What’s Happening in Reprography

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According to Wikipedia, “reprography is the reproduction of graphics through mechanical or electrical means, such as photograpy or xerography. Reprography is commonly used in catalogs and archives, as well as in the architectural, engineering, and construction industries.”  It is this last part of the industry that we are focused on here at blueprintsprinting.com. This industry has been changing quite rapidly in recent years, as we have discussed in some of our previous blogs, and as Joel Salus over at Reprographics 101 details extensively in his blog posts extending back to 2009. However, it is our view that the industry, in general, still has a long way to go to catch up with the technological change that is sweeping the design-build industries.

In the, United States the reprography industry is relatively small, and shrinking every day.  As the demand for paper prints shrinks, reprography shops are going out of business, or are raising their prices to stay afloat in business environments of decreased revenue from volume sales.  We at Blueprintsprinting.com, along with a few of  our more forward looking competitors, are taking a different path.  We are lowering prices! To do this and remain viable, we are working with print partners nationwide to maintain the volumes necessary to sustain our near-wholesale prices.  Granted, some of the very large contractors, municipalities, or other very large volume customers for print products may be able to negotiate somewhat lower prices than we are able to offer by working directly with their local print shop.  However our business is primarily aimed at the small- to medium-sized contractors, architects, engineers, and subcontractors.  These folks generally do not print at the volume necessary to have much negotiating leverage with the print shops, so they enjoy a huge benefit when they find and order from blueprintsprinting.com.  We also do have the flexibility to work out special prices and invoicing for the large contractors who do do business with us. With advances in software, e-commerce, fulfillment, and third party logistics options, we have been able to design a business model that allows us to provide very fast print project turn around, low-cost, speedy delivery anywhere in the U.S., and volume pricing.  The reprography industry is consolidating and becoming more efficient, and Blueprints Printing is leading the way!

In his latest blog post, Joel mentions some of our internet based reprography competitors.  Here is are a just a few ways in which we are ahead of the competition to modernize the reprographics industry:

1.  Lower prices – We still beat almost all of the other shops prices.  We are far ahead on color pricing, and color is where the industry is moving (color coded construction plans dramatically reduce errors and improve efficiency on build projects).

2. More convenient  upload and ordering – Our competitors still do not have fully automated process for uploading your plans, choosing your specifications,  and placing your order.

3. Multi-address shipping – as far as we can tell we are the only online print company that makes it easy for you to ship sets of plans to multiple addresses.  Ship set to your subs, clients, and/or business partners all in one easy ordering process.

4.  Software as a Service solutions – We are constantly building new functionality and conveniences into our software and web platform.  Our members will be on the leading edge in construction, architecture, and engineering  industries as we continue to build out our plan room, bid software, and social media platform for the design-build industries.

5.  Expanded options – We offer more options for our customers, from color divisions (print addenda and/or other portions of your plans on different colors of paper to make it easy to turn to the section of the plans you need), weather proof Tyvek plans for onsite drawings, to Mylar prints for overlays, custom sizing, etc., etc.  We have all the options you would ever need.

So, what is happening in the reprographics industry?  Blueprintsprinting.com is happening!

The Alternative to the “Print Shops Near Me”

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It has been an unfortunate, decades-long, tradition in the design and build industries to waste many valuable man hours running around town, dealing with “print shops near me” sales reps, and paying high prices to get construction plan printing done.  Blueprintsprinting.com is changing all this.  We like to say we are bringing the dot com revolution to the printing industry.  With our fully automated system, easy file upload, instant price quotes on both printing and shipping, quick ordering, and speedy delivery across the U.S., we are making life so much simpler for project managers, architects, engineers, and other design-build professionals.  We are in the process of modernizing an industry that has unfortunately become stuck in the last century.  We aim to make our platform and ordering process as user friendly and convenient for the engineer, architect, contractor, and subcontractor, as Amazon or any of the other modern web service and e-commerce sites that have made so many other facets of our lives more quick and simple.

