I have come to the conclusion that there are some print jobs that are good to do on barter and there are some that are not. Because you can now order printing online so incredibly cheap I’ve decided that those “generic” print jobs that don’t really need any TLC, are best to do for cash with an online printer. It’s so cheap to do it this way, there is no way a little local printer (one that is likely to barter with you) can compete with their prices. With that in mind I recommend that letterhead, postcards, business cards, etc. be printed for cash with an online printer. That is of course AFTER you hire a graphic designer on trade to put all the artwork together for you.
That being said, there is still a lot of room for barter in the printing world. I would recommend you use barter to do more expensive, out of the ordinary jobs that require more service. For example, I recently had 20,000 church bulletin shells printed by a printer on barter that needed a perforated tear-off section. Not only did this mean that the printing was done locally, but it also meant it was a high service experience. For example, when the printer had concerns that the glossy finish might give my church’s copy machine trouble, he drove over with some of the paper and did a test run to make sure everything would work before the print job was done. It wasn’t necessary for this job, but bartering with a local printer would also allow you to do a press check at the time of printing.
Bottom line: Pay cash for the easy print jobs online, and barter for the tough ones locally. Also… I’m not necessarily recommending that you use vistaprint as your online printer. I simply used their logo because they are one of the best known online printers. Personally I have had good luck with www.americasprinter.com