Monday, January 7, 2013

Printers Establish New Trade Association

If you're currently a member of NAQP/NAPL but dissatisfied with the services they provide or their high dues structure you now have a choice - The National Print Owners Association, Inc. (NPOA).
NPOA is a brand new trade association designed to meet the needs of printers in the $250,000 to $4,000,000 range. The association was started at the grass roots level in the fall of 2012 by a group of 19 printers from across the country.
What first began last fall as just an idea for getting together socially to discuss common problems quickly evolved into a more formal desire to possibly create a brand new association providing services similar to what the "old" NAQP used to provide.
The new association had what is called in the restaurant industry a "soft opening" on December 21, 2012 when it launched its brand new web site. In the next 16 days, more than 130 printing firms from all across the country decided to take a chance and send in their application. More firms continue to join every week.
From my perspective, this new association is "just what the doctor ordered." For a long time now, I have been terribly disappointed by the continued inability of NAQP/NAPL to fully understand what our segment of the industry was all about. They admitted as much at a recent strategic planning meeting held last fall, when NAPL Leaders openly admitted they had really dropped the ball when it came meeting the goals established during the merger talks between the two associations in 2006.
In my opinion, six years is far too long to wait for a trade association to get its act together. After dealing with the NAQP/NAPL staff for more than six years, I can report that for the most part, the officers and staff still haven't the faintest understanding of what distinguishes "small commercial/quick printers" from the rest of the crowd.
Now that there is an alternative, I encourage you to seriously consider joining this new association. I urge you to visit the NPOA site ( and read as much as you can, including the introduction and the many testimonials provided by the founders. Read some of the reasons these individuals these individuals gave for starting this new association and see if you don't agree that NPOA might be just the organization for you!
For further information, you might want to visit my website at, where I will be posting a new column titled, "Six Years Later NAQP/NAPL Merger a Failure!"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

NAPL/NAQP Membership Way Down!

Based upon information I have obtained about what transpired at the NAPL Strategic Planning Session held in early December, the total combined membership is now in the 1,100 to 1,200 range (excluding manufacturers, advertisers, etc.) for both organizations - NAPL/NAQP.
That is significantly down from the 3,200 claimed in 2006 when the merger was finalized.
They (executives at NAPL) openly admitted that they did not understand our market and admitted they had done a "poor job," and have been foundering for six years. "We realize we have really messed up," was another comment.
Plans now are to divide NAPL into three segments, each with a separate Executive Director... the segments being Research, NAQP and NAPL. Staff members also admitted they had no reliable way of distinguishing NAQP members vs. others, other than by dues brackets. Best estimate as to the number of original NAQP members is now in the 480 range, although even then no one knows for sure.
That is down about 50% from what what brought into the fold in 2006, and about 85% less than the 4,500 members when the association was at its peak in the early 1980's.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

NAQP Pricing Study Delayed?

Apparently, if you're waiting on your copy of the NAPL/NAQP Pricing Study you may have to wait a few more days.... some strange signals being given out...
At first, it was promised to be available to participants by Graph Expo, but so far none of the participants have received their copy. When queried as to when it should be expected, NAPL is telling callers it is being printed & mailed as we speak? Maybe outsourced to China? In any event, if you call and attempt to order you are told it should be available by the end of the month!
You might take a very serious, close look at soem of the numbers they are claiming for participation. It just sounds fuzzy to me. I suspect someone has been playing around with the numbers but I cannot prove that.... it would be nice for NAPL to release the list of qualified participants, because that would surely clear up any speculation as to whether they have "cooked" their participation lists to make their survey look better than it is. Being able to track their participation rates, including names and addresses for the first 12 days of the survey (due to a gaping hole left in the survey) makes any subsequent claims as to participation levels somewhat suspect! How you jump from 14 participants to 285-290 in just a few short days is beyond my 25 years of experience conducting similar surveys.
What about the 2012-2013 Quick Printing Industry Pricing Study? More than 60 days ago participants were promised the study would be released and distributed to participants on or before Oct 12th, and guess what? The study was released on October 12th just as promised.
If you would like to order the "real" pricing study all you have to do is visit our main web site at: and then follow the appropriate links. You can also visit a page containing various graphs and charts extracted from the study.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Executive Salaries Produce Low ROI for Members