Beside offering convenience and speed, our volume pricing for everyone also makes it very cost effective for large construction firms to do their printing through us rather than purchase in-house plotters.  Cutting costs and saving time are the names of the games in today’s busy and ultra-competitive bidding and building sectors. Blueprints Printing is here to give you a big advantage in those profit hungry games.  The print shops near me just don’t have what I need anymore in order to compete in the dot com world.

So stop searching for the “print shops near me” and just go ahead and sign up for a free account with blueprintsprinting.com.  You will immediately appreciate the convenience and cost savings that our printing dot com revolution is bringing into the design-build world!

What is the best paper and print for construction use?

Best paper for estimating and bidding

Blueprints on 20#

We get asked a lot about the “best” paper and print for construction job site printing, and there are a few things that make this process of choosing paper and printing easy by asking 3 simple questions.

  1. 1. What is the print to be used for (job site trailer, overlays, estimating, etc)?
  2. 2. How long does it need to last (1 week, 3 months, forever)?
  3. 3. How good does it need to look?

Let’s handle the first question.  Consider the environment where the print is going to be used.  If it is in a place that has a lot of dirt and dust, where liquids are present, or where there is a lot of wear and tear by a lot of handling, this should play into your choice.  Estimating, planning, and general examination mean that 20# paper is just fine for printing your prints.  The ink on the paper is done with laser printing, and for most applications where the prints are inside and handled relatively lightly, a low-cost, high quality print on regular paper (20#) works really well for construction plans and drawings.

Now, let’s say that these prints are on the construction job site in October in Boston.  The weather is unpredictable, the crews are rushing to finish before winter, and there is a lot of wet weather.  In this scenario, 20# paper will disintegrate.  The HVAC, plumbing, and electrical crews all need to take the plans to the actual installation point.  The paper shreds, and the job is delayed or the notes on it are lost.  For this purpose, Tyvek is a much better option.  It is water proof, weather proof, spill proof, and you can just wash it off when it gets muddy.  Now, the plans and notes stay intact, the project managers are happy, and the crews are happy.  One or two job site sets on Tyvek will save hours of time and will last the entire job.

The second question is a little more vague.  It is about durability as well, but if the plans are a customer set, they may be stored forever in paper form.  So consider the use and the length of time that it needs to last.  We found the perfect example for a larger fabricator and machine shop.  They were printing out reams of paper for important templates and engineering drawings.  The shop floor had metal shavings and lots of hands had to touch the drawings.  Regularly, they would have to print out another set of drawings, since the paper would just shred.  Mylar (film) works best in these cases.  it is semi-rigid, has a long, long life, and is semi-transparent so the drawings could overlay on changes on paper.  It was the perfect solution.

The third question is how does it need to look.  For people who are bidding on jobs, giving presentations, or working directly with the customer, a nice set of construction plans are critical, especially when you want them in color.  For color prints, there is a general rule of thumb:  the higher the number on the paper, the thicker it is.  Example:  20# paper is relatively light-weight, good for carrying around but doesn’t do well with color prints, while 24# is heavier and thicker, let’s less light through, and renderings look great.  Presentation paper (32# paper) is really wonderful for blocking almost all back lighting and shows colors in their truest form, but it is really heavy for plans… so use it sparingly for renderings or color pictures.

Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 888.507.1002 if you have any question about what paper to choose for printing construction plans, renderings, blueprints, presentations, posters, or specifications (spec) books.

Getting Architectural Drawings and Specifications Delivered

Portrait Of Delivery Driver With ClipboardDelivery of large format construction documents and architectural drawings is not something construction firms often think of.  There are not a lot of companies out there that offer this serivce. The traditional model for getting drawings printed has long involved multiple trips to the local reprographer or print shop to explain what is needed, place the order, and then to return to pick up the prints a few days later.  Well, no more!  Blueprintsprinting.com has revolutionized, streamlined, and automated the whole process.  Now construction planning documents can be ordered easily from desktop or mobile device, and delivered within 2-3 business days to offices or job sites across the U.S.

