Common Bad Experiences in Printing Business in the Philippines

Common Bad Experiences in Printing Business in the Philippines

Digital age convince more Filipino to venture on printing businesses. I’m a member of different groups in Facebook under advertising solution category and I’ve seen more aspirants are coming. Most of them are asking how to start a business in the country and that is why I made a guide discussing such topic including most challenging part of starting a company by acquiring all permits needed including all types of receipts you need to be able to transact to government legally. But aside of that pre-requisite, there are far more concerns you need to understand so once you encounter in the same path, you know how to handle it well. So here are my common problem I encountered in this career.

1. Delayed payment or debt- This is common to all Filipinos. Because we have a culture of “lahat tayo may utang” well that’s right our country is in dept to US, China, etc. Of course the customers feel that they deserve the same right when it comes to debt. There is a right way to handle this. If you have read my article about not saying “No” to your client that also applies in debt. So we wouldn’t say No immediately but we need to analyze the situation. Yes delayed payment is always cons to us but if we can manage it well, this will gives you edge in the industry. Think about Indian nationals or Bombay. They are living in lending money to Filipino and yet they are making a good profit from it. So it is the way how they handle the transaction. Let’s put the same concept on our behalf.

If your clients are insisting the possibilities of delayed payment in your transaction, try to look on his or their background if they capable of paying you. You can ask them what’s the reason behind the delayed payment. In my personal experience, I give a consideration to clients that is willing to open up that payment topic right away before the production. Here you still have a chance to say yes or no. The bad part here is when you already produced their order and when they are about to pay the bills, they will say that there will be a delay. This is lose-lose situation for you. Even they made a downpayment, still you can’t use the finished product at all. Actually  at this point, you are already losing from how you actually arranged the transaction. The best thing you can do at this part is to remain professional. Do not show to them your angry face even you want to kill them right at the moment. Ask them for the exact date they are going to pay. Don’t accept the term, “sa katapusan” or next week or next month. Tell them you need an exact date and hour. Based on how sincere they are, or your past experience with this client, that will be your decision making for releasing the product. Just don’t forget that this is a lose-lose situation. Keep the product, you and your client is going to lose. Release the product, your client win and you lose. Decide. In my opinion letting to win your client over you is a good choice. Believe me, somehow this will return a good fortune for your sake. And the most important is never let the learning from this bad transaction to just go away. Learn and live with it.

That’s what we do in handling the situation. But now since we have Charge Invoice. We can turn all transactions and payment arrangement in legal terms. So failing to comply will face legal action. Here’s the reason why I really encourage everyone to apply all required receipts for their business so they have cards when it comes to legality. We spent years in this trade, and personally, I’m losing time to deal with such lose-lose situation. Don’t get me wrong. You just started, that’s fine, just charge it to your experience. But when you have years in industry and you believe that you have already learned all through out the basic operation, we need keep everything in legal term. Just a simple explanation about charge invoice. In that piece of document, your clients will indicate the date allowed for them to pay or else they will face legal action. Simple.

2. Design / Layout  Misunderstanding – Customer is always right. That’s also applies when they insist that the actual product is different from your layout or mock up. At this moment it is not important who made the mistake, the fact is that, your client is not satisfy to your work. But of course it will be worst if you are the who produced it wrong. So here again, you are in the lose-lose situation. That’s why I called it the a common bad experiences because believe me, you are going to face this scenario once you made your way in business venture here in the Philippines.

The same, you have two options here. Insist that you are right and you are not going to reproduce the item. Of course the customer will accept it especially if the deal is worth thousands. But unfortunately you will lose this client and affect your transactions in the future. So saving your money will let you lose a network. Or another option is to reproduce the order and then just charge it to your experience. I understand that this is not easy but this is the best way. Yes you are going to lose for that transaction but you are going to win the future project not only for that client but also you can use the situation as reference for your other potential customers. Here you have opportunity  to show to them how professionally you are in dealing such situation. I have learned it as Virtual Assistant. In this world, problem is inevitable and the only thing we can do is how we can handle such problem. There’s no perfect services, there is no perfect product but the way how you are going to fix it matters. If you insist that it is your customer’s fault in the first place, either you are right or wrong, you haven’t learned from the situation.