Overpaid or Underworked???
By now you've probably heard about many members of NAQP griping about the salaries being paid to top executives at NAPL and wondering what do the members get for their dues, especially in light of the fact that most of the key industry studies, if and when published, are only done so after securing sponsorships from vendors in the industry such as Xerox, Canon, KM and others.
Here's a look salaries paid to the top six executives at NAPL according to IRS form 990 filed for the calendar year 2010:
  • Joeseph Truncale, Pres/CEO...    $349,432
  • Timothy Fischer, SR. VP...       $217,557
  • William F. Woods, SR. VP...      $186,081
  • John Hyde, VP Consulting...      $202,108
  • Andrew Paparozzi, VP/Chf. Econ.  $181,195
  • Michael B. Philie, VP Conslt.    $178,812                
                           Total... $ 1,315,185

You would think a team this highly compensated would go out of their way to assist and reach out to members, answer their questions and produce conferences that folks would rave about, but such is not the case at NAPL/NAQP.
Many NAQP members are simply throwing up their hands in disgust asking exactly what is the association doing on their behalf? With less than 80 companies turning out for the latest NAQP Owner's Conference in Chicago, you would think the association would be desparately reaching out to members asking them how they can improve their services, but such does not appear to be the case. Maybe they are surveying in secret!

The Only Pricing Study that Printers Trust

As you may know, there are two industry pricing studies available for sale right now… the 2012-2013 Quick Printing Industry Pricing Study (the one published by QP Consulting, Inc. for more than 25 years), or the over-priced and statistically questionable pricing study available from NAPL/NAQP!
All I can tell you is if order the 2012-2013 Quick Printing Industry Pricing Study you will be getting the same high quality, statistically accurate, and super comprehensive pricing study that you and others have come to respect for more than 25 years! Remember too, our study is sold with a no-questions asked, 100% money-back guarantee if you are not totally satisfied with our publication.
Plus, if you order our study you’ll pay only $179, not the inflated $249 established for NAPL’s Pricing Study. You see, we price our studies as competitively as possible in order to get them in the hands of as many printers as we can. Consequently, if you order our study, the one published by QP Consulting, Inc. (my company), you will already be saving 28% as opposed to their published retail price. Plus, you’ll be getting so much more in terms of size, expertise and statistical accuracy… benefits you simply won’t get if you decide to go with the “other study.”
Remember too, that NAPL/NAQP has priced their study not on the basis of content and value, but rather to simply convey what they believe is a higher perceived value. On numerous occasions, I was told they really didn’t care about special sales or discounts or even increasing raw sales, since they have no out-of-pocket expenses to worry about…. They always get someone else with “deep pockets” like Xerox* to pick up the tab. NAQP/NAPL is just as happy to have another publication to put up on their shelves. Whether it sells or not isn’t a major concern. It’s simply “chicken-feed” for them, especially so when they have sponsors picking up the tab.
It’s your choice. Purchase the real Pricing Study from the same publisher that has been publishing this study for more than 25 years, or pay almost 40% more and purchase the “newcomer” on the block. Go here for more details and sample charts and graphs.

*I sometimes find myself feeling sorry for Xerox and other companies that are often pressured to pick up the tab for industry studies without knowing much about their structure, distribution or accuracy. Associations often turn to these vendors because they know they have deep pockets and $XXX to commit towards industry education. I have also found myself wondering over the years what are member dues used for other than to pay executive and administrative salaries, since they never seem to be used to fund industry research.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

NAQP Owner's Conference - Last Hurrah!

Rumors are rampant that NAQP/NAPL is already seriously considering dropping its annual NAQP Owner's Conference in 2013. The reasons are simple - a dismal turnout of only 79 NAQP members. If you count spouses and partners the number comes in at 89. In either case a number that is so poor that it will clearly lead to a lot of finger pointing within the association.
Even if you included vendors, officers, suppliers, speakers and even janitors, the total list of attendees was only 141 - put simply it was a miserable turn-out!
You know things are getting bad when you include six officers from the sponsoring organization in your "Official" attendance Roster.
Some folks both within the organization and without are already calling for "throwing in the towel" while others are questioning the experience or lack thereof of Mitch Evans, NAQP's Managing Director. Some folks claim Mitch is simply riding the gravy train while it lasts, while others say he means well, but is just in over his head.
Nonetheless, the numbers don't lie. NAQP had a turnout twice as large at its first meeting in Denver in the early 1980's.
The turnout for 2012 in Chicago is a pathetic reflection on how poorly the association is doing under the NAPL umbrella.
More thoughts on this later, as well some options you might want to consider in 2013.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bored With Printing - Update on Hip Replacement

