With the number of choices on the market, it is not surprising that businesses are not sure what direction to go in when it comes to providing customers a plastic card. Whether you are an insurance company distributing a coverage card, or a non-profit organization giving their supporters a membership card, it can be challenging what direction to go and which cards will work best for your business. There are a number of factors to consider when starting, or converting, to a new plastic card program.
The first thing to consider when choosing between the two options is a rather simple one. Do you want, or need, a letterhead portion attached with your card. If you want that combined into one form, then laser membership cards are the answer. This gives you the freedom to change your letterhead portion without committing money to forms that may outdate quickly. However, if you already have letterhead, and the information you send out is more general, then single, traditional plastic cards are a great option. You can affix the card to the form, add an envelope or carrier, or just simple ford them into the letterhead when you mail to your customer.
The second item to consider when making a program decision is how fast do customers need their cards. If you need the ability to give a customer, or member, their card within the same day, or within one or two days, laser membership cards are the best options because you can print on demand. If you have a week or longer to get your member their card, then traditional plastic cards are a good option that will take the work out of your hands. The one drawback is most printing companies require at least a 250 card minimum. So you may have to postpone printing until you have that many members to print for. However, on the upside, all you have to do is give the printing company your card design and excel file of the data you want on the card, and you have freed up time to do more pressing company business.
The next thing to contemplate is how durable do the plastic cards need to be. If you want your cards to last a long period of time, then a traditional plastic pvc or composite card is the answer. They are 30 mils in thickness (think of a credit card) and withstand wear and tear. A laser membership card must be thin in order to go through a laser printer, so they can range from 7.5 to 8 mils in thickness. They are still durable, but not as much as their counterpart. Because they are thin, they are extremely flexible to the point that you can fold them in half. You cannot do this with traditional plastic cards. However, if you have to replace cards on a regular basis, the laser membership card might be more cost effective.
And finally, the last two aspects to consider go hand and hand…that is time and money. Every business large and small has a budget they need to adhere to, and deciding how much money you want to spend on plastic card printing may help make that final decision on which style of cards to go with. The two big mistakes that are commonly made is not figuring the amount of time you want to spend on your cards and forgetting to figure extra outside costs. For example, a small business may decide to go with a blank laser membership card and just print their cards themselves thinking that is the cheapest route. They sometimes forget about the cost of toner to print their cards, and how much time it will take them to set up the form to print. Your time is valuable and needs to be figured into the cost. Furthermore, a business may figure the costs and realize it is cheaper, and better use of their time, to have a professional print single, traditional plastic cards.
Sometimes, even after asking the above questions, the decision still may not be clear. With two great product options, what if the wrong choice is made? You may want to try one program for a few months, and then switch to the other. Doing this allows you time to figure which one is best for both time management and your company’s budget, and help you make that final project decision. Whether you final choice is a laser membership card or a traditional plastic card, you now have options to help improve your business and your bottom line.