Are you struggling to decide whether to get cheap business cards online or pay more for a custom business card for your business?
That’s okay. It’s an important decision. The best business cards are the ones that help communicate what your brand is about at the lowest cost. We’ll help you decide what business card vendor to use by discussing the benefits of business cards, the goals you are trying to achieve with your business card design, the features you’ll want to consider, and our experiences with different business card printing companies.
Throughout the blog, we’ll provide business card examples to help you choose the best business card printing service. Once you are done reading this, you’ll be ready to choose the best card for your business. Let’s get started.
Benefits of Business Cards
Every business should have a business card. Some of the reasons to have one include:
- A printed design helps portray a professional image.
- They are a quick way to share contact information.
- Business cards are the ultimate networking tool.
- All business cards help with lead generation.
- Business cards are a branding tool.
- It is easy to transport business cards.
- Cards are one of the lowest-cost marketing tools. Compare the cost of business cards to your other marketing spending.
- Unique business cards stand out and give your new contact something to remember you by later.
- Touch builds cooperation and trust. Give potential clients something to hold.
- Business cards can get you free stuff.
I know the last one sounds silly, but I got a $300 meal at the Foundation Room in Las Vegas from putting a 10-cent business card into a drawing. It was one of the best meals of my life.
What Goals are You Trying to Achieve?
Ultimately, a business card is to help people reach you easier. You’ll want to consider what you are trying to achieve with the business card. Some goals may be:
- Provide your contact information.
- Share the company values.
- Communicate a specific brand image. Do you want to be viewed as no-frills, a premium product, fun, or another image?
- Make it easy to pull up a specific web page.
- Provide an easy way to add contact information into phones with QR codes.
- Show off your artwork.
- Provide a personal business card while job hunting.
Depending on what you are trying to achieve, you’ll want to include specific features. Let’s look at the features you want when designing a business card.
How to Make Cheap Business Cards
There are a lot of choices you’ll need to make when designing business cards. You’ll have to choose:
- Size and Shape
- Shipping or Pickup
We’ll discuss how these impact the best place to get business cards.
Business cards come in different quantities. The more you buy, the less each unit costs. Depending on the type of business card and provider, you may be able to order in quantities of:
|10 Business Cards||100 Cards||1,000 Business Cards||10,000 Cards|
|25 Cards||250 Business Cards||2,500 Cards||25,000 Business Cards|
|50 Business Cards||500 Cards||5,000 Business Cards||Or More!|
The business card printing services have the same amount of labor whether you order one or a million business cards, so they give nice discounts when you buy in bulk. Vistaprint provides an 87% savings when you buy 10,000 cards instead of 100.
Size and Shape
A standard business card is 2” x 3.5”, but many printing services have other shapes like squares, circles, triangles, rounded corners, or mini business cards. The business card printing services will normally charge a premium for anything other than the standard 2” by 3.5 “ size because custom shapes are ordered less frequently.
You can even get die cut business cards in custom shapes like the cupcake business cards that UPrinting created.
While this business card example makes an impression, unique shapes may have storage challenges and get damaged easier than standard business card shapes. Based on my experience, rounded corners (sometimes called rounded edges) are the most durable of the product options based on pricing.
Your business cards can be made out of different materials. Some of the options are:
- Paper Stock: The standard material for business cards is paper.
- Metal: Typically, stainless steel is used for this style.
- Plastic: These are similar to the plastic for drivers licenses and debit cards. You can find ones made out of recycled materials as well.
- Fabric: Business cards made of fabric are most commonly used on clothing as labels.
- Hemp: Use hemp if you want a more sustainable paper business card. It produces 4 to 10X the paper as trees per acre, but most processing is out of the US, decreasing some of the sustainability.
- Recycled paper: Recycled paper is meant to prevent cutting down trees, but it’s more expensive to produce because of the additional production steps.
- Cork: Be careful when buying these. Read the materials because it is often just normal paper that is designed to look like cork.
- Photostock: If you’re using photos, this stock is similar to what you use for photographs.