I think I set a new hospital record or sorts with my hip surgery. I went into surgery around 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday of last week and was standing outside the hospital with my walker standing over to the side on Friday at 10:30 a.m.
The doctor was great, the orthopaedic hospital looked more like a high end Hyatt, and the occupational and physical therapists were fantastic. I had the newer anterior total hip replacement and the normal recovery time is about half the time with few if any muscles requiring to be cut.
Once the OT showed up Thursday morning and showed me how to move and swivel my right leg off the side of the bed, which up until that point I was convinced was permanently paralyzed due to the nerve block they gave me, it was all over as far as keeping me in bed eating hospital food.
The PT's showed up and were in total shock when they walked into the room a few minutes later and discovered that I was already practicing on my own using the walker, they said, "Ok smart ass, show us what you can do without killing yourself," and they walked me to one of the hospitals large concrete staircases (as opposed to those little playhouse 3-step staircases they use in physical therapy, and said show us what you can do. I walked up and down 12 stairs, and that was about it. I was discharged Friday morning. It actually could have been Thursday evening but for all the paperwork that is involved.
I don't want to make light of it, or to sound like I am bragging, but I am proud. It is a serious operation but the stars were aligned and I was mentally prepped for the operation. And the two occupational therapists I had, plus the two PTs, were very encouraging that I should take charge of my own recovery.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hip replaced & back to pricing study

Hi everyone,

To be honest, even I did not think the total hip replacement would go as smooth as it did.
I went ino surgery at approximately 11:30 a.m. Wed. and I was in recovery around 2 p.m. And then up to my room shortly thereafter.
The next morning (today), I was convinced my right leg was paralyzed permanently since I could not feel it or move it. I guessed that was the reason I didn't see a soul until around 10 a.m.... They were simply afraid to tell me.
Finally, the OT comes in with a walker and teaches me all the tricks for getting out of bed... I told her I was paralyzed and she just laughed. As soon as she left I used the walker and was standing there when the two PTs came to the room. One of them said he had never seen a patient moving around like
I was so soon after surgery. That made me feel great.
I go home tomorrow and I know I have lots of work remaining... At least now I can jump back on the pricing study like I never left.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Just Having Fun With Pricing Survey

I am not sure why, but I have so much fun working on huge spreadsheets, and I certainly have one on my hands... the 2012-13 Quick Printing Industry Pricing Study spreadsheet is approximately 246,400 cells in size, and is packed with data most printers can utilize as soon as they receive it.
As we have done in the past, we are leaving nothing to chance, providing you with averages, medians, majority high, majority low, as well as tables that provide total prices as well as unit prices.
There are a few surprises in the placement of digitial color copiers, both for primary copiers as well as second (backup) copiers but we will leave that alone for right now...
As I get closer to the end, I will be posting on here as well as my normal Quick Consultant Column some graphs, charts and sample data for you to puruse until the study is published.
I am trying to squeeze in a 50th high school reunion and a total hip replacement, all in the next eight days... that should prove exciting.
For those of you who have had hip replacements in the past, I am having an anterior replacement and I am assured the recovery will be much faster and the operation itself a lot less painful. Being a "wus" for pain that suits me well.
If you want to take advantage of a pre-publication special price of $143 be sure to visit my web site at: before Oct. 12, 2012.

