Print Estimating

Table of Contents

Print Estimating Software

What is Print Estimating Software

Print estimating software is a specialized tool designed for the printing industry to assist in accurately estimating the costs of print jobs. This software plays a crucial role in helping printing businesses calculate the expenses involved in producing various printing projects, such as books, brochures, and posters.


A key function of print estimating software is to provide detailed cost analyses. It takes into account various factors such as material costs (like paper and ink), labor, machine usage, and additional processing like binding or laminating. By considering these elements, the software can generate accurate estimates of the total cost for a specific print job.


Another important feature of this software is its ability to save time and increase efficiency in the estimation process. Traditionally, estimating printing costs manually can be time-consuming and prone to errors. Print estimating software automates this process, reducing the likelihood of mistakes and speeding up the preparation of quotes for clients.


Additionally, print estimating software often includes customizable templates. These templates allow businesses to adapt the software to their specific needs and preferences, making it easier to create estimates for different types of print jobs. This flexibility is beneficial for printing businesses that handle a wide range of projects.


The software also usually features integration capabilities with other business systems, such as accounting or customer relationship management (CRM) software. This integration helps streamline the overall workflow, from initial cost estimation to final invoicing, ensuring a seamless process.


Moreover, print estimating software can help printing businesses stay competitive. By providing quick and accurate estimates, businesses can respond promptly to customer inquiries, which is essential in today’s fast-paced market. Accurate pricing also ensures that the business remains profitable while being competitive in pricing.


In summary, print estimating software is an essential tool for the printing industry. It enables businesses to quickly and accurately estimate the costs of print jobs, taking into account various factors like materials, labor, and machine usage. The software enhances efficiency, reduces errors, and helps maintain competitiveness by enabling prompt and precise cost calculations for a wide range of printing projects.

Types of Print Estimating Software

Basic Print Estimating Software

Basic print estimating software is designed for small printing businesses or those just starting out. It offers essential features like calculating the cost of materials, labor, and machine usage. This type of software is user-friendly and ideal for straightforward print jobs.

Advanced Print Estimating Software

Advanced print estimating software is suited for larger printing companies with more complex needs. It includes features like detailed cost analysis, project management tools, and integration with other business software. This software can handle a wide range of print jobs, from simple to complex, and offers more detailed and precise estimates.

Custom Print Estimating Software

Custom print estimating software is tailored to the specific needs of a business. It’s built from the ground up to include features and functionalities unique to the particular workflows and requirements of a company. This type is ideal for businesses with unique processes or those who need software that integrates seamlessly with their existing systems.

Industry-Specific Print Estimating Software

Industry-specific print estimating software is designed for particular segments of the printing industry, such as label, textile, or large-format printing. It includes tools and features that are unique to these specific types of printing, providing more accurate estimates for specialized print jobs.

Cloud-Based Print Estimating Software

Cloud-based print estimating software offers the advantages of online accessibility and data storage. Users can access the software from anywhere, making it ideal for businesses with multiple locations or remote workers. This type often includes real-time updates and collaboration features, allowing teams to work together more efficiently.

Modular Print Estimating Software

Modular print estimating software comes with a basic set of features, with the option to add more modules as needed. This type is flexible and scalable, making it suitable for businesses that are growing or changing their services. Companies can start with the basics and add modules like inventory management, customer relationship management, or detailed reporting as their needs evolve.

Benefits of Print Estimating Software

Improved Accuracy in Cost Estimation

Print estimating software significantly enhances the accuracy of cost calculations. It takes into account various factors like material costs, labor, machine usage, and overheads. This precise calculation helps in providing accurate quotes to customers, reducing the risk of underquoting or overpricing.

Time Savings and Efficiency

By automating the estimation process, this software saves a considerable amount of time compared to manual methods. It quickly generates estimates, allowing businesses to respond promptly to customer inquiries. This efficiency is crucial in a competitive market where fast turnaround times can be a deciding factor for customers.

