Like every other expense in your business, the cost of issuing checks is something you want to carefully monitor and control. Businesses that fail to optimize their check printing and issuing practices—a source of financial neglect that is surprisingly common—will quickly find themselves experiencing profit margins that are less than ideal.
Even in a rapidly digitizing world, many different kinds of businesses will need to issue checks on a regular basis. Checks are one of the most reliable methods for securely paying essential parties, including suppliers, employees, and business partners.
While decreasing the total cost of check printing will require you to make a few active changes, it is something that every business can do. Whether you are printing and issuing ten or ten thousand checks every month, optimizing this process can help you gain an immediate competitive advantage.
In this article, we will discuss the most important things you need to know about properly managing the cost of issuing checks. By understanding how to effectively improve this component of your business, you can effectively improve your bottom line.
Understanding the Total Cost of Check Printing
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the average cost of printing checks increased by about 50 percent for large businesses (since the year 2000). This figure is significantly higher than inflation and other business expenses.
Across all businesses, the cost of printing checks can vary considerably. The average cost of printing and issuing checks is about $6, but the total range extends anywhere between $4 and $20 per check.
Using these figures, a business that issues ten thousand checks per year can potentially save $160,000 annually by making the decision to outsource. Even large, Fortune 500 companies will still be highly motivated to make this change, considering how much money is possibly available.
The total cost of printing checks will include many different components. First, there will be physical components, including check paper, ink, and envelopes. Your business may also be subject to processing fees and various ACH expenses.
If your business chooses to print its checks in-house, you will also need to pay labor expenses and pay for the cost of an industrial printer. The cost of a printer, from an accounting perspective, can be distributed across all checks being printed. However, because this is a hefty investment, many business owners will choose to outsource their check printing needs to a firm that already has the infrastructure in place.
Strategies for Reducing the Cost of Check Printing
As suggested, making the decision to optimize check printing and issuing can save your business thousands of dollars (or even more) with each passing year. Furthermore, the extreme amount of variation in check printing costs shows that wise check-printing strategies can be extremely beneficial.
Some of the top ways to reduce the cost of issuing checks include:
- Hiring a Professional Check Printing Firm: these firms can provide you with quality, personalized checks for significantly less than you’d be able to purchase on your own. They also typically offer related services, including address cleansing, statement printing, and other components of payment processing.
- Purchase Check Printing Materials in Bulk: by purchasing ink, envelopes, and stock paper in bulk, you will be able to decrease the total cost of printing a check. Learn more about bulk check printing in this guide.
- Negotiate with Banks: contrary to what you may have assumed, some of the costs of payment processing can be effectively negotiated away. By negotiating with your bank, you may be able to waive fees and reduce the total cost of check issuing.
- Develop a hybrid system: unsurprisingly, many checks are now issued digitally. Digital checks, while sometimes complicated, can eliminate the material expenses that come with issuing paper checks. Because of this, many business owners will make the decision to develop a hybrid system that uses both paper and digital check printing solutions. Your check printing partner may be able to help you create a digital checking portal that makes it easy to track all payments. You may also be interested in using an automated check printing software.
Each of these actions can help make the cost of issuing checks considerably more manageable. Employing multiple strategies at once will put your business in a position to succeed.
Finding the Right Check Printing Partner for your Business
Clearly, one of the best ways to reduce the cost of check printing checks (and other payment processing functions) is to outsource and hire a firm that specializes in this area. Companies such as Smart Payables have the infrastructure in place needed to keep the marginal cost of issuing checks low without making any sacrifices to quality. In fact, because of the expertise these firms provide, the quality of the check (including personalized features such as your business’ logo and preferred fonts) usually increases.
With many different outsourced payment processing firms to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. Conducting a preliminary interview and learning more about the check issuing process can help you get a better understanding of what your experience might be like.
By clearly identifying your check printing needs, creating a budget, and bundling multiple services together, you should be able to find the perfect fit. Look for a firm that is willing to answer your questions, has experience working with businesses similar to your own, and is willing to answer all of your questions. The best outsourced payment partners will happily explain the nuances of the process and put your business in a position to succeed.
Conclusion – Managing the Cost of Check Issuing
On average, printing and issuing a check will cost your business anywhere between $4 and $20. If your business’ current check issuing practices are near the upper end of this range, you are probably looking for ways to decrease this common expense. By outsourcing and hiring a check printing expert, your business can gain the competitive advantage its been looking for. While this represents just one change for your business, it is a change that is sure to have a lasting, positive impact.
Smart Payables offers outsourced check printing, document and statement mailing, and much more. For more information about online check printing, or to get a quote, contact our experts by calling (720) 287-0030.