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Update on Industry Pricing Study

We've just completed spending 36 hours cleaning up survey data and will begin tomorrow extracting data from the 2012-2013 Quick Printing Industry Pricing Study.
Save 20% with Pre-Publication Offer - The new study goes on Pre-publication sale tomorrow at $143.
Publication Date - The study will be released on Oct. 12th, if not sooner, so between now and then printers can save 20% off the retail price of $179. Visit for details on how to order. If you wait until after it is released, you will be charged the full retail price of the study.
We could have charged a lot more and justified that price, but we want to make sure that everyone who didn't participate wasn't being gouged with prices in the $229 range and higher.
You can buy our study without breaking the bank and without having to sell-off one or two of your grandchildren!
Excellent Data - The data we are getting is the best ever, although it takes a tremendous amount of time pulling it all together and using both automated and manual methods for clarifying and/or correcting bad data.
Doing it Right or Throwing it Together - You can't throw together a pricing study and report accurate data to the industry at large without knowing all the tricks of the game, and without a lot of experience to boot, and that's exactly what NAQP/NAPL lacks - experience publishing pricing studies. To be blunt, they are destined to make a lot of mistakes at your expense. Their turnout has been low, with some questions receiving only a handful of answers. Insiders report that at one point they actually considered cancelling their survey because of poor turn-out.
Don't Get Me Wrong - NAPL has an excellent, widely respected team of economists working on staff and I admire their work. Unfortunately there is a world of difference between studying and reporting economic trends and studying and reporting industry pricing trends. In fact, no matter how they try to color it, they shouldn't be even attempting such a project.
No Expertise - These folks just don't have the expertise to know what data should be included and what should be excluded or modified. If you don't know where you are going, you're not going to no what adjustments and corrections are required to produce an accurate pricing study. Plus they are under tremendous pressure to get this study published (that's what they promised) by Graph Expo which is less than three weeks away.
Hold Off on Buying or Making Key Decisions - With 25 years of experience producing Pricing Studies in this industry, I take great pride in producing the most comprehensive, most accurate pricing studies in the industry, and I don't want folks to be misled accidentally and making pricing decisions based upon any data released by NAQP/NAPL - At least not until you've had a chance to thorough examine our publication.
100% Money-Back Guarantee - Best yet, our study, like all of our studies, is offered on a 100% money-back guarantee. If you are not totally satisfied that our study delivers what it promises then simply return it within 7 days and we will issue an immediate refund - that's how confident we are about our new 2012-2013 Quick Printing Industry Pricing Study. 

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

NAQP Violates Confidentiality of Participants


First, If you participated in my 2012-2013 Quick Printing Industry Pricing Survey, I want to sincerely thank you for your efforts and trust.

Second, if you participated in NAQP's Digital and Wide Format Pricing Survey, or are considering taking advantage of their recently extended Sept. 17th deadline, you need to think again.

When you receive your free copy of their study, or start to enter your data because of the deadline extension, you need to seriously consider THREE KEY FACTS.

(1) Launched on Aug. 17, 2012, NAQP's Pricing Survey violated the most basic of all survey tenets, and that is to test thoroughly before launching - i.e "First, do no harm."

They didn't do that, and as a result for the first 17 DAYS the survey was on line every bit of confidential information including names, annual sales volume and of course pricing was available for viewing by both participants and even casual observers.

That means that if you participated in this survey, everyone, including possible competitors, could see the answers to each of your questions, including your sales, email addresses, and your answers to hundreds of questions.

With almost 30-year's experience in this industry, I believe this was an inexcusable error for a major trade association. Furthermore, I place 100% of the blame on the association and not the survey company that produced their survey. They may try to pass the buck, but their excuses simply won't pass the "smell" test. They screwed up and did it royally!

It is up to the client conducting the survey to decide what shall be visible and what is not. There are times when you might want certain information available and displayed so this type of window or backdoor is always available, but it needs to be exercised with caution and it is up to the association to exercise this caution by taking their own survey before releasing it to the public. Obviously, NAQP, in its rapid rush to distribute and publish a pricing study in competition to my own, released their study without ever thoroughly checking it over.

(2) The only good news for NAQP (if there was any) is that the rate of response was so poor up through the first 17 days fo the survey that it came as no surprise they decided to extend the deadline. While the release of confidential data is inexcusable, in only affected a relatively small number of printers!

How small? By Sept. 3rd, NAQP had received a GRAND TOTAL of only 53 surveys, with 21 or more companies skipping a significant number of questions.

(3) Large Format Questions Receive Lowest Response - When NAQP released its competing survey they defended it by noting that it covered Large Format Printing, something our pricing study didn't cover. Well guess what section got the most dismal response? - Large Format. I todl them that would happen. In fact, according to data we obtained, approximately 60-65% of their participants never even answered the questions on Large Format.

