Vinyl PVC Banner Printing Costs per Linear Foot Versus Cost per Square Foot?
Not as Simple as You Might Think
How much can I expect to pay for a vinyl banner per linear foot? I am asked this question quite often, but of course, there are never simple answers because we have to ask you some questions before we can answer your question.
It’s kind of like asking how much I should pay for a car. Obviously this question will create a whirlwind of questions such as “What is your budget?” Or maybe, “How much can you afford to pay monthly for the vehicle including insurance and licensing?” Or, “Are you paying cash and how much cash do you have to spend?”
Obviously, if you have a budget that will allow for $300 per month car and insurance payments per month, you’re going to probably have to settle for a used American car, and a fairly small one at that. Or maybe a Japanese-built car that is slightly older, as they tend to hold their value better. If you can afford $400 per month in payments, maybe you can afford a new Korean or US-built car, or a newer Japanese or German-built vehicle.
Of course, if you have a load of cash, maybe $50K to spend on a vehicle, you should be able to get a very nice new or newer vehicle. Ford F250 pickups may cost around $65K new now, so if you have that laying around you can get a very nice truck. If you only have $30K, you may be able to get a good quality Japanese van or sedan, but probably not the SUV.
I could go on here, but I’m pretty sure I have beat my point into the ground. Banners are not quite as complicated, thank goodness, but there are still variations that can affect the cost significantly, so it does pay to shop around to get the best pricing.
Banners are sometimes sold by the running foot, but more often they’re sold by the square foot because there are several typical roll widths of banners that are printed off roll stock digitally. Common widths are 24 inch, 36 inch, 48 inch 60 inch, and 72 inch. If a printer specializes in large format printing, the rolls can be 96 inches up to 168 inches. The largest sizes are often used for billboard wraps. Other larger sizes like the 96 inch up to the 168 inch can also be used for just plain big banners that may be hung from the side of a building or parking garage or even placed on a large roof such as a stadium to be viewed aerially.
So you can see where it is easier to do an X x Y = Z using X as the length and Y as the height to achieve the Z square footage of a banner to determine pricing. Now, of course, that is just one variable. The smoothness of a PVC banner material may also factor into the cost, as will the weight per square yard or square meter.
Common weight for banner materials range from 8oz per square yard to 22oz per square yard or higher. Common weights are 10 oz., 12 oz., 13 oz. (by far the most popular weight for small to mid-sized banners), 14 oz., 15 oz., 16 oz., 18 oz., and 21 oz. Often the heavier weight material contains a blockout layer between the two sides to allow for printing on both sides.
Other vinyl banner materials also include mesh banner material, which comes in a few mesh configurations that allow more or less wind slippage, though the actual percentage is only about eight to fifteen percent. That is better than wind pockets which typically allow only about three to five percent wind slippage and make a banner look like it got hit by cannon shot in my opinion.
So, you can see that there are quite a few variables in banner pricing. Furthermore, items such as finishing can have an effect if you want ropes sewn into the hems, or reinforcing mesh. Pole pockets versus grommets and hems may be a variable as well. Quantity of colors used to be more significant than it is now with the advent of digital printing in the late ‘90’s and especially by 2005 or thereabouts, although amount of coverage may affect pricing still if it’s a large vinyl banner printing project.
So, there you have it! What you thought was a simple question regarding pricing for printed vinyl banners turned into a lecture on why pricing is not that easy to ballpark. But you should be able to get a quote for vinyl banners pretty easily if you look around for a good printer or print broker.