Printing Your Own Labels vs. Professional Printing

Printing Your Own Labels vs. Professional Printing

When to Print Yourself & When to Order Custom Labels

Are you just starting a small business, maybe you aren’t even set on your branding or your packaging? Or is business growth, combined with the cost of printer ink and label stock, making DIY printing no longer the most budget-friendly way to label your products?

If you have a fledgling business or only sell a few products at a time, you don’t need large quantities of labels on hand. Or if you want to test out different labels on packaging to see how they look, then printing your own labels can be a great place to start.

But, if you want professional-looking labels right from the start then you should seriously consider ordering custom printed labels instead of printing them yourself. And if you choose an experienced label company with strong customer service, you’ll have someone to guide you along the way.

Other situations where a professional printer makes the most sense:

  • You need a large number of labels (100+)
  • You’ll be spending more than $200
  • You need a custom shape or an exact color match

How to choose a label company

Custom printed roll labels and sheet labels for branding products like lotions and craft beer.

When choosing a company to buy your labels from, whether you want printable blank 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 and stick and stay put.

No matter what label company you choose to order your labels from, there are a few things you should look into before investing money into your product labels.

Things to check before ordering labels:

  1. 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.
  2. Dedicated customer service – Call the companies you’re thinking about working with. Tell them what you need and see what they recommend and how they can help you whether you’re buying blank labels to print yourself or custom labels. Are they friendly, knowledgeable and responsive? If not, you might want to move on.
  3. Pricing – Make sure to never sacrifice the quality of your labels, and therefore your products and business, to save a few dollars. If one company’s label quote is far below the others, it’s likely they’re using cheaper materials for their label stock or lower quality ink on custom printed products to keep costs low. Order samples before making a decision.
  4. Design tools – Many printing companies offer editing tools to help customize your product labels. Since editing designs can be a hassle, find a company that provides free templates and easy-to-use design software that makes customizing your labels a cinch.
  5. Catalog size – Browse your prospective label companies’ catalogs and make sure they have a large enough selection of sizes, shapes and materials for what you’re looking for. You want to find a label company that can offer you thousands of different shape, size and material combinations.
  6. Extra charges – Check the fine print. If you’re ordering custom labels, many printing companies have hidden costs for setup fees, or charges for plates and dies. Find a company like Avery that doesn’t charge extra fees.
  7. Turnaround time – How fast can you get your labels? For blank labels by the sheet, it’s as easy as a few clicks and your labels are on the way 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, where others like Avery, can get your labels delivered in as few as three business days.
  8. 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.

Once you’ve done your research, find the company that has all three, or the best balance of the three. 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, 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. On top of that, the company also provides its popular free label templates that make personalizing your labels a breeze.

So if you start your business printing your own labels with Avery, once you’re ready to move up to professional printing you can use the same label designs and order custom labels from Avery WePrint.

When to print labels yourself

A printer showing address labels being printed on Avery blank labels by the sheet are available in 25 materials.

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. If you sell smaller quantities of seasonal products, for instance, printing your own labels can be a more cost-effective route.

But once you start needing a large number of labels on a regular basis, it’s probably time to consider professional label 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 up with small distribution

When to choose custom printing

Custom printed roll labels being printed by Avery WePrint, the professional printing service offered by Avery

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. And 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 professional printer, it’s a pretty simple process.

Another benefit of using a label printing service is the professional, expert guidance they can offer you when choosing your label sizes, shapes and materials items. Labels that are going to be applied to bottles of lotions or CBD oils need a different material than candle labels or wedding favors for example. Having an expert available to help you pick the right material can save a lot of future headaches.

Pros of using professional printing services

  • Less expensive for larger quantities
  • Superior printing and ink adhesion
  • More material and finish options like metallics, white underprinting and other embellishments
  • 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.

11 Comments

  • Takele George at 9:01 pm

    Need labels for my own hair growth products

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      Melanie Neff at 8:27 am

      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.

  • Anita Cole at 8:28 am

    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.

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      Melanie Neff at 10:36 am

      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.

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      Melanie Neff at 3:17 pm

      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.

  • Patricia Allen at 10:59 am

    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.

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      Melanie Neff at 11:09 am

      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.

  • Cathy Locke at 9:37 am

    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.

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      Melanie Neff at 9:54 am

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

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