What does that mean? Well when you start of with 53 surveys submitted, and only 35% or so choose to answer questions on Large Format, that means in some cases less than 18 firms are providing answers upon which you will base your report to the industry! Folks, that's just too little data upon which to base a study. Knowing survey data as I do, NAQP will be forced to correct or delete at least 4-5 of those 18 answers so the reliability of the data will continue to plunge. If you decide to read this report, do so after taking a few grains of salt. You will need it!

With only six days to go before the end of their originally posted deadline, it shouldn't have come as any surprise to anyone that they decided on Sept. 6th to extend their survey deadline to Sept. 17th. Now, it's possible many more surveys will come pouring in in the next 7 days, but in my experience that is highly unlikely.

Why? Because NAQP is not only inexperienced conducting pricing and benchmarking studies, but they also lack basic marketing skills to take on a project such as this. It will be interesting to see how they try to put a good face on all of this, especially the violation of confidentiality, and attempt to create a "silk purse" out of a "sow's ear."

Based upon my experience in this industry, any increases in participation levels they receive in the last seven days of an extension will remain modest, and they will still end up with a relatively small amount of data replete with many questionable entries.

Of course after revealing the above, it will be interesting to note whether NAQP decides to even publish this study considering the low rate of return. If they do go ahead and publish it, I assume they will report what all good surveys do and that is the "N" number for surveys submitted, as well as the "N" number for at least individual sections, if not individual questions.

If I was one of those 53 firms that submitted their survey by Sept. 4th, I would be pissed at how irresponsible NAQP was in the handling of my data, and second I would demand my money back! Oh wait, you didn't have to pay so that option is out. Of course, you could invoice the association for the time spent completing the survey but that would be a bit too much!

Check my web page in the next couple of days to read my latest column on this association fiasco!

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Monday, August 27, 2012

NAPL Bans Lifetime Member from List Serv

NAPL Bans Consultant

Wouldn’t it be neat if you could flick a wand and all your competitors would just go “poof!” Well, it looks like that’s exactly what NAQP/NAPL is trying to do by banning me from the NAQP list serv.

According to Mitch Evans (Managing Director of NAQP), I have been officially banned from posting to the NAQP List Serv. I was banned for what Mitch termed was, “an inappropriate post.”

The post that resulted in my banning was titled, “Adventures in Surveying – A humorous break!” It was posted on 8-21-12 at about 5:30 p.m. If you are a member of NAQP/NAPL you'll have to look that email up yourself since it is too long to append to this blog.

I didn’t actually realize I had been banned until Friday when I went to post a very informative article that had nothing whatsoever to do with pricing surveys but rather in learning how to deal with stress in the printing industry. It even included a fascinating 1-minute survey that readers could take.

Within minutes, with no prior warnings or emails from NAQP, I received the following message:
----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
(reason: 550 Sorry, (headers) is not allowed to send mail to

I couldn’t believe it, I quickly dashed off an email to Mitch asking what was all this about, and he confirmed that I was banned and this decision was supported by everyone at NAPL. I still wonder if this meant that he had checked with the NAQP board, but I already know that he didn’t.

Oh, Mitch did mention another reason for banning me… “We do not allow industry vendors or consultants to post anything that can be construed by our members to help sell themselves.” Ok, I plead guilty, but I’ve been doing exactly that ever since the first NAQP list went live.

I am awaiting a call from NAPL headquarters so that's all the news I can share with you at this moment.


Quick Consultant's BP Hits 188/100!


Dear Fellow Printer,

No, I’m not kidding about the blood pressure. The nurse who took it last week asked me if anything was wrong, and I said “Yes” and was then tempted to ask her if she would complete a pricing survey that I am conducting.

I refuse to rely on nurses and guys mowing our lawn to complete the 2012-2013 Quick Printing Industry Pricing Survey, but in order to do that I really need your help!

You’ve most likely completed or seen one or more of the many surveys I have published in the past, and you know the valuable information they contain, and that’s why I am once again asking you for your support. I can’t do surveys like these without your help.

You’re not going to find out the critical answers to questions like these anywhere else, and the answers can affect your future profits:

• What digital printers are folks using to produce 4C envelopes
• More important, how do they rate these devices?

