What is the cost of business cards?

cost-of-business-cards

We’re often asked why the cost of business cards varies so much, and to be frank, there’s a ton of reasons. The most important being paper weight, and the coating or finish on your business card.

Something as simple as a 50 pack of 300GSM business cards with no coating or finish can cost as little as $5. But the question is, would those cards turn heads? Probably not.

We asked 125 people from various backgrounds how much their business cards cost (see below).

Based on the responses, the average cost per business card was $0.27 (USD).

Using that figure, we can easily work out the average cost per pack of business cards (without any quantity based discounts):

50 pack – $13.50

100 pack – $27.00

250 pack – $67.50

500 pack – $135.00

1000 pack – $270.00

What determines the cost of business cards?

Paper Weight

Paper weight is one of the biggest contributors to business card cost.

Thicker paper takes more material to manufacture and therefore costs more when printing your business cards. However, it’s also harder to bend and is perceived as a more luxurious option.

The standard paper weight is around 350-400GSM (grams per square meter). This is the weight of the paper when it is 1m x 1m in size. However, some business card paper weights can go as high as 650GSM, which is a very thick paper that stands out – but it’s not cheap.

business-card-paper-flexibility

Coating

There are 2 common coatings for business cards: matte, and gloss. Each of them has varying associated costs as they pass through different manufacturing lines.

A gloss coating is better for business cards which have images on them, as it makes the colors more vibrant. Whereas a matte coating is smooth to touch and works better on business cards which simply have a logo and text.

business-card-gloss-matte

Finish

A business card finish can increase the cost per card substantially, depending on the type of finish. If you’re getting a raised spot gloss finish, which is quite common, this will likely cost an additional $0.10c per card.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you’re having a custom die-cut business card made up, this can cost up to $1000-$1500 extra as a one time cost, only because the die needs to be made specifically for your cards.

You want your business card to look good, and give off the “wow” factor. But there comes a time where the cost simply outweighs the benefit of that specific finish you’re chasing.

spot-uv-varnish-business-card-finish
Source: Stuart Frisby

Paper Material

Cotton, hemp, recycled paper, plastic, and even metal business cards are all fairly common alternatives to the traditional paper business card.

Most business cards are made of normal manufactured paper which is the cheapest option.

business-card-paper-weight

Size

There are a few common business card sizes depending on which region you live in. The most popular being 3.5″ x 2″, which is the North American standard size. The price shouldn’t change much if you’re getting any of the other standard business card sizes.

However, if you want a custom size, the price may increase slightly to allow for the extra time that it takes to set up the cutting machine.

standard-business-card-size

Shape

Changing the shape of your business card can also impact the price since most cutting machines are preset to cut rectangles or square shapes. If you’re wanting a completely custom shape, it will likely cost considerably more than just the standard shape.

However, most business card makers have a few preset shapes such as coffee cups for cafes, homes for realtors, gear cogs for engineers, and more.

die-cut-business-card-finish
Source: AiO Studio

Color Depth

Assessing the color depth means checking how black the black is, and how bright the colors are when printed on paper.

Printing companies using higher quality printers will likely charge slightly more for their prints, but the quality difference is usually noticeable and worth the extra cost.

business-card-colors-cmyk

Single-Sided / Double-Sided

If you’re ordering a single-sided business card, you’re likely to pay a little less than a double-sided print. As obvious as the reason may be, it’s simply because there is less toner used for printing one side.

Over 95% of business card orders are for double-sided prints. The only time you would do a single-sided print is if cost is a significant factor in making your business cards or you wanted some space to write appointment times on the back.

single-sided-vs-double-sided-business-cards

The Cost of Designing Business Cards

Graphic design is hard work – just ask any designer. As a designer, you’re often given a brief of what the client wants, and you use your creativity to design the graphics according to the specifications.

However, there is one big problem: creativity is subjective. This is what makes it incredibly hard and take a considerable amount of time, even for the smallest of designs. Let’s take a look at a few options below.

Online Design Tool

Cost: Free

Using an online business card design tool such as Gimmio is a free and easy way to create the exact business card you want. No design briefs and long meetings. No waiting for graphic designers to get back to you. No design mistakes and additional costs. Just you, and the super intuitive tool which is made for creating business cards and has tons of templates to get you started.

gimmio-logo

Once you’ve created your dream business card, ordering it is a breeze. Gimmio’s huge worldwide network of printing hubs means that most orders can be printed locally and delivered within around 5-7 business days. Now that’s service!