Contractors and subcontractors often are working on-site at construction projects far from their home office. Quite frequently the need for a newly revised plans, or additional sets of architectural drawings arises on-site at the construction project. It maybe that construction changes had to be called in to the designer and s/he sent revised construction plan PDFs electronically out to the job site personnel; maybe the first set of drawings was lost or damaged (check out our Tyvek print products to avoid the weather damage issue), maybe the electronic version and the BIM software that the on-site crew had planned to use just isn’t working out. Whatever the case maybe, the need for drawings and specifications delivered quickly to the job site is something that our customers repeatedly come to us for.

Our rapid turn around print production, and multiple shipping options enable quick job site delivery of high quality construction drawings and spec books. Once contractors and subs have a blueprintsprinting.com account created, they can easily upload their drawings for their project into their free media manager on our cloud. After PDF architectural and construction drawings are uploaded, it is a very easy process to order prints as needed. New orders can be placed from tablet or other mobile device in the field very easily. Our print facilities in Atlanta and Salt Lake City put most of the United State within a two business day delivery range for inexpensive UPS delivery. If two business days is not fast enough, we also offer faster FedEx delivery options.  Either Fedex or UPS, we will have your architectural drawings and other construction documents to your job-site or office in no time.UPS Ship Times2

Where to get Construction Plans Printed?

The construction industry is once again on the upswing with more new construction starts month-over-month consistently during the past couple of years at least.  This is great for the economy, great for blueprintsprinting.com, and great for all of our friends in the construction and design-build industries!

U.S Construction Starts in billions_recent years                              total-us-construction-starts_reed construction

One thing that has changed in the construction industry since the slow down and belt tightening of the recent recessionary period is that architects and general contractors are much more cost sensitive.  One of the common ways that general contractors and architects are cutting costs is by passing the plan printing on to the subcontractors.  Designers and GCs are, quite often now, sending construction plans to the subcontractors electronically, usually in pdf format via Dropbox or Google Drive, and letting the subs deal with getting the plans printed. Because of this change in the construction industry, subcontractors are becoming some of the biggest clients here at blueprintsprinting.com.   The good news is that once the electrical, plumbing, HVAC, framing, roofing, and all the other subcontracting firms find us, the costs and hassle of now having to deal with getting plans printed virtually disappears.  We make printing so affordable and convenient that many of our subcontracting clientele are actually happy to have the construction plan PDFs uploaded to their media manager at blueprintsprinting.com and be able to order prints as needed, on whatever medium they choose.  Our near-wholesale printing prices combined with our our fast turnaround times, with  rapid nationwide delivery make blueprintsprinting.com the clear go-to choice for getting your construction plans printed.

So, if your designer, architect, or general contractor sends your project plans to you electronically via a Google Drive, Dropbox, email, or other electronic file sharing method, simply upload your construciton plan files to your secure cloud media manager on your account at blueprintsprinting.com and order the prints you need when you need them. Simple and affordable!

Who has low cost construction plan printing?

While the printing industry is certainly changing, your construction plan printing is in good hands with Blueprints Printing.  New procedures, print technology, and great carriers have made it possible for a few online printing companies to emerge.  So how do you tell who can get the work done and get it to you on time?

There are pros and cons of each service and each way of getting prints:

