Pricing and submission update

In the early days of Covid we were forced to start a submission queue due to the sudden increase in demand. The waiting times have meant that once someone’s name comes to the top of the list, the amount of comics they send has grown exponentially. With how long each comic takes to work on properly, it has become impossible to catch up. Also our return on time invested in the work is far below that of the new generation of internet-taught pressers.

Many people have advised me over the years that our prices were too low for the amount of time spent working on each comic. Although aware of this, I enjoyed the work and was never especially focussed on financial gain. However, when I set up as a Limited company just over 2 ½ years ago, the idea was to start taking a more business-minded approach, and eventually introduce my son to the business. It is often suggested I employ and train another presser, but that is impossible when the net profits are less than half the minimum wage, based on the hours worked. I have always said I would never resort to lowering the quality of work to increase the quantity of comics that could be pressed and invoiced. Although that approach would increase income by a factor of 5 or 6, and significantly reduce the waiting times, I would rather stop altogether.

With a background in the conservation and restoration of paper based collectibles, I have enjoyed the work I have been doing on comics for the past 7 years or so. However, working every waking hour, almost every day of the week for the past 20 months, and getting constant messages complaining about the queue, has started to drain the enjoyment. When you look at the financial return of doing professional, critical detailed work and realise how much lower our current invoicing/income levels are when compared to someone who is using cheaper materials and faster “one size fits all” recipe-based pressing, it doesn’t make sense to continue as we are. They are two completely different business models, and we need to start valuing our time as much as we value the comics we work on.

There are different levels of service and experience in every walk of life. You wouldn’t expect fast food to be the same cost as eating at home, any more than you would expect fine dining at similar rates to McDonalds, but every option has its place in the market and is usually priced accordingly. Some people may have the perception that all pressing is equal, or simply have no idea how much time and effort we put into every comic. We have kept the prices low for as long as we could, but the plan was always to increase them over time to a more professional based level. I appreciate some people won’t be pleased with the price increases, but even with the increase, the profit per hour will still be less than the minimum wage. For those that choose speed and/or cost over safety and quality, there are plenty of new pressers, and like the analogy above, despite any differences in the cost or quality of product/service, there are options to satisfy everyone’s needs. 

For the time being, we will limit the number of comics in each submission to 14 comics (subject to revision), to be able to work through the queue. I would expect some people will have already dropped out due to the waiting times, and some more will likely look elsewhere for cheaper prices. Once we have cleansed the list, we will either increase or decrease the submission size, so that it is generally fair for everyone. 

Changes we are making…

  • Price increases
  • 14 comic limit on submissions
  • Assessment fee – to be credited to pressing cost if worked on
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