4 Simple Ways to Reduce Custom Label Costs

By Kevin Crimmins on October 11, 2018

Simple Ways to Reduce Custom Label Costs

Who doesn’t want to save money on their custom labels? Every penny you can shave off of the cost of your labels is a penny you can reinvest into your business. But is there really any wiggle room on label costs?

Some businesses make the mistake of focusing solely on price instead of label performance. The irony is that this often leads to having to replace labels that simply don’t have the quality needed – which means these businesses wind up paying more in the long run. On the other hand, focusing solely on label quality may mean missing viable opportunities to trim costs.

But a few smart changes, multiplied across your entire run of labels, can lead to big savings without adversely impacting performance.

Here are five of the best ways you can reduce the cost of your custom product labels:

1. Be Open to Different Ideas

You know how you want things to look. But opening yourself up to suggestions could result in considerable savings.

Perhaps your labels are just a bit outside of commonly tooled dimensions. Being flexible on sizes can allow your label vendor to work with tooling they already have, which will increase efficiency and reduce costs.

Or, maybe you’ve requested spot color for a portion of the label that isn’t a brand color. If certain colors don’t need to be perfectly on-brand, that opens up the opportunities for less costly processes.

Ask your label printer if there are small changes you can make to your labels that will save you money. Those tiny changes may add up to considerable savings

2. Match the Material to the Application

Is your label over-performing? We’ve always been advocates for choosing labels that hold up to the rigors of use and exposure. But not every label application calls for the highest-grade materials.

For example, it’s usually fine to make shipping labels out of paper. Paper labels may not be as durable as film labels, which are manufactured from plastics like polyester or propylene. But for applications such as shipping labels that’s perfectly okay. These labels generally don’t need to survive past one shipment. In some cases, paper is even preferable: Thin paper labels that tear easily can be more difficult to tamper with.

However, if you need your label to withstand punishing conditions and rough treatment (such as what a beer bottle must endure), film labels may be worth the extra cost.

The point here is that expensive isn’t necessarily better. Instead, focus on what you need your label to do.

3. Rethink Your Label Format

As your labels come off the press, how they are cut can have a significant impact on cost. 

For example, it’s almost always more affordable to print labels on rolls rather than cut them into singles. This is because it takes two pieces of tooling to cut singles versus the one piece it takes to cut rolls. When you think of rolls of labels, you may think of giant strips of thousands. But rolls can be cut as small as 100 labels or fewer.

Even roll position – where your label is oriented on the roll – can reduce waste, increase efficiency, and lower costs.

Of course, rolls may not be appropriate for your use — perhaps you plan to distribute your labels to your technicians in the field, in which case single labels will be more efficient for them. Still, it’s worth having the conversation with your custom label vendor, to see what options might help you reduce costs.

4. Buy Labels in Bulk

Custom product labels are like almost everything else in life. The more you get, the cheaper they are. Ask your label printer about prices for multiple quantities. You might be surprised to see how little you'll pay to double the quantity of an order.. This can be a great option if your brand doesn’t frequently change up the look of your labels, or for items like safety labels, which rarely change in appearance.

If you can’t spare the storage space for a large stock of labels, your label printer may even offer to store your surplus labels — for a small fee — until you need them.

One of the best things you can do to save money on your custom labels? Make sure you’re working with a reputable and experienced label printer.

Some have access to certain printing technologies others lack. Some have more expertise and experience than others. Some have materials, adhesives, and inks in stock that others have to order on-demand.

A high-quality label printer will apply their expertise and resources to ensure you get the highest-performing label for the lowest cost.

Learn to ask the right questions as you shop for a label printer with our free Custom Label Buying Guide.

Download our FREE Label Buying Guide

Tags: Understanding Labels, Label Design