Same-day printing
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same-day printing


The Ultimate Guide to Same-Day Printing: All You Need to Know

Whether it is a deadline, sudden business opportunity, slow graphics department, or just forgetting, the need for same-day printing can arise suddenly and be outside your control.  

Rush printing services that turn around jobs in one day, or in some cases a matter of hours, are not offered by all print shops.  If you have an emergency and need help, it is important to ask the print shop if they can accommodate your request for same day print service.  

But before you do that, here is some important information about same-day printing for you to consider.

What is same-day printing?

Same-day printing is 6 to 8 hour business day turn around service for a print product in a specific quantity and finish after proof approval.

Simple, but not simple.  Let’s break it down.

6 to 8 Hour Business Day Turn Around

Many print shops operate on an 8 hour day.  Like most businesses, they are closed on statutory holidays and most are also closed on weekends. 

If you are expecting to get your job completed in a day, it is important to first think about what day you want the job done and where the print shop is located.   Statutory holidays vary by country and province/state.  This can benefit you if the print shop is located in a province that does not have a stat when you do, or it can slow down production if the print shop is closed.

To qualify for same-day print services with most print shops, jobs need to be submitted prior to a deadline, often 10 or 11 am.  Same-day print jobs ordered after the deadline will be extended to the next business day.  In other words, “same-day” is defined in business hours, not the calendar.

A Specific Print Product in a Specific Quantity and Finish

When it comes to the time requited to print and finish a product, several factors come in to play. 

Specific (Type of) Print Product

Some products, like basic business cards, postcards, and advertising flyers or sell sheets, can be digitally printed in less than an hour if necessary.   Digitally printed press sheets can be handled immediately and the product quickly  moved to cutting and finishing.

Large format products, like stickers, large posters, signs, and banners take more time.  Inks need time to dry and set.  Printed media needs to cool.

You may order same-day business cards and get notification for pick up within an hour.   The machine time required an order of 1000 same-day business cards is only a few minutes.  

A large poster, though, takes much longer to set up and print.  After printing, the large sheets need to sit and cure before handling to avoid damage.  Printed vinyl is soft and flimsy at first.  It needs time to cool.

“A” Product Means ONE Type, Not (Necessarily) the Whole Order

One customer contacted me and ordered 6 coroplast signs, a 20 foot hanging  banner, 40 tent cards, and 500 flyers and wanted them done the same day.  While each product on its own can be completed same day, the combination is too much to expect to have completed within 8 hours.

This is why you most often find production time tied to a single product.  If you have an emergency need for multiple same day products, contact the print shop to see if it is doable.  If not, you may need to spread the work over multiple print shops to meet your need.

Product Quantity and Finish

Quantity and finish are super important.  The time required to print and cut 10,000 business cards or flyers is not all that much greater than that required for 1000.  The only issue for a high quantity same-day order like that may be whether or not the print shop can access or has enough of your selected paper on hand to finish the job on time.
In addition, other products have finishing steps, like folding, perforating, numbering, or binding, that can take quite a bit of time.  You will often find a note on the order page that folding, for example, adds 1 or 2 days to production time.  NCR books require printing, setting, perforation/numbering, and binding.  It takes much longer to produce each NCR book than it does to produce thousands of flyers.

After Proof Approval

Before production can start, print shops require print-ready artwork and, if a proof is requested, approval to proceed.  This can be a major factor for delay.  If the file you send is low quality or does not have bleeds, work has to be done to prepare it for work.  

That file prep can take longer than the time required for the actual printing and finishing.

It is common for print shops to send a proof to a customer and wait for several hours or days for approval.  In this case, the customer is the cause of the delay, and the commitment to complete the job “same-day” applies to the 8 hours following proof approval. 

If you don’t do your part,  the print shop may not be able to meet your need

Why Same-day Printing Costs More

Print shops that charge premium rates for same-day or rush printing services are not trying to take advantage of your situation.

In a normal work day in the print shop, jobs are grouped as much as possible.  Grouping projects keeps costs down.  The few times media and settings need to be changed, the more efficiently the print shop can operate.


Same-day jobs interrupt that flow.  Other jobs need to be delayed to accommodate the rush.  Settings made for those jobs need to be changed to accommodate your same-day job and then re-set to finish the original job later.

If the print shop is busy, employees may have to put in extra hours to meet the production schedule.

Potential Waste
When the print shop cannot group your job with others, there is potential that material will be wasted, particularly for large format jobs.  A small order may not take as much time to complete, but does tend to waste media.

A ripple effect can be caused by your request for priority service.  If the print shop needs to order paper or supplies for your job, they will need to incur rush shipping charges to meet their commitment to you.

In addition, in order to meet commitments to other customers whose jobs were interrupted, the print shop may need to pay additional shipping costs on their orders to meet the commitment to them.

Most times the customer is  asking a print shop to bail them out because they or their graphic designer have missed a deadline.  If a print shop will help, that is a huge win.  Do a bit of shopping around and you will find that many printers just won’t do it because of the cost and stress involved.

Others charge outrageously high prices.


How and Where Can I Get Same-Day Printing?

  • Check online for printer shops offering same day or x-hour turnaround.  Make sure to select on that does not add extra days to finish your product (folding, binding, etc).  
  • Look at customer reviews to see if previous customers have received fast service on their job, even non-rush orders
  • Develop an ongoing, trusting relationship with your print shop
  • Ask for help and be prepared to pay more if necessary to cover the print shop’s costs
  • ALWAYS have your graphic designer produce print-ready artwork that can be turned around quickly if you need same-day printing
  • Order the correct size and options for the artwork you upload
  • Respond immediately to any email, phone call, or proof approval from the print shop
  • Offer to break large orders up.  If you require 150 invoice books, order a more manageable number for same-day and add the others to a separate order (ask the print shop if this is the best way).
  • Avoid the need for multiple back and forth emails or phone calls with the print shop.
  • Let the print shop do the job.  Don’t constantly call to ask if it is ready yet.  They will let you know.
  • Don’t ask a printer to print same day then take a week to pick up.  Not cool, even if you are paying more

We Can Help

Laser Sharp Printing & Signs offers same-day printing services on most products.  With each product ordered, you can select the production time that has been adjusted for the selected product and quantity. 

When you choose the fastest production time, your job gets priority service and will be ready in the shortest time possible.  That may be less than the number of days showing on the order form.