Printing Your Own Labels vs. Professional Printing

Should you print your own labels or use a professional printing service

When to print yourself & when to use a printing service

Are you starting a small business and you aren’t even set on your branding or your packaging yet? Or is business growth, combined with the cost of printer ink and label stock, making DIY printing no longer budget-friendly? We’re here to help you decide what is best for your situation: printing your own labels or using a professional printing service.

If you have a fledgling business or only sell a few products at a time, you don’t need large quantities of labels so printing yourself is a great option. Or if you want to test different labels on packaging to see how they look, DIY printing is a great place to start.

But, if you want professional labels or need large quantities, then you should seriously consider ordering professionally printed labels. And if you choose an experienced label company with strong customer service, you’ll have someone to guide you along the way as your business grows and you need more labels.

How to choose a label company

Custom printed roll labels and sheet labels are great for branding products and labeling packaging.

When choosing a label company, whether you want printable labels or professionally printed labels, do your research. Your product label is the first thing customers see, so you want to make sure you buy quality labels that will hold their ink, remain legible, and stick and stay put.

No matter what label company you choose, there are things you should look into before investing your money.

Research before ordering your labels

  • Reviews and referrals – Google. Everything you need to know about most companies is on the internet. If it’s not, then beware. And dig through the company reviews. See if the bad reviews are something petty or a real concern that should have you looking elsewhere.
  • Dedicated customer service – Call the companies you’re thinking about working with. Tell them what you need and see what they recommend. Are they friendly, knowledgeable, and responsive? If not, it’s time to move on.
  • Pricing – Don’t sacrifice the quality of your labels, and therefore your products and business, to save a few dollars. For example, if a company’s quote is far lower than competitors, it’s likely they’re using cheaper materials or ink. Order samples before making a decision.
  • Design tools – Many printing companies offer editing tools to help customize your product labels. Find a company that provides free templates and easy-to-use design software that makes customizing your labels a cinch.
  • Catalog size – Browse your prospective label companies’ catalogs to make sure they have a large enough selection of sizes, shapes, and materials. You want to find a label company that can offer you thousands of different shape, size, and material combinations. Many companies offer custom shapes and sizes but make sure to check if there are extra costs. Avery offers custom sizes and shapes on select materials at no extra cost.
  • Extra charges – Always check the fine print. If you’re ordering custom labels, many printing companies have hidden costs for setup, plates, and dies. Find a company like Avery that doesn’t charge extra fees.
  • Turnaround time – How fast can you get your labels? For blank labels by the sheet, you should be able to get your labels in a day or two. For custom labels, make sure and confirm lead times. Some printing companies require two to four weeks of lead time for custom labels. Others, like Avery, can get your labels delivered in as few as three business days.
  • Minimum orders – Find a printing service that offers pricing flexibility with low MOQs where you don’t have to purchase large amounts every time you order.

After your research is done

Once you’ve done your research, find the company that has everything you are looking for. Remember, a little bit higher price may be worth it for quality labels and superior customer service.

The beauty of using a label company such as Avery is that besides more than 80 years of experience as the inventor of self-adhesive labels, the company is a one-stop label shop.

You can order blank labels by the sheet that you can print yourself from home, or custom labels and stickers digitally printed on industry-leading equipment, or both. The company also offers in-store retail packs, as well as our popular free templates that make personalizing your labels a breeze.

Even better, if you start your business printing your own labels with Avery, once you’re ready to move up to professional printing, all of your designs are saved online so you can easily order the same designs custom printed.

When to print labels yourself

A printer showing Avery printable labels being printed
Printable labels are great for small quantities and on-demand printing.

Printing your own labels is a great option for small businesses that are getting into product labels or need shipping labels for the first time. Being able to print one sheet of labels at a time is a perfect way to get started. You can find the right look for your products or projects without investing a lot of money.

Another big advantage of printing your own labels is that you can print them on-demand, as you need them. This is good for inventory control and helping to keep costs down for companies with small budgets.

