs to stay the same each time it is run. I kind of think the discount may be easiest. I really want it to apply to each job. I have to set pricing on many jobs. So I am not sure I can put the same discount on all. Copies for example. They need to have their own pricing there too. Copies for them is nowhere near the same as I charge others. School is volume. Now I seem to remember you said have a copy of MF just for them.

. . . . .  jerryjfm

Maybe I can help? I do thermo biz cards for my local college and they have a special negotiated price, different from all the other raised print business card pricing. Since I send that out, it was easy to set-up a product in Merchandise. I named it "College Cards" (or whatever) so I knew that was their pricing set-up the way they like to order (sets of 500 at a time). If this is something you're manufacturing in-house, it would be a bit more difficult to have a customer specific product. As you said, the pricing is below the slider pricing and if you changed anything, like your cutting charge, it will affect their pricing as well. Or if you adjusted your paper margin, it would change the school's special pricing. Maybe you could keep a list near MF and when they order something, just change the price. I do that sometimes when MF won't hit a certain number, I'll just re-type the press cost and paper cost so it totals to where I need it.

I think a separate copy of MF would be too cumbersome. It would be easy to set-up for just one customer, but then you'd have two job trackers to monitor. You know what would probably work? When Hal releases the multi-press, you could set-up a press with a special hourly rate, call it "HS Press." I think that would work out really well. And you could have special paper with a special margin - "HS Carbonless." And that would give you a lot of flexibility in the pricing. But I would try to make the Customer Discount work first. That's what I use for my wholesale clients.

Sorry it's sooooo long. I hope it helps at least a little.

. . . . .  Keith

Hi Jerry, Keith brings up some good points. If your high school account contributes a big chunk to your business, a second, parallel installation of MF is definitely worth considering. Especially if the discount you're extending varies from product to product. Once the combination of slider adjustment on top of an overall customer discount doesn't go low enough, all that's left is lowering the hourly press rate.

Setting up a separate press for just one customer, as Keith suggested, will work really well for digital where you have just black and color, but will prove cumbersome for offset (1C, 2C, and 4C). Copies, of course, are no problem. Copy prices are set by the product, so you can easily create a separate copy product for a specific customer.

Here are some pros and cons of installing a dedicated version of MF.


By far the most flexible approach to custom pricing.
The customer is isolated on the second installation; you never have to worry about quoting your standard price by mistake.


Having to update your paper specs and paper prices on both installs.
Separate job tracking, as Keith already mentioned.

. . . . .  Hal Heindel

Keith, Thanks for giving Jerry lots to think about for setting up a special pricing matrix for his high school account.

Speaking of pricing, I think you know how I feel about Budgeted Hourly Rates. I've ranted against them often enough on PrintPlanet. This dinosaur from another century seems to have climbed up the escape chute and boarded through the emergency exit before I could secure the hatch. Now that the damage is done, I'm probably going to make a big deal out of it in this month's newsletter.

But Scout's Honor, it really did happen by accident. Blame user-defined presses, made even more suitable for Budgeted Hourly Rates because you can now make any press your primary for 1C, 2C, and 4C offset, bypassing and even sidelining the built-in MF presses if you care to do so. Goodbye product-centric pricing, hello cost-plus and BHRs.

The idea of primary presses came to me just a couple of days ago while I was working on the user manual. Promptly implemented it, later realized the implications, and decided to live with it. Can't win 'em all!

. . . . .  Hal Heindel


Wow, there is a lot to look at here. I think a reinstall is going to be best. It is a ton of work. Will be three high schools and I can lock it up for up to five years. I have to lower my pricing but I make it up in volume. Have been working on this for a year and it is close now. So it looks like I will need a set up for just schools. I have a chance to add schools to this also. MF will make it easy if I can get it fine tuned to there pricing. Wish me luck

. . . . .  jerryjfm

In light of what you're trying to accomplish, I tend to agree. Keeping your paper files in sync is really not such a big deal. Besides, paper prices are fairly static these days, so you should be fine doing it just once a month.

What helps is that Morning Flight makes do without separate key and index files, they're all wrapped into a single .TPS. Here is what you'll need to copy and paste:

STKFile.TPS - InStock Paper file
STCFile.TPS - InStock Colors file
SPSFile.TPS - BuyAsNeeded file
SOSFile.TPS - Special Order file
SVSFile.TPS - PaperShop file (not in use yet)

Whenever you copy the STKFile, make sure you copy the STCFile with it. The two work in tandem.

If you're running VISTA or Windows 7, install the parallel copy of MF in a separate folder outside the 'Program Files' folder to avoid virtualization. When programs are installed within the Program Files folder under VISTA and 7 (but not XP), the OS has the nasty habit of putting data files where nobody can find them: In a remote Compatibility Files folder.

Before you dual-install MF and copy the paper files, click here for a refresher. Good luck getting the account!

. . . . .  Hal Heindel