Enhanced Customization and Flexibility

Print estimating software offers customization options to suit specific business needs. Whether it’s small-scale jobs or large, complex orders, the software can adapt to different project requirements. This flexibility ensures that businesses can cater to a wide range of customer demands effectively.

Streamlined Workflow Management

The software integrates various aspects of the printing process, from estimation to job completion. This integration streamlines workflow, reducing the likelihood of errors and ensuring smooth operations. As a result, businesses can manage multiple jobs more efficiently, leading to increased productivity.

Better Financial Management and Reporting

Print estimating software provides detailed financial reporting capabilities. It tracks the profitability of jobs, monitors expenses, and helps in making informed financial decisions. This detailed reporting is vital for maintaining a healthy bottom line in the printing business.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

Accurate estimates, quick responses, and efficient job handling all contribute to improved customer satisfaction. The software’s ability to provide detailed and reliable quotes helps build trust with customers, which is essential for long-term business relationships.

Reduced Waste and Cost Savings

By accurately estimating materials and resources needed for each job, the software helps in reducing waste. This not only saves costs but also supports environmentally friendly practices, which is increasingly important for modern businesses.

The Cost of Print Estimating Software

Initial Purchase or Subscription Fees

Most print estimating software comes with either a one-time purchase price or a subscription-based model. The initial purchase is a larger upfront cost but can be more economical in the long run. On the other hand, subscription models offer a lower initial cost and ongoing updates, but might be more expensive over time.

Features and Capabilities

The price of print estimating software often depends on the range of features it offers. Basic versions, providing essential functions, are generally more affordable. More advanced software, with features like detailed customization, integration with other systems, and comprehensive reporting, tends to be more expensive.

Number of Users and Access Levels

Some print estimating software charges based on the number of users. A small business with fewer users might pay less compared to a larger enterprise needing multiple user accesses. Additionally, software that offers different access levels (like admin, manager, and regular user) might have different pricing structures.

Software Customization

Customization to suit specific business needs can also affect the cost. Tailoring the software to fit particular workflows, integrating with existing systems, or adding specific features can increase the price.

Training and Support

The cost might include training for staff and ongoing support services. While some providers offer basic training and support within the initial cost or subscription, others might charge extra for comprehensive training and advanced support.

Updates and Upgrades

Consider whether the software includes updates and upgrades in the cost. Regular updates might be part of the subscription, while major upgrades could come with an additional charge.

Scale and Size of Business

Finally, the size and scale of the business play a role in the cost. Larger businesses with more complex needs and higher print volumes might require more robust software solutions, which can be more expensive.

Who Uses Print Estimating Software?

Commercial Printing Companies

Commercial printers are one of the primary users of print estimating software. They handle a wide range of printing jobs, from brochures and business cards to large banners and posters. The software helps them quickly determine costs, considering factors like paper type, ink usage, and machine time.

In-House Printing Departments

Many large organizations, such as universities and corporations, have in-house printing departments. These departments use print estimating software to manage their internal printing needs efficiently. The software helps them budget accurately and plan for resource allocation for various printing projects.

Print Brokers

Print brokers act as intermediaries between clients and printing companies. They use print estimating software to provide accurate quotes to their clients. This software is essential for them to stay competitive by offering the best prices while ensuring profitability.

Digital Print Shops

Digital print shops, specializing in short-run and on-demand printing, rely on print estimating software to quickly provide quotes for various print jobs. The software is crucial for these shops to handle a high volume of small, customized orders efficiently.

Specialty Printers

Specialty printing businesses, such as those producing labels, packaging, or custom apparel, use print estimating software to calculate the unique costs associated with their specialized printing processes. The software allows them to account for specific materials and techniques used in their niche printing services.

Freelance Print Professionals

Freelance print professionals, such as graphic designers who offer printing services, use this software to provide accurate estimates to their clients. The software helps them ensure that their pricing is competitive and covers their costs, which is vital for their freelance business’s success.

