I am a prepress technician for a full-service commercial press (but not a trade/online printer), as well as being a graphic designer. This following exchange happens again and again in various forms…
Client: I can’t print your proof. Can you please send me a print-ready proof?
Me: Our soft proofs are screen resolution for review/display only. We do not release press-ready printable files for proofing.
Client: But I need to be able to print it and make changes. Your file is locked. Can I have the password?
Me: We do not release press-ready printable files for proofing, and we do not share security information such as passwords used for document protection. I am happy to make any changes you need and proof it back to you. We do offer and recommend hard-copy proofing prior to print. The first hard-copy proof is free of charge. Would you like me to make your changes and email you an updated proof? Would you like a hard-copy proof for final approval before we print your brochure?
Client: Why can’t you just give me the password? I am just trying to run my business. I need to be able to print this proof. I need to be able to make changes to your PDF before I print it. You are keeping me from running my business.
Me: I’m sorry, we don’t release security information of any kind, and we don’t provide press-ready printable files for proofing purposes. Please let me know what changes need to be made and I can get it done for you very quickly.
Client: I don’t need changes now. I need to be able to change it in the future, and I need to be able to print it NOW. Every other printer that has designed something for me has given me a printable file. I plan to bring you tons of business and you are hurting my business by not providing me with the password.
So I send a printable file with a watermark…
Client: This is not acceptable. I cannot print this. It has a mark on it. Can you delete the mark and send me a high quality file? I need it right now. No other printer does this to me.
Yes. I’m so sure that every other printer you work with provides you with a printable press-quality/press-ready file as a “Proof.” Uh-huh.
At this point, this particular client chose to be verbally abusive and I had my boss take over the call. The client complained about me, told my boss that I was being uncooperative and hurting their business, etc. My boss pretty much repeated everything I had already said and reaffirmed our willingness to update and re-proof as needed. Th
Client: Fine! I’m going to get my designers to figure out how to unlock the file and fix the file for print. I’m NEVER going to work with you again.
But, wait… wasn’t I your designer? And didn’t you agree to a work estimate that included printing services with us? Hmmm. Good luck with that. I know you can get around the security with 3rd party software; but, I still sent you files that were exported at just 96dpi and don’t include the bleed!