Customer Q+A: Why do you charge a fee for proofs?

I often get asked why I charge $7.50 for a proof. Sometimes it’s a kindly worded inquiry, which I’m always happy to answer. Other times it’s an angry inquiry or an email telling me how outrageous it is that I charge for proofs. So for anyone who’s curious, here’s the explanation…

First, let’s take a look at what’s involved in sending a proof. I create the file like I normally would, but then instead of printing and shipping the order and being done with it, I create a jpg and upload it to my web-based proofing system. I copy and paste the customer’s order number, name, and email address into the appropriate fields, and an email is sent to the customer with a link to view and approve the proof or request changes.

Some customers receive the proof with no problem. But several customers, unfortunately, don’t receive their proofs because the emails are considered spam by their spam filters. So I also send an email directly from my email account to let the customer know that they should have received a proof, and if they didn’t, they may want to check their spam folder.

Most customers, once they’ve viewed the proof, approve it with no changes. In those cases, it’s not a very time consuming process. But some customers request one or more changes, which can become extremely time consuming, especially when they require sending additional proofs. Not knowing ahead of time how time consuming the proofing process will be for an individual customer, I charge one flat proofing fee to cover the average of how long the process takes.

For invitations and birth announcements, I always send a proof and wait for approval before printing the order. Therefore, the cost of proofing is built into the product pricing. But for all other products, which customers don’t normally require a proof for, I’ve made that cost optional rather than building it into the price. Also, if there’s ever an error in an order, I send a replacement immediately that correctly reflects the order.

Please feel free to leave a comment or contact me if you still have any questions or if there’s anything else that you’re curious about. Thanks!