For instance, if you sell smaller quantities of seasonal products, printing your own labels can be a more cost-effective route. But once you start needing a larger number of labels on a regular basis, it’s probably time to consider using professional printing services.

Pros of printing your own labels

  • You can print the labels as you need them
  • It can be less expensive for short runs
  • Great for test runs and seasonal items
  • Ideal for companies just starting with small distribution

When to choose custom printing

Custom printed roll labels being printed by Avery WePrint, the professional printing service offered by Avery
Custom printing services are ideal for order special materials, larger quantities or when you want premium professional labels.

If your business is growing and you’re struggling to keep up with demand, it might be time to consider professionally printed roll and sheet labels. But make sure you check into their turnaround times. A few experienced label companies offer fast delivery in as few as three days but the majority outsource their printing, and deliveries can take two to four weeks.

Also, when printing yourself becomes a hassle, or takes too much time or ink, it’s probably time you consider custom labels. Using a label printing service provides you with professional, expert guidance to help you choose your label sizes, shapes, and materials.

For example, labels that are going to be applied to bottles of lotions or CBD oils need a different material than candle labels or wedding favors. Having an expert available to help you pick the right material can save a lot of future headaches.

Professionally printed roll labels are great for large label orders and hand or machine applications.

Roll labels

If you’re applying labels at a rapid pace, it might be time to move up to custom roll labels and purchase an inexpensive roll label applicator. This can save you time and money from having to manually print and hand label products. And if you already have your label designs saved with your printer, it’s a pretty simple process.

Pros of professional printing services

  • Less expensive for larger quantities
  • Superior printing and ink adhesion
  • More material and finish options like metallic, white ink and spot varnishes
  • Expert guidance and help (Check customer service reviews for the label printers you’re considering. Make sure you order from a label company that will be there to help if you need it.)

Mr. B’s Necessities, an Avery customer, is a great example of how a growing small business labels its products and what they’ve learned about printing and buying labels along the way.

Your reputation matters

The most important thing to remember is that your labels are the first thing everyone sees. If someone buys your product online and it shows up with a wrinkled, smeared label, chances are, even if they like your product, they won’t buy it again. First impressions are everything.

Your product labels showcase your brand, share important legal requirement and represent your company. Don’t cut corners on your reputation.

If you need any help deciding what is the best option for you, please feel free to call us at (800) 462-8379. Our Customer Care Center will be happy to help you with any label questions.

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Author: Melanie Neff

Melanie has an extensive writing background built on an impressive journalism foundation. As a journalist for USA Today and The Los Angeles Times for almost 20 years, she covered everything from the Los Angeles riots, fires and floods to LA Lakers and Clippers games and movie premieres. She followed her newspaper career with a long tenure covering commercial real estate financing and development. Melanie has currently been writing about small business marketing and labeling needs for the past 10 years. She thrives on reading, researching and expanding her knowledge of everything going on in today's business world and looks to provide the most valuable information she can to her readers.

20 thoughts on “Printing Your Own Labels vs. Professional Printing”

  1. what do i need for a lap top and what i need to do to put it on my lap top ? i would like to use Sheet# 8246 and 8379 for address and post card size. This is for a american legion in town. i would like to talk on a phone , my age is 78 and i not sure how to do this. It would make it a lot easy for me to do this with a rep from you. i will call you at your # 1 800 962 8379 to speak too you thank you James

    1. James,
      I hope you were able to get the help you need with your Avery labels by calling our Customer Care Center. Let us know if you need anything else.

  2. I like that you mentioned that seasonal items can also benefit a lot from label printing services. I will make sure to test that out when I open my of gift shop business someday. A business venture like that will surely need to take advantage of different occasions all year in order to stay relevant.

  3. I print labels for my reusable soap bottle at home using laser printer and Avery weatherresistant polyester film – they look great, no smudging, really waterproof. No complains! BUT, I’m wondering: is there a difference in DIY printed labels and those professionaly printed on a label printer ( if I order them from you)? Will they serve for longer? I mean, if there there some fundamental difference between home laser printer and professional label printer, which makes the latter superior? Thanks!

