Most small businesses do their own label printing and have experienced the usual problems of jammed printers or printing labels with text that goes beyond the borders. There are some things you can do for your next label printing job that will reduce costs and help increase your chances for success.
Be sure the labels are intended for the type of printer you’re using. Laser printers get very hot and using the wrong type of labels means the adhesive can become liquid and the labels will peel off inside the printer. Inkjet printers are less demanding but cheaper labels can still separate from their backing sheets and cause printer jams. Test a sample sheet and bend it to be sure the labels don’t pop off their carrier.
Older labels – even good quality ones, can lose some of their adhesive characteristics after a year or more. When you purchase labels note the date on the container and either dispose of them after twelve months or check them carefully before running them through a printer.
Glossy or coated labels won’t work with most inkjet printers. The ink sits on the coating and smears because it doesn’t have enough time to dry. Other kinds of glossy or coated stocks can warp when they’re used in laser printers. Check the details on the label package carefully to make sure the stock is suitable for your type of printer.
Use large labels and printer fonts where possible
Most postal services use optical character recognition (OCR) to sort mail. This isn’t always able to ‘read’ labels if the font is too small or too ornate. Use labels large enough to carry your information in a font that’s clear and no smaller than 8-point (9- or 10-point is even better).
Make use of leftover labels
Rarely if ever will your database equal the exact number of labels you’ve bought for the job. There are usually leftover labels that shouldn’t be run through the printer again as this greatly increases the risk of jamming. Instead, put your own address details in the ‘blanks’ at the end of your database. You can use these for return address labels on large envelopes or as labels for self addressed return envelopes if you need them.
Use a photocopier for printing labels
Most labels will work in photocopiers as well as they do in a printer, and the cost of producing a photocopy can be significantly less than printing a sheet in an inkjet or laser printer. If you are printing a large number of labels that all contain the same information you can print out one page and then use it as the original in your office photocopier to produce the labels you need.
Consider a dedicated label printer
If your business regularly prints a large number of labels you should consider investing in a label printer that’s designed for that purpose. They print labels from a roll rather than a sheet and can be linked to an office PC like any other printer. If you decide to purchase a label printer be sure to consider the cost of the blank labels you’ll need to buy. Label costs vary greatly and a printer might be a bit cheaper to purchase than a competing make might require you to use labels that are more expensive and quickly eat up the initial savings.