I said on my business card printer review page that I’m leery of ordering business cards from Vistaprint.com. Here’s why.
Let me start off by saying that I did not personally have problems on the few business card orders I placed with them in years past. I think some of their card designs are really attractive, their “250 free cards” offer was sheer marketing genius, and I even wrote a couple of columns for them in their first email newsletters. And there are many happy customers.
But I have concerns that I feel you should know about.
Their business cards are smaller and thinner than standard.
(This is still true as of June 2012; I just checked.) Look for their “document trim size” and other artwork specifications. People think I’m making this up, so prove it to yourself by laying a Vistaprint card on top of a standard-sized business card. Most people don’t realize that these measurements are smaller than standard, and of course they’re not going to point that out.
They’re also thinner/lighter than most business cards. As of June 2012, their business card paper is “80lb. Matte or 90lb. Glossy card stock” – which is not quite 10pts. (See http://www.vistaprint.com/customer-care/service-center-faqs.aspx?faq_id=85)
Paper weight is confusing, but maybe it helps to know that standard 3×5″ index cards are 110lb. stock. And 100lb weight cover paper is 11 pts. (See http://www.paper-paper.com/weight.html). So their “90lb. glossy card stock” is thinner than an index card, not very thick or sturdy. (Compare this to my favorite business card printer, whose cards are 14pt, 130lb. and the standard 3.5″ x 2″ trim size.)
Now some people like thick cards, and some people like thin. So thin business cards aren’t necessarily bad. But personal preferences aside, why should you care if their cards are smaller than other printers’ cards?
Because perceptions matter. If you’re out to impress a client, and your business cards have less size and less weight, YOUR BUSINESS can be perceived as being somehow “less”, too. Cheap. Flimsy. Not around for the long haul. Not a very good business image to have.
Maybe a 90lb. WEIGHT card is fine for you, but when that business card is also smaller in SIZE… well, I don’t see how that can enhance your reputation at all.
I know, I know, maybe you’re a Vistaprint customer and you never noticed this and no one’s ever said anything negative about your cards – but believe me, SOME people WILL notice. They’ll just be too polite to say so.
So am I saying that VistaPrint’s cards are okay, but not for business use? Well, not really.
Second: Lots of customer complaints.
I’m not making this up, either. Read all these complaints. (Type Vistaprint scam or Vistaprint ripoff or Vistaprint problem into Google and you’ll find more.)
The link from their website to the Better Business Bureau says they have an A+ rating, which is great – but here’s another BBB rating of F. I don’t understand how the same company can have multiple ratings – one is from the Boston BBB, one is from the Eastern Michigan BBB – anyway this makes no sense to me but does concern me.
Third: They’re not that cheap, anyway!
People initially visit VistaPrint.com to try out their free offer. It’s hard to beat “free”, so I understand the appeal! – even though every free card does have the “cost” of you giving them an ad on the back side of the card. Many people choose to upgrade from the free offer and pay for their cards.
But if you’re going to pay for your business cards, Vistaprint.com’s regular prices aren’t that low, compared to other printers. And if they’re smaller and thinner I think they SHOULD be cheaper.
Lots of people like Vistaprint.com’s cards, are happy customers, and have had no problems. Good! And maybe things have changed since this was written (although I don’t see how they’d change the card size; it would be tremendously expensive to use different printing presses.)
But given that there are other business card printers with excellent reputations, cheaper prices, and beautiful cards, I don’t recommend ordering business cards from Vistaprint.com.
If you think this information is important, please tell your friends!
Here’s a great alternative to Vistaprint: 48HourPrint.com – Printing that’s fast, affordable and guaranteed… or it’s FREE!