  1. Local Copy Shop –
    1. Pros –
      1. Fast service, typically.  The local copy shops that do large-format construction plans have machines locally and you get your plans quickly.
    2. Cons –
      1. Low capacity and lack of expertise – it is a toss-up if you will get high-quality service, especially at retail stores like Staples, Office Max, or UPS.
      2. Expensive – the typical 24×36 plan will usually be anywhere from $1.50 to $3.00, for one sheet!  That gets pricey!
      3. Inflexible – most copy shops do not ship drawings inexpensively and they are not experts at it.  If your offices are in NYC and you have a job in Maryland, it can be a huge hassle to get your plans where you need them.
      4. One place of business – by having only one place of business, local and some online companies put your jobs at risk.  If a machine goes down, if there are issues with that site, how long will you have to wait for them to do repairs?
  2. Online from Blueprintsprinting.com
    1. Pros –
      1. Fast service even on very big jobs.
      2. Large capacity – Our company has the ability to print millions of sheets per month.
      3. Inexpensive – our 24×36 sheets are only $0.66 each… that’s 66 cents!  Our price comparisons have routinely shown that we are the lowest cost option for construction plan printing.
      4. High-quality – we are experts in the field of construction printing, meaning that your prints get our full attention, because that is our singular business.  If there are problems with the file, adjustments that have to be made, our experts can suggest solutions.
      5. Automated – phone calls to sales reps, driving to the local shop, sending files and instructions via email are time-consuming activities.  The average trip to the local shop can cost hours of time, depending on where you are and where it is.
      6. Easy – Ordering from us is easy… you can order with your phone, from the job site, right after you do the markup, and our system automates the entire process from beginning to end.
      7. Distributed – We have a distributed print system where your job is not reliant on one shop.  No waiting around for the printer to get repaired.
    2. Cons –
      1. Shipping times – for a lot of jobs you need those plans fast.
      2. Shipping costs – for jobs under 20 sheets, it makes all the sense in the world to go to a local shop.  They are fast and they will be less expensive for small jobs.

 

Blueprintsprinting.com is Growing!

It is with happy hearts and shining optimism that we write today to tell you all of our company’s expansion.  We have recently finalized the web programming and order routing procedures to bring our Atlanta printing facility online. Starting today we are printing and shipping out of, not one, but two large print facilities – one print floor in Salt Lake City, UT, and another large print operation in Atlanta, GA.  We could not be more excited!

This means that virtually all of our customers in the continental U.S. will now be able to have their blueprints, construction documents, and other large-format prints delivered within two business days via UPS Ground (our most affordable shipping option).  Our customers east of the Mississippi have been waiting anxiously for this expansion, and we are so happy to finally be able to offer them the same great service and quick turnaround that we have been providing to our Western U.S. customers over the past year.  Upload your pdf file, select your specifications, place your order, and your plans will arrive at your doorstep or job site within 1-3 business days.  Construction project planning and management just got that much easier!  And, this is just the beginning of the efficiencies and conveniences that Blueprintsprinting.com has planned for the design-build industries.

For customers wondering about order fulfillment, here is a quick review of our turnaround times and shipping commitment:  We will print and ship out orders placed before 11:00am the same day.  Orders from the eastern half of the United States will be routed out of our Atlanta facility and will need to placed before 11am EST to go out the same day.  Orders from the western half of the U.S. will be routed out of our Salt Lake facility, and will need to be received before 11am MST to be shipped out the same day.  Orders that come in after 11am will be shipped out on the next business day.  Have a look at UPS shipping times below, and remember we also still offer expedited shipping via FedEx.

UPS Ship Times2

Printing in the Digital Age

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The fact that printed blueprints are increasingly being replaced by BIM systems and electronic versions of construction plans has not been lost on us. Some folks have questioned the wisdom of starting a blueprinting company in this digital age. There are questions about the sustainability of printed paper products as well. Our response has consistently been that the need for hard copy plans will exist long into the foreseeable future.  As it turns out, paper may be a more environmentally conscious construction planning option than electronic. Large format printing is still important for constructions companies and architects. However, where they previously would print ten to twenty sets of plans, they are now printing one to five sets to send to the job site, or to share with contractors. Our customers – builders, architects, engineers, contractors, and subs – have often expressed the need and desire to layout a set of large format plans on the workbench, to touch, and connect with a tangible set of plans.  Being able to leaf through a full set of plans to see how the different layers of construction – from foundation, to framing, to plumbing, to electrical – all come together is something that is not as readily achievable with an electronic set of plans.  With printed blueprints, onsite contractors and subs can easily view their respective parts of the construction project in the context of the whole build.

