CD & DVD Replication Buyer's Guide
Choosing a CD reproduction vendor
Table of Contents
The CD reproduction industry isn't heavily-regulated - any company can place an ad in a newspaper, provide a phone number, and present themselves as "CD DVD reproduction experts." However, it doesn't mean they have the necessary equipment, experience, or customer service knowledge to do a good job.
Generally, there are three types of companies that offer duplication and replication services:
1. CD reproduction brokers - Brokers work closely with you to learn what you want, then match you to the most appropriate replication company. While brokers can usually locate the lowest price, they don't emphasize customer service so you'll have to perform your own due diligence.
2. Manufacturers, part-time replicators - CD reproduction equipment manufacturers have access to the best tools, but they may have to outsource printing, packaging, and assembly work. Other businesses may provide replication as an add-on to their typical offerings. While these companies offer cost effective reproduction services, they may not provide the level of customization you need.
3. Dedicated reproduction specialists - These companies primarily focus on the complete suite of duplication and replication services and their industry experience can help you learn what works best for your business. While you'll pay a premium to work with dedicated vendors, you'll receive more direct customer service to help find the right solution.
Regardless who you work with, make sure the vendor can walk you through your options and match you with the best options to fit your needs.
Selecting the right vendor
Make sure you meet with multiple vendors before making a decision. By submitting a free request for quote for CD/DVD duplication and replication services, you can connect with up to five different CD reproduction vendors, compare their quotes and services, and select the best vendor for your business.
When you investigate vendors, look for those with experience. Longevity is usually a sign that they know how to keep customers happy. Also, since they have been in the business for a long time, they know what it takes to adapt to change in a fast-past industry.
One basic way to compare vendors is to check out their web sites. Each site should feature details on the different products and services offered, approximate turnaround times, and pricing basics. Some vendor sites even provide helpful tools like interactive demonstrations on how the replication process works or templates to easily submit your artwork. You can also see samples of finished products.
Since many vendors offer package deals for a few hundred dollars, it may be worth the investment to buy a small quantity to test the service and review the quality. You can then gauge the vendor's customer service and quality assurance policies to see if they're the right fit for larger, more customized orders.
Reputable vendors will guarantee their products and services, but not turnaround time. By promising an exact date, they would leave little wiggle room for potential problems that could emerge during production. Instead, vendors generally provide a range (3-5 days; 10-14 days, etc.) so they're not tied down to a specific date.
Never base this or any purchasing decision on price alone. Quality is almost as important as the amount you pay. One of the biggest mistakes you could make is to select a less experienced vendor simply because he offered the lowest price. You could receive a poor product that wastes time and money and damages your company's reputation. In addition, make sure to get all project details in writing so there are no surprises on your final bill.
One factor that may not be indicated in the price is the level of customer service you'll receive. Since you're entrusting the vendor with your critical information, you have to feel confident that you'll receive top customer service before, during, and after a project. Find out such things as:
- Do you provide customer service by phone? Through email or online chat? At what hours?
- Will you let me know early on if there is a problem?
- Can you provide suggestions for saving money that won't impact quality?
- What will you do for me if the work isn't up to my standards?
- Can you provide me with a list of references?