Popular Print Estimating Software Products

EFI Fiery Servers and Software

EFI Fiery Servers and Software offer a range of solutions for digital print production, including estimating tools. They provide features for job costing, production planning, and workflow automation.


Tharstern offers print MIS (Management Information System) software that includes estimating capabilities. It helps print businesses streamline their operations, from estimating to production and beyond.


PressWise is a cloud-based print MIS and workflow automation software. It includes estimating tools, job management, order processing, and integrated online storefronts for print shops.


PrintPLANR is a print management and CRM software that includes estimating features. It helps print businesses handle quoting, job tracking, inventory management, and customer relationships.


Ordant is a cloud-based print estimating and order management solution. It offers features for creating price quotes, order processing, job tracking, and integration with various other print software.

Print Estimating Software Features


Feature Description
Job Estimation Accurately estimate the cost and resources required for print jobs, considering factors like paper type, ink, finishing options, and labor.
Material Cost Calculation Calculate the cost of materials, including paper, ink, and any special finishing materials, based on job specifications and current prices.
Labor and Time Estimation Estimate the time and labor required to complete a print job, accounting for setup time, printing time, and post-production tasks.
Pricing Models Support various pricing models, such as cost-plus pricing, fixed pricing, or variable pricing based on quantity, to determine the final job price.
Price Customization Customize pricing based on client-specific requirements, volume discounts, or other factors to provide tailored estimates for different customers.
Client and Job Information Store and manage client details, project history, and job specifications for easy reference and retrieval when creating estimates.
Quote Generation Generate professional-looking quotes and estimates to share with clients, including itemized breakdowns of costs and delivery timelines.
Integration with Printers and Suppliers Integrate with printer and supplier databases to access real-time pricing and availability information for materials and services.
Markup and Profit Margin Calculation Calculate markup and profit margins based on cost and desired profit targets, helping to ensure profitability on each print job.
Multi-Currency Support Handle estimates and quotes in multiple currencies for international clients and suppliers, with automatic currency conversion.
Template Management Create and save customizable estimate templates for frequently recurring jobs, streamlining the estimation process.
Version Control Maintain a history of estimate revisions and changes, allowing for easy tracking of alterations and comparisons between versions.
Digital Proofing Enable clients to review and approve estimates digitally, reducing the need for physical proofing and expediting the approval process.
Reporting and Analytics Generate reports and analytics on estimate history, win/loss ratios, and profitability to make informed decisions and improve estimating accuracy.
Collaboration and Workflow Facilitate collaboration among team members by allowing them to work together on estimate creation, review, and approval.
Notifications and Reminders Send automated notifications and reminders for follow-up on pending estimates, helping to improve response times and close rates.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Integrate with CRM systems to track and manage client interactions, providing insights into client preferences and communication history.
Mobile Accessibility Access the software and create estimates on mobile devices, enabling on-the-go estimating and communication with clients.
Secure Data Storage and Backup Ensure secure data storage and backup options to protect estimate data from loss or unauthorized access, adhering to data privacy standards.
User Permissions and Security Define user roles and permissions to restrict access to sensitive estimate data and ensure data security and confidentiality.
Audit Trail Maintain a detailed audit trail of all actions and changes made within the software, offering transparency and accountability in the estimating process.
Integration with Accounting Software Seamlessly integrate with accounting software to transfer estimate data into invoices and financial records once a job is confirmed and completed.
Scalability Scale the software to accommodate growing estimation needs and handle a higher volume of estimate requests as the business expands.


Important Print Estimating Software Integrations


Integration Name Description
Printing Equipment Data Integrate with printing equipment data to access machine specifications, capabilities, and maintenance status.
CRM System Connect with a CRM system to manage customer data, track client orders, and streamline communication.
Inventory Management Sync with inventory management software to monitor paper and ink levels, ensuring timely restocking.
Accounting Software Seamlessly transfer cost and revenue data to accounting software for accurate financial reporting and analysis.
E-commerce Platforms Link with e-commerce platforms for online order processing and real-time pricing updates.
Shipping and Logistics Integrate with shipping and logistics software to calculate shipping costs and generate shipping labels.
Online Proofing Tools Connect with online proofing tools for collaborative proofing and approval processes with clients.
Web-to-Print Solutions Integrate with web-to-print solutions to automate order submission and streamline print job creation.
CRM System Connect with a CRM system to manage customer data, track client orders, and streamline communication.
MIS (Management Information System) Integrate with MIS software to centralize job scheduling, job tracking, and resource allocation.


