Co-Op Printing
Is It Worth It?
by Keith McPherson


CO-OP printing, at first, seems to be a worthwhile plan. Just imagine, get your printing for prices ranging from ZERO to maybe $16.00 per thousand 8 1/2 x 11s. Your ads on one side... someone else's on the other side.

If you're just mailing a page or two, it may be true BUT, if you're really a mail-order mailer, and not just playing the mail order game, you have probably started to maximize your customer mailings by sending as much as possible in the envelopes you send out.

You can mail about 4 1/2 8.5 x 11 sheets for the 1 ounce rate and over 18 sheets for the bulk mailing rate. For argument sake, lets say you mail out 4 sheets when you're sending 1st class 8 sheets when you're send bulk rate (as it becomes difficult to easily stuff your envelopes when more than 8 or 9 sheets are used unless you have a folding machine to make clean crisp folds). ALSO, the more common prices for 1-side co-op printing run between $6 and $16 per 1,000... making $11.00 per thousand an average pricing. The prices I note from the better mail order printers for a 2-side 8.5 x 11 run between $20 and $39 per thousand making $29.50 per thousand an average price for 2-side printed sheets. Any of a kind of mailing list rents for 3 cents per name and up... however, I calculate it without a purchased mailing list.

BREAKDOWN OF 1ST CLASS MAILING: Co-op way with 4 pages of material and 4 pages of someone else's (4 sheets both sides @ $11.00/1,000)

             Postage per envelope         .29
             Mailing list/name            .03
             Cost of envelope & Misc.     .02
             Cost of 4 co-op pages        .044
             (0.011 per page co-op)       _____
             Total price per piece        .384

Since you are mailing 4 pages of your material, it costs you .384/4 = .096 per page to deliver to your customer.

If you do your own mailing list by hand it cost .354/4 = .0885 per page delivered.

The full priced way with 8 pages of material ALL YOURS (4 sheets both sides).

             Postage per envelope         .29
             Mailing list/name            .03
             Cost of envelope & Misc.     .02
             Cost of 4 sheets at          .118
             0.0295 per sheet full pr)   ______  
             Total per piece              .458

Since you are mailing 8 pages of your material, it costs you .458/8 = .05725 per page to deliver to your customer

If you do your own mailing list by hand it costs .428/8 = .0535 per page delivered.

Taking my "blurb" from the ads that co-op might not be worth it even if free. The first class mailing of 4 sheets of your material with ZERO cost for the printing would be .34/4 pages or .085 page delivered vs. .458/8 pages = .05725 page if paying for both side printing. A savings of almost 3 cents per page by using both side printing instead of free co-op printing.

BREAKDOWN OF BULK RATE MAILING

Co-op way with 8 pages of material and 8 pages of someone else's (8 sheets both sides @ $11.00/1,000)

             Postage per envelope         .198
             Mailing list/name            .03
             Cost of envelope & Misc.     .02
             Cost of 8 co-op pages        .088
             (.011/ page co-op            ____   
             Total per Piece              .366

Since you are mailing 8 pages of your material, it costs .366/8 = .041 per page to deliver to your customer.

If you do your own mailing list by hand it costs .306/8 = .03825 per page delivered.

The full priced way with 16 pages of material ALL YOURS (8 sheets both sides)

             Postage per envelope         .198
             Mailing list/name            .03
             Cost of envelope & Misc.     .02
             Cost of 8 sheets (at         .236
             0.0295 / sheet full pr.)     ____
             Total per Piece              .484

Since you are mailing 16 pages of your material, it costs .484/16 = .03025 per page to deliver to your customer.

Using my blurb again...if co-op cost your ZERO the bulk mailing of 8 pages of your material would cost .248/8 = .031 per page delivered. Yes, this is getting close and is just a trifle more expensive than the .03025 per page using 8 pages both sides. BUT, it more or less makes a point.

So we have shown that on first class mailings co-op isn't worth it even if free. On a 8 page bulk mailing we have shown that co-op is just slightly more expensive, EVEN IF FREE.

To be completely straightforward with you, on larger sized mailing pieces of 9 sheets of more co-op @ free has a slight price advantage over doubled sided printing. BUT you normally can't get free co-op printing! In the real world and normal world, it's still cheaper to mail both sides at regular prices.

Also, when using co-op printing, you have little if any control over the ads on back. They might possibly be really cruddy ads that you would hate to send out or perhaps in direct competition with your own.



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