When you turn in a print project to CIP for a bid, our estimator has some choices to make in their effort to get you the best possible print job for the lowest cost to you. In some ways it is like a printing puzzle; fitting together the project’s size, binding to be used, number of pages, additional finishes that happen post-printing, paper size availability, character and grain direction of paper specified, and press size. Other things that the estimator must consider are paper wastage, color conflicts on press, and the most important part of the puzzle – laying out the job in a way that will produce the cleanest and sharpest job in the end.
Given all of these variables, one can see how vital it is for the estimator to understand what the client is looking for in the finished product. Assuming that the client has conveyed that, the estimator moves ahead with laying out the job to give you an estimate. If anything changes in your specifications for the job (you choose a different paper, you need to add pages, you need a spot color) it necessitates a reworking of the estimate so you can alert your client that the final cost has changed.
When working with our estimator, you can request that certain parts of an estimate be separated from the basic printing costs. This will enable you and your client to see how much it would cost to do things like add a foil stamp or use an unusual binding technique. It might not be as expensive as you think and it might bring a huge impact to the final piece. These kinds of “cafeteria estimates” where you can put a job together by picking and choosing what is affordable can help clients and designers understand potential business impact vs actual business cost.