• More printers are turning to 2nd and 3rd digital printers – what are they choosing?
• How much are printers charging for variable data postcards?
• What are printers charging for today’s six most popular binding services
• What has changed in the pricing of popular 1-C and 2-C products like NCR, letterheads?
• How many printers broker out business cards as opposed to printing them in-house and what are they charging.

You’ll find the answers to these and dozens and dozens of other critical questions about pricing, and you can get all of this information absolutely FREE – All you have to do is visit our web site, complete the worksheet we provide, and then return you electronic survey no later than the Sept. 5, 2012 Deadline! What could be simpler?

Our Special Web Site:

We won’t hide the fact that this survey is longer than most, BUT we’ve liberalized our rules regarding completion. Fill-out those sections most appropriate to your operation, give us your help on a couple of other sections, and you will receive, as you have in the past, a copy of the 2012-2013 Quick Printing Industry Pricing Study absolutely FREE!

I appreciate the fact that your time is both limited and valuable, but I will personally guarantee that you will you will truly appreciate and applaud the value of the study you will receive.

Please visit, download the PDF worksheet, return your survey by the Sept. 5, 2012 Deadline. I am counting on your support more than ever. Please don’t let me down.

Thank you so very much for your help.

John C. Stewart
QP Consulting, Inc.
2110 S. Dairy Road
W. Melbourne, FL 32904

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Pricing Survey Expanded

2012-2013 Quick Printing
Industry Pricing Survey
All good industry studies start off with great input provided by previous participants, and this year's 2012-2013 Quick Printing Industry Pricing Survey does just that. These are just a few of the new additions we've incorporated into the new survey:

  • Identifying & Rating 2nd (back-up) Color Printers

  • Variable Data Charges and Pricing

  • Discounts Used for Aggressive Pricing (revised)

  • Pricing for Digital 4C Envelopes and Devices Used

  • In-Line Booklet Making Charges on Digital Printers

  • Pricing for Industry's Six Top Binding Methods

  • Expanded Business Card Pricing

  • Scoring and Creasing Charges for Digital Products

Visit our landing page for addtional details on participating.
CAUTION: The deadline for submitting your survey is Sept. 5, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

No Computerized Estimating - Shocking!

I'm working on one of three valuations this week, and one of them has really shocked me.

This company is thinking of selling and during my discussions with the owner we started talking about pricing. Just in passing, I asked him what estimating system he was using. I expected him to tell me Printer's Plan, PrintPoint Leader (formerly PrintLeader), PrintSmith or one of the other less known programs.

Instead, much to my shock and amazement, he told me he does all the estimating by hand based upon rates and charges that are in his head. "Surely, you have your basic estimating rates written down," I asked, and he said, "Nope!"

"How the heck do you expect to sell this business, especially to a newcomer when you don't have your pricing, estimating and invoicing already automated. Do you realize how much more it is costing you and how much more money you could be putting in your pocket just by computerizing those function in your company?"

Gee, I was starting to sound like a salesman for one of these companies. This will be one of the few valuations where I will actually break precedent and use some negative numbers in the valuation sheet that I use to arrive at an "excess earnings" multiplier.

Every once in a while I will find someone using an outdated Franklin Pricing Catalog, but for the most part it seems like 95% of the companies I deal with have at least installed a computerized estimating system.

It has been a long time since I have encountered someone who is so out of touch with the industry that he has chosen to use pencil, paper and calculator to figure his prices. At one point, he even mentioned that he hasn't raised his prices on some items in 3-4 years because it was too much of a hassle.

Instead, he refers to little post-it notes, charts and tables he prepared years ago, as well as a lot of data that is indeed just stored in his head. His markup rates for outside services and paper are all over the place, and it often depends upon whether it is Wednesday or Friday as to what type of markup he is going to apply to a $1,500 job that he just brokered out!

Just amazing. His failure to computerize will impact the value of his business by no less than $60-80,000, an amount that would buy ten of any of the estimating systems mentioned above.

One side benefit that everyone forgets about is the vast improvement in filing methods when you use a computerized estimating system. You can convert from a problem plagued alphabetical filing system to a very efficient numerical system in a matter of a few short weeks, and when you do you will look back on the decision noting, like so many others do, that your only mistake was in not converting over years ago.