Fiverr

Cost: $5 – $300

If you’re getting a design created by someone on Fiverr, you could get something for as little as $5. It likely won’t be great, but it’s cheap. You may even be able to make some suggestions as to what you want the business card to look like. However, its often a case of just providing some primary and secondary colors as well as your logo and then getting a finished product.

Design Contest

Cost: Usually $25 – $800 (you determine the prize amount)

There are various online platforms that offer business card design contests, such as Freelancer. Using this type of service allows you to choose which design you prefer out of a few different ones which are designed specifically for you.

Utilizing a design contest is only a good idea if you don’t already have a design in mind. If you’ve already got something in mind, then you’ll usually get a better result using a free online design tool or an agency.

Design Agency

Cost: $800 – $1500

If your budget allows, an agency should be able to create you a completely custom design for around $800-$1500. This generally allows for a full design briefing as well as brainstorming sessions with the agency to come up with the perfect design. The outcome will be much more tailored for your company so the cost is usually worth it.

Business Card Cost Comparison

We asked 125 people that recently purchased their business cards a few questions, and here’s what some of them had to say in regard to cost, quality, and finish.

1. How much do you pay for your pack of business cards, and how many cards are in the pack?

Chris Post from 2M Locating: “We ended up going with see-through plastic cards which are a lot more expensive than traditional paper. We paid $1.17 per card for an order of 250 x 2 employees = 500 total.”

Joseph Gibbons from Gibbons Solutions: “I pay $130 and there are 250 in the pack.”

Barbara Rozgonyi, from WiredPRWorks: “I order 200 at a time, which is around $75.00. In the course of the average year, I give away around 400 business cards.”

2. Are you happy with the quality of your business cards?

Chris Post: “We are EXTREMELY happy with our cards and have already received numerous compliments from customers and prospects.”

Joseph Gibbons: “I am very happy with the quality, not super happy about the price, but I’m trying to support another local small business.”

Barbara Rozgonyi: “Yes! Everyone loves the smooth finish. Mine have rounded corners and they’re a bit larger than a standard business card.”

3. Do your business cards have any special features/coatings?

Chris Post: “The special feature is it is see-through which is unique in the construction & utilities industry, so we really stand out.”

Joseph Gibbons: “They have painted edges and they are matte finish.”

Barbara Rozgonyi: “Matte with four color high quality printing that makes each one look like a fine photograph.”

4. Can we see your business cards?

Chris Post

plastic-business-cards

Joseph Gibbons

consultant-business-card
business-card-colored-edge

Barbara Rozgonyi

vertical-business-cards

How to Lower the Cost of Your Business Cards

1. Consider having 2 styles of business cards

Having 2 styles of business cards (one cheap, one expensive) allows you to choose which one to give out.

If you’re meeting up with someone who is unlikely to become a high paying customer, you could give out your cheap card. However, if you’re meeting with a potentially big customer, it makes sense to hand out slightly better quality business cards to give a better impression.

decisions

2. Buy in bulk

Shipping costs can eat into your budget quite quickly if you order small quantities often. So, it’s beneficial to just order a small quantity the first time to test out the quality, and then buy in bulk for subsequent orders.

3. Save on design costs by doing it yourself

There are heaps of tools out there that will help you create beautiful business cards on your own without the need to enlist the help of a design agency.

If you’re keen to give it a crack, make sure you read our guide on how to design business cards.

business-card-maker-features

4. Think about what design aspects might get your potential customer talking

Your business cards should be conversation starters. So, consider which industry you’re in, and what your customers might find appealing and quirky.

For example, if you work as a dentist, a business card in the shape of a tooth might be a nice touch. Likewise, a gear cog might be a good one for mechanical engineers.

5. Figure out the ROI for your business cards

The last point (but likely the most important) is to work out what you SHOULD spend on your business cards, not what you WANT to spend.

If the average income from each of your customers is $20, it doesn’t make sense to hand out custom business cards which cost you $1.50 each. But, if each customer spends close to $200,000 on average, it makes complete sense to hand them a high-quality business card.

So, work out where you sit on that spectrum to figure out how much you should be spending on your business cards.

dollar-sign

Wrap Up

When considering the cost of business cards, a famous saying comes to mind – “You get what you pay for”. If you want a business card on the thickest paper stock with a custom shape, using an agency made design, it will cost a lot.

Luckily, for most folk who don’t need something super extravagant, there are free tools out there like Gimmio that will help you design a beautiful business card, starting you off with a few templates. Once you’re done designing, simply order the business cards direct to your door.

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