I will tell you a story based from our experience. There was a company from Manila hire our lanyard sublimation services. We did our SOP started from doing a mock up and then sending them the actual products. We sent two variations to them. Now the misunderstanding happened when they want the color blend of prototype 1 but they want the entire design of prototype 2. Me and their HR didn’t understand the complete details in terms of design. So when we shipped the product from Capiz to Manila. The HR considered it as it was how she actually meant for the design but the big boss said that he is opting for the color blend of the first prototype. So we failed to satisfy him. Without any further question aside from clarification of the design, we reproduce the entire order and ship it again to Manila. That’s was lost to us. But we keep it as archive and testimony of how we handle such situation. From the fact that we can rush the wholesale lanyard production up to how accurate we our in terms of manufacturing high quality ID lace. It was purely misunderstanding and until today our company has a good term supplying them their media needs. We already earned our loses by multiple folds by further deals we worked for them.

But of course, prevention is better than cure. That’s is why you are here. Learning from your mistake is good. But learning to someone’s mistake is wisest. And I’m willing to share to you my common problem that’s why I’m here. So for us to prevent such inconvenience, we need a documentation from the moment you are meeting their required design or layout, the terms you can finish and deliver the product, and after sales report. That was my fault. We rely too much from verbal agreement and screenshots.

When it comes to documentation, that is where the Job Order receipt will help you. I also included it in my guide about types of receipt. This is another reason why I really endorse to have you every receipt you need to operate. In Job Order it is actually for the number of pieces you need to produce. Believe me not only when it comes to design, sometimes there are also misunderstanding about the quantity of the product you are required to comply. Job Order is when your legal term indicated. This is common requirement if you are going to transact with government department. Every time you indicate a job order, you should also include the design or mock up and even the actual product signed by your clients. Joel Gariando one of the best screen artist from Iloilo taught me about putting all the expected design in the table and let your client sign it as a proof that he agreed to your proposal or mock up. So in the end you are always holding a proof or agreement instead of just purely verbal.

3. Equipment failure – This is very common not only in advertising solutions but to everyone. I can’t imagine how bad your day will be if you realize that one of your equipments are experiencing a problem especially if you are going to comply in near due date. That’s bad day. But the worst thing, specifically in advertising industry is not actually understanding the problem, hence they can’t fix it. Of course you can’t even diagnose a problem if you really don’t know that there is. I consider it as the primary problem in this industry.

Have you heard the Piso-print. How about 10 Pesos per square foot tarpaulin services? In my opinion that price is too low. I keep asking myself why they are dropping the royalty of what we are doing. Until I realized that they are not minding the that the equipment is going to fail eventually. They are not thinking that they need to save money for the maintenance or for an upgrade. This is very common in the Philippines. They are only thinking that even with a very low price they can still earn money because they thought that their equipment is going to be OK forever. Without the realization that the more they use the equipment,the more it is likely to fail, and the more they need to save money for the maintenance.

If you think that I’m telling this because I’m insecure and can’t compete with that price. Well in this industry, I know my worth. I’m confident with the quality I offer nationwide and there is nothing to compete especially with the price. I studied my price list and the system and keep it on trend that even I consider my shop to be one of the cheapest suppliers in the Philippines still I value my worth that  keep it growing for years.

I’m kindly sure about this opinion as I have basis on this fact. Try to look in your local area. Have you seen shops serving your community for a decade or several years? And yet there is no upgrade with their equipment? Look how many successful store in the your local area? We are seeing new comers but how many people got succeed in this industry. Only few yes, and those are people who value their worth. In case that you dropping the price not because of competition but you really want to reach out your customer. But think how long can you serve them with a quality services? I have experience dealing with almost all large-format printing company in Roxas City Capiz. And I’ve seen most of them in common. 1 to 2 years, they don’t have a problem. Everything is fine, they can lower their rate based on competition and how their client demanding the price. But after that years, their machine got wear out, they’ve required to undergo maintenance often. They need to change machine heads or other vital parts. It is obvious that they quality is getting sucks. And then here comes the new comer, with a new and advanced machine capable of much lower maintenance and consumption. And that’s how the wheel turns on.