That's my rant for the day.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Terminal Cancer and Valuation

I already have my story theme for next month. It is based upon a recent call I received from a fellow printer. The scene: Mother and Father own the business. Many years ago, they gave their son 40% interest in the business. Each parent retain 30% ownership.
The son has been diagnosed with terminal cancer... slow growing, but nonetheless terminal, with no cures and no possibility for living much longer than another year or so. The father calls me and wants to discuss methods of valuations, because he is planning ahead and wants to be fair to all sides. When his son dies, and it will be sooner rather than later, his intentions are to buy-out his daughter-in-law's interest in the business. He neither wants a high value or a low value, just a fair valuation (and method) that all members of the family can agree upon. Of special concern is an agreed upon valuation method that would not only satisfy his son but also his daughter-in-law and possibly even her family.
Why the latter? Well, as is often the case, especially when large amounts of money are at stake, those individuals closely involved with the business will often think it is worth far more than is being offered, to the point where one party or the other feels or thinks that they are being taken advantage of. Trust me, this will prove to be an interesting story.


Friday, July 6, 2012

July 2012 Column Now Available!

Just a quick notice that my July 2012 column titled, "Making and Breaking Promises to God - Part II," is now available free on my web site at
The column also tells about the author's own harrowing experiences sailing a 22' sailboat to the Bahamas, and the destruction of coral reefs that ensued as he tried to find land! DO NOT READ if you are an avid environmentalist!

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Visit Margie Dana Web Site

I normally don't get carried away with recommending other sites, but today I will make an exception.

Margie Dana, who hosts a web site at: wrote a column on June 16, 2012 titled, "What Print Buyers Won't Tolerate."

The list includes more than a dozen problems or excuses encountered by print buyers that cause them to throw up their hands in disgust and seek out another printer. The list is made of some pretty common sense stuff that happens far too often in our industry.

The list is unusual in that "increasing prices" or "prices that are too high" don't even make the list. I've often said that I think printers are their own worst enemies when it comes to the need to raise prices but fail to do so out of what most often is an unwarranted fear that customers will suddenly leave in droves. Visit her web site and check the right side of her Index page to find the column, "What Print Buyers Won't Tolerate."


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Judge Praises Stewart Valuation

Just received the following from one of my former clients, and I thought you would be interested in his comments:

"I had used John Stewart's consulting services several times throughout the last 15 years, and he has been extremely helpful in helphing me manage and grow my printing company.

I went through a horrible divorce last year and hired John to do my valuation and to testify at my divorce trial. John's valuation was used by the court, despite the fact that there were two other valuations that were presented by a realtor and a business broker.

In fact, the judge said that John's testimony about the nature and value of my printing company was very compelling and that he (Stewart) was the best witness I presented for the entire trial.

This saved me almost a half million dollars in my divorce settlement as the other lawyers presented values that were twice what the business was actually worth.

The process John used for the valuation was straight forward mathematically and made common sense.

We can talk about rules of thumb and the economy but the basics of finding what your business is worth lies in the actual numbers, and John's knowledge of the printing business allows him to ask the questions necessary to get down to the real earning potential and value of a printing company.

I recommend his book on selling a printing company ( as a good read to prepare you for doing a good job with him in finding the fair market value of what your company is really worth."

Tony Meyer, Owner,
Xpress Printing

Sisters, OR

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Deferred Salary to Owners

Regarding my blog on various assets and liabilities, one reader responded that, "I recently saw a small business P&L with a liability called 'deferred salary to owner.' He informed me this was an allowable accounting maneuver. By the way, his net profit was showing as 18%."

Yes, that is indeed a legitimate maneuver, for temporarily avoiding payroll taxes. So long as the company can well afford to satisfy this liability at any time in the future this is perfectly Ok.

Unfortunately, what that entry often means more often is that while the owners were entitled to this payroll, the company simply did not have enough funds in the bank to cover that withdrawal while covering the payroll to the rest of the employees. So, they simply defer that payment and thus the entry under "liabilities."

This is one of those liabilities that a buyer doesn't care about, since whether it is satisfied or not does not impact him in regards to purchasing the "hard assets" unencumbered assets of the business.