Some have noted the cost efficiency in estimating projects using a digital platform and software.   We cannot dispute the accuracy of certain software programs in helping the contractor get costs right, but when it comes time to sub out the job, and work off of the plans onsite, most of our customers attest that is very useful to have a few hard copy sets available.  A set of our tyvek plans cannot be beaten for onsite work, and durability in all weather.  Electronic tablets just are not as accessible in the elements, or as user friendly on the job site.

Our mission at blueprintingsprinting.com is to provide an excellent printed product that is extremely convenient to order, low cost, and quickly delivered.  Ordering and receiving blueprints through our website is so affordable and easy that it negates many of the benefits of electronic plans and going digital.  However, we don’t plan to resist change or stand in the way of progress either.  We are coupling our printing services with cloud storage and a online  social network and information sharing platform for the design/build industries to make both the digital and the hard copy affordable, accessible, and convenient.

Four Reasons to Order Blueprints From Us

There are a lot of reasons to choose blueprintsprinting.com for all your construction plan and large format  printing needs.  Let’s review four of the most obvious ones….

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Price:  We beat our competition’s prices by 50 – 75%  Where else can you get Arch D (24 x36) black and white prints for just 66¢ a sheet?  Our low prices beat our competitors’ on every type of large format print, every type of paper, any binding you desire, etc.  However, don’t think that because we are inexpensive we are compromising on quality.  We use the latest and greatest printing technology to deliver high-quality, high def prints every time.  Some of our recent print projects are being hung in an art show!   We just can’t be beat!!

Convenience:  Our online platform is super user friendly and easily accessible to order blueprints from your mobile device or desktop.  You are going to really appreciate the time and hassle you save by simply uploading your plans, blueprints, and other project files to your Blueprints Printing account and placing your order through our online system.  No need to make multiple trips to the print shop or local reprographer.  We will print your documents, and ship them to wherever you need them. Super Convenient!

Speed:  Which brings us to another big selling point –  we print projects out fast!  In most cases we will print your documents the same day that you place your order.  So in most cases you can have your documents within 24 – 48 hours (depending on the time of day you place your order) with our overnight shipping option.

Multiple shipping options: Our final competitive advantage is that not only do we get prints out fast – we get them to wherever you might need them.  Our platform allows you to select multiple shipping addresses.  So you can ship your project documents to your client, your contractor, and other members of you team scattered across the country, if needs be.

Sign up at Blueprintsprinting.com today and take advantage of all the ways that we can make your life and your business run a little smoother!  Order blueprints today and see!

Printing Customer Satisfaction

color-proposalWell, things are starting to get busy at Blueprintsprinting.com.  The orders for all manner of printing projects keep rolling in.  Everyone is gearing up for a big spring construction boom.  Our customers couldn’t be happier to have found us.  They are saving time, money, and headaches by using our innovative printing services to simply upload their pdf files and order their prints – all right from their desktop or mobile device!  Plus, our high tech printers turn out some of the highest quality prints available.  In fact we recently printed some large format black & white photographs that will be hung in an art gallery in San Francisco!  Have a look at some of the customer feedback we have gotten recently:

“I am most pleased that my order has already been printed and shipped FEDEX.  Thank you for that information.

Because you gave me the tracking number, I am able to track this until it arrives, and it is expected to be delivered Monday, which is earlier than expected, thank you.

 It is refreshing and unusual for such care to be taken with a response for an order of less than $100. Please keep up the good work.

I like how your company works.   I can download my files as soon as I finish the drawings, and they show up wherever I need them.

Why would anyone spend time and gas to go back and forth with a local print shop?  (Guess that’s why the company I used before just went out of business)   Excellent job,  thank you.”

 Pete

Construction Manager

“WOW…what incredible prints…the quality of these things is beyond awesome…you folks have just gained a repeat customer!

I am going to refer you to our engineering dept…

Great job to all involved….Bravo.

More map jobs to come…fur sure”

Thanks Again,

Dave

We aim to please folks!  Thank you to all our wonderful customers.  We look forward to serving all your printing needs….. and to bringing you an awesome and innovative construction, design, and architectural software platform very soon!