Potential Issues with Print Estimating Software

Accuracy Concerns

One of the main challenges with print estimating software is ensuring the accuracy of estimates. Inaccurate estimates can arise due to outdated pricing information, incorrect data input, or software not being comprehensive enough to cover all variables in a printing project. This can lead to underestimating or overestimating costs, affecting profitability and customer satisfaction.

Integration Difficulties

Integrating print estimating software with other business systems can sometimes be challenging. When the software does not seamlessly sync with other tools like inventory management systems or accounting software, it can lead to disjointed workflows and errors in data transfer.

User Complexity

The complexity of using print estimating software can be a barrier, especially for users who are not tech-savvy. If the software is not user-friendly or requires extensive training to use effectively, it can slow down the estimating process and lead to errors in estimates due to user mistakes.

Software Limitations

Print estimating software may not always cover every unique aspect of a printing job. This limitation could be due to the software being outdated, lacking customization options, or not being tailored to specific types of print jobs. As a result, the software might not provide accurate estimates for more complex or unique printing projects.

Reliance on Accurate Data

The effectiveness of print estimating software heavily relies on the accuracy of the data fed into it. Inaccurate or incomplete data about printing costs, materials, and labor can lead to incorrect estimates, affecting project outcomes.

Maintenance and Updates

Regular maintenance and updates are necessary for the software to function optimally. Neglecting these updates can lead to compatibility issues, decreased accuracy in estimates, and vulnerabilities to security risks.

Cost of Software and Training

The initial cost of acquiring print estimating software and training employees to use it effectively can be significant. For smaller print businesses, this cost can be a considerable investment, and the return on investment may not be immediate.

Relevant Print Estimating Software Trends

Cloud-Based Solutions

The shift towards cloud-based print estimating software is prominent. These cloud platforms offer greater flexibility and accessibility, allowing users to access the software from anywhere. This is particularly beneficial for businesses with multiple locations or those that offer remote work options.

Automation and AI Integration

Automation is becoming a key feature in print estimating software. The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) enables more accurate and efficient estimation processes. AI algorithms can analyze historical data to provide precise cost estimates and optimize production planning.

Mobile Accessibility

Mobile accessibility is another growing trend. Print estimating software is now being designed for use on smartphones and tablets, allowing managers and sales teams to create and access estimates on the go. This increases efficiency and ensures quick responses to customer inquiries.

Enhanced Customization and Flexibility

Software developers are focusing on customization and flexibility to cater to the unique needs of different printing businesses. Users can now tailor the software to their specific processes and workflows, enhancing productivity and reducing the learning curve for new users.

Integration with Other Business Systems

Integration capabilities are expanding. Modern print estimating software can seamlessly integrate with other business systems such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, accounting software, and inventory management systems. This integration streamlines operations and reduces the need for manual data entry.

Environmentally Friendly Practices

There is an increasing emphasis on sustainability. Print estimating software now includes features that help businesses adopt more environmentally friendly practices, such as calculating the most efficient use of materials and minimizing waste.

User-Friendly Interfaces

Developers are prioritizing user-friendly interfaces to make the software more accessible to a broader range of users, including those with limited technical expertise. Simplified dashboards and intuitive controls are becoming standard features.

Enhanced Security Features

As the reliance on digital solutions increases, so does the need for robust security. Print estimating software now comes with enhanced security features to protect sensitive data and ensure compliance with data protection regulations.

