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Watch a demonstration of the media before you buy

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How do you go about choosing vendors for your actual printing equipment? For such large purchases, it pays to travel to a demonstration site and ask to see a couple of jobs run on the exact media you hope to use. Kurt Lisk, president of Get in the Wind LLC, Pensacola, Fla., can testify to that.

“We flew from Florida to Los Angeles to meet with one firm and get a demonstration,” he recalls. “All we wanted to see was a very simple two-dimensional graphic printed in front of our eyes in the press, just to see that it was doable. But eight hours and three printers later, they still could not produce a single image for us.”

Lisk says when he initially arrived in California, he’d been ready to cut a check. All of the vendor’s promises had looked so, well, promising. But the failure of the demonstration changed everything.

“I was so unimpressed that we walked away, and we were very glad we did so,” he says. “For the amount of money you’re spending and the commitment you’re going into, you really want to be sure who you’re buying from.”

The story has a happy ending: Several months later, Lisk and his staffers attended a trade show and met a vendor they felt they could have confidence in.

“We were still convinced that it could be done,” he says. “And that’s where we met a company that could print stuff for us right there on the trade show floor.”

Jamie Swedberg is a former magazine editor and current freelance writer based near Athens, Ga.

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