So please if you are going to start a store, don’t be one of them and get trap in the same race. Remember, problem is inevitable, how you are going to handle it matters. And it will be easier to handle if you consider it earlier.

4. Unreliable Suppliers –  This is a common decision making if you are going to succeed or fail the project. Suppliers; actually I called it partners. They are my secret in this craft. Getting the reliable one will always give you edge but that is not an easy thing to do because there are lot of factors to consider. You have two options here, dealing with local suppliers which comes to be more reliable but with higher price. Or going to online and transact with direct suppliers either from Manila or even China. I will tell you, you need to understand all the risks before dealing online.  I have bad experience dealing online like most people have. I got scam by not sending my order after I made a payment. I have experienced receiving low quality raw materials even I paid for the genuine one. In our career we are very prone to these risks. Even a fake ink may ruin your entire namesake.

But again, we need to consider all those risks if we want to be successful in this industry. We can’t rely forever to a higher price from local supplier especially they are also doing the same line as yours which is another common issue in the country. You are like walking in their shadows, and you will only get what they left behind. We want the edge, we want to be ahead of this industry. And it will be only possible if we are ready to take the risk that others can’t do.

I have bad experience in this supplier, so I find a different one. Until I got those legit who will not let me compromised with my clients. I know that there are reviews and that is what I’m always doing but at this point, we have a different perspective, a different experience. But if you are with me ready to take the risk, I’m going to share it to you my suppliers in some of my other post. The fact that you are here reading, just keep doing it. Read about reviews, learn from the experience of other entrepreneur. And live with my mantra, be grateful to everyone you are transacting not only with your client but also to your suppliers. Yes they need you in their fields too, but like what I’ve said above, I call them partners because without them, I can’t never be me of what I am today.

5. Unreliable Employee – Usual in all businesses but when it comes to our industry, unreliable employee is the most annoying one. You are like taming a pet here and day by day they are getting knowledgeable to the entire operation. I’m not keeping it as a secret but an encouragement to my team. I’m always saying that it is the best thing in our industry. They are improving everyday. This is not like other occupation wherein they will remain the same after 10 years working. I want them to realize that compensation and it is a fact whether you like it or not. And that risk here is when they feel that they worth more than you give to them. This is the reality. You can ask veterans and they will say the same. Your employee will think of leaving you. So you have two options from this scenario. You are going to agree on the demand of your employee or you are going to let them leave. Now the worst thing here is if he play a vital part of your system. Like you can’t operate without him. Or he knows better than you on how the most of the things works. If that is the case, you should pick the first one, giving him what he wants.

Again prevention is always better. So from day 1, you should always be the head of your operation. You should know everything. Yes your employee is learning, and you should too. You must learn more than them because you can jump from different sectors. Unless you are going to rely on them too much which is really a bad move. To have the upper hand sometimes you need to put a boundary from giving them all you know. That’s why you need to implement a system. Here you can propagate your employee without you leaving behind despite that you do less in the physical operation of your shop.

Also don’t get trapped on doing it all alone. There is no one-man team in a business. I understand that you can do it better than anyone. I understand it is really difficult to find a reliable employee. But whatever reason you have, do not do it all alone. Because the only way for your assets to grow is to hire someone to do your work so you will have more time doing important things for the progress of your company.

I said unreliable employee and for me the above situation is the most frustrating. But the term unreliable also means a typical bad attitude of an employee. Such as they don’t have the same vision as yours, resulting they are not productive as they should be. They are not committed to your goal. And you are just an option for them because they want to have work. They are stealing your materials and intentionally wasting your assets. But these kind of employee are easy to handle because you can just fire them up the day they show you such attitude. The worst problem is what I said above, because it would take time for you to know and most of the time, it is too late to address the problem. So as an owner, do not let your guard off.

That’s the common problem I encountered. Fortunately I as embrace the learning from them day by day, I can keep minimizing of experiencing it again. If you have encounter different scenario from what I shared above, don’t hesitate to give me some advice through the comment form below. Good luck to your journey. It’s a good decision you dropped by.


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