Software and Services Related to Print Estimating Software

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

CRM software is essential for managing customer information and interactions. When integrated with print estimating software, it helps in tracking customer orders, preferences, and communication history. This integration allows for more personalized service and efficient management of customer relationships.

Inventory Management Systems

Inventory management systems are crucial for tracking the stock of printing materials like paper, ink, and other supplies. By integrating these systems with print estimating software, printing businesses can accurately estimate costs based on current inventory levels, avoid overstocking, and reduce waste.

Workflow Management Tools

Workflow management tools help in organizing and monitoring the various stages of the printing process. Integration with print estimating software provides a clear view of the workflow, from initial estimate to final delivery, ensuring efficiency and timely completion of print jobs.

Accounting and Finance Software

Accounting software is used for managing the financial aspects of a business. When connected with print estimating software, it allows for seamless tracking of expenses and revenues, simplifying invoicing, and financial reporting.

Production Management Software

Production management software assists in scheduling and tracking production processes. Its integration with print estimating software ensures that cost estimates are aligned with production capabilities and timelines, helping to optimize resource utilization and reduce bottlenecks.

Online Proofing and Approval Systems

Online proofing systems enable clients to review and approve designs and documents before printing. When these systems are linked with print estimating software, it streamlines the approval process, reduces errors, and ensures that the final print reflects the client’s requirements.

Shipping and Logistics Software

Shipping and logistics software manages the delivery of finished print products. Integrating this software with print estimating software helps in calculating accurate shipping costs and ensures timely and efficient delivery to clients.

E-commerce Platforms

For printing businesses with online services, integrating e-commerce platforms with print estimating software is vital. This integration allows customers to get instant print quotes online, place orders, and make payments, offering a convenient and efficient online shopping experience.

Frequently Asked Questions on Print Estimating Software

  • What is Print Estimating Software?
    Print Estimating Software is a digital tool used by printing companies and professionals to calculate the cost of printing projects. It helps in generating accurate quotes for customers by considering various factors like materials, labor, and equipment costs.

  • Why is Print Estimating Software important for printing businesses?
    Print Estimating Software is essential for printing businesses as it streamlines the estimating process, reduces errors in cost calculations, improves pricing accuracy, and enhances overall efficiency in managing print jobs.

  • What types of printing projects can be estimated using this software?
    Print Estimating Software can be used to estimate a wide range of printing projects, including brochures, flyers, posters, business cards, banners, labels, packaging, and more.

  • How does Print Estimating Software calculate costs?
    Print Estimating Software calculates costs based on various parameters, including paper type, ink usage, printing method, finishing options, labor hours, machine rates, and overhead expenses. It takes into account all these factors to generate an accurate estimate.

  • Can Print Estimating Software handle variable data printing projects?
    Yes, some Print Estimating Software solutions can handle variable data printing projects, allowing for personalized and customized print materials, such as direct mail pieces with individualized content.

  • Is Print Estimating Software suitable for small printing businesses?
    Print Estimating Software is beneficial for businesses of all sizes, including small printing companies. It helps them compete effectively by providing accurate cost estimates, which are crucial for pricing and profitability.

  • Can Print Estimating Software integrate with other printing software or systems?
    Many Print Estimating Software solutions offer integration capabilities with other printing software, such as Print MIS (Management Information Systems), to ensure seamless data flow and better management of printing workflows.

  • How does Print Estimating Software handle changes in job specifications?
    Print Estimating Software can easily accommodate changes in job specifications. It allows users to update project details, such as quantity, paper type, or finishing options, and instantly recalculates the estimated costs.

  • Does Print Estimating Software help with tracking job profitability?
    Yes, Print Estimating Software can help track job profitability by comparing the estimated costs to the actual costs incurred during production. This information is valuable for evaluating the success of each print job.

  • Is there a learning curve for using Print Estimating Software?
    The learning curve for Print Estimating Software may vary depending on the software’s complexity and the user’s familiarity with print industry terminology. However, many providers offer training and support to help users get up to speed quickly.