    1. Hi Olga,
      We are so happy you like our printable weatherproof labels and that they are working perfectly for your soap. As far as our professional printing service, yes, the labels are better. Our custom printed labels are printed on top-of-the-line digital printers. You cannot get better print or color quality. All of the labels get a varnish or laminate on top of the printing so you will never have smears or abrasions. You get an instant proof as soon as you customize your labels so you can see exactly how they will print. And WePrint offers many more finishes, materials and shapes and sizes than our printable labels. You can also get custom shapes and sizes at no extra charge. And obviously, when you have your labels professionally printed you save your ink and you don’t have to worry about misalignment issues or printer jams. If you’d like, you can order free samples at avery.com toward the bottom of the page, so you can see the printing and finishes for yourself. I hope this helps! Let us know if you need anything else. Thank you for reading.

  4. I need to print black circle labels for my candle tins 3″ I have a laser jet printer. Which label would you recommend. Also do you have a preferred printer for your products. I’m struggling with alignment and wasting a LOT of labels

    1. We don’t make printer recommendations, as there are so many different printers that work well with our products. Alignment issues can happen due to a variety of reasons, so please give our Care Center a call at (800) 942-8379 and one of our reps can help you troubleshoot the issue. But our 3″ blank sheet labels should work great for you. Another option is to use our custom printing service, WePrint. You can order as few as two custom printed sheet labels or thousands of roll labels. Saves you ink, time and hassle. Fast turnaround, no setup fees. And same Avery 100% guarantee. I hope this helps. Let me know if you need anything else.

  5. It’s frustrating as Avery rather recommends the PRODUCT LABEL NUMBER or the specs, measurements…so it’s exhausting at best. MAKE IT EASIER for us.

    1. Hi Dee,
      Thanks for your comments. We are always working to improve our customer experience. I’ve shared your concerns with our development team. If you have any questions or need help with our site, please reach out to our Customer Care Team at (800) 942-8379. They’re in California and are available to answer any questions. Thank you so much for reading.

    1. George,
      Avery has a great selection of labels for health and beauty products. We would recommend using one of our waterproof labels or our removable labels for best results. Both materials are water and oil-resistant. You can either order blank labels online to print yourself or we can print them for you with Avery WePrint, our professional printing service.
      If you have any questions or need any further help, please feel free to reach out to our customer care team at (800) 942-8379 or you can chat with them online. Let us know if you need anything else.

  6. I sell homemade personal care items with essential oils. Will the laser printer toner not bleed off these labels? My research has indicated I’d have to have a pigment ink printer but of course am hesitant to spend $2k+ if I my current printer will do.

    1. Anita,
      Thank you for your question. I’m not sure exactly what labels you are talking about but if you’re printing your labels yourself, then our blank film labels would be best for you. We have a variety of types including our Durable Film Labels, Waterproof Labels and Matte Clear Film and Glossy Clear Film. They are printable on laser or inkjet printers and they’re water and oil resistant. For even more variety, check out our Custom Printed Film Labels.

      Hope this helps. Please call our Customer Care Center at (800) 942-8379 if you need more help or would like to request a sample.

    1. Hi Tonya,
      We generally recommend laser printers to get the best quality print if you’re doing it yourself. Check out this article that recommends printers specifically for Avery labels. Hope this helps! Thanks for reading.

  7. I have a small business usin quarts and gallon bags what size label would i need? Also tell me if i can print them myself. Thanks Pat.

    1. Patricia,
      One of our reps is going to reach out to you by email. We need a few more specifics on exactly what you’re looking for. In the meantime you might check out our Measuring Guide to see if that helps. But check your email later today. Nichole will be reaching out to you.

      Thanks for your readership.

  8. Enjoy your products!! For years!! I just don’t have time to spend at the computer a lot, so maybe we can chat and see what will work for my small chocolate Shop. 210-383-2923 mornings are best.

    1. We’re on it. One of our awesome reps will reach out to you shortly. Thanks for reaching out!

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