- Bamboo: Bamboo can grow up to 3.28 feet per year. Unfortunately, most of the production is in China, so the transportation costs offset some of the environmental impact that this plant could make.
- Wood: You can make business cards out of Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Cedar, Maple, and other woods using a provider like Cards of Wood.
- Magnets: Magnets are a great way to create a business card if you work directly with consumers. They can just slap them on the fridge and they see your logo and name every time they get a snack.
- Stickers: Have some fun and create business cards that can also be stickers.
Cheap Business Cards Stock
When you talk about business card stock, you are talking about the thickness of the materials. According to Brandly business cards are typically rated in points (pt.) and range from 11 pt. to 34 pt. Most business card printing companies use 14pt. to 16 pt. paper, but thick card stock tends to resist bending and creasing. The corners hold up better than thin paper stock, too.
In addition to stock and material, the texture will also play a role in your business card purchasing. Cheap business cards will normally be flat with a matte finish, a term that means dull and without gloss. You can get affordable business cards with other textures including:
- High gloss UV coating: These slide across the hand better, and are similar to a glossy finish on a photo. They might show fingerprints, though.
- Silk printed: These cards use silk to accent the card for a soft smooth texture. You can choose flat or raised silk to create a custom feel.
- Foil embossed: Offset your primary material with foil accents to create a different feel. This can be raised or flat with paper stock.
- Natural texture: Natural texture cards look similar to a wall’s texture.
- Woven: Criss-crossed fabrics give the card a pattern you can feel.
- Material’s texture: Many of the materials have a texture that is readily identified. For instance, most people can readily identify the difference between metal, plastic, and wood.
- 3 dimensional: Die-cutting has made it easy for small business owners to get unique business cards. The die-cut shapes don’t have to be flat. They can have multiple layers to them creating completely new textures and tactile sensations.
These are similar to bar codes except they are square. I mentioned them briefly before, but QR codes are one of the greatest business automation tools I can have ever seen. You can use them for anything if you customize them right.
- Scan and pay? No problem.
- Pull up a menu? Sure can!
- Send people to your website? You got it!
- Automatically input your contact information and branding in their phone? Just scan the code!
QR code business cards are readily available through most printers and you can use dynamic QR codes to track the number of uses and change what the code links to. Beaconstac is rated the easiest to use and best ROI by G2 with over 250 reviews. You can also generate free QR codes in Canva and other apps, but won’t have as useful of features.
Each business card printing service will have its own professionally designed templates that small businesses can use to create standard business cards. For instance, VistaPrint has millions of variations for standard business cards when you customize based on the design, stock, finish, and other options.
If you want custom business cards, printing services often have a professional graphic designer on staff that can help you for an additional cost. They will also provide guidance on the sizing templates to create your own design. Moo offers templates for custom design using:
They recommend the following specifications:
- Text should be larger than 8 pt.
- Lines must be .5 pt or larger.
- 300 dots per inch (DPI) are needed.
- File size should be smaller than 50 MB.
- QR codes should be as large as possible, but no smaller than ½ inch and should be high contrast. They won’t scan if they aren’t done right.
Same Day Business Cards, Bad Customer Service
Another factor that impacts pricing is how quickly you need the business cards printed. You can normally find a much better price online. It may even come with free shipping depending on the size of your order.
That won’t work if you need a same-day printing service. You’ll have to go local when you need business cards fast. You’ll want to consider the following companies for the best, fast business cards:
- Don’t procrastinate: A business card printing service will provide the lowest price if they have time to print them and complete the delivery. GotPrint.com lets you know how fast they can provide their products Typically, around 7 to 10 business days will give you the cheapest price for online business cards.
- Local Printing Companies: Find a great local printing company to print business cards and other marketing materials. You might pay more, but if you go with a big box store, be aware of their reviews. (They are often not desirable unless you find an employee who cares.) Local business owners want every customer to leave happy because it’s their business and livelihood at stake.
- Staples Business Cards: Many call Staples the best for same-day business cards. If you order before 2 pm, Staples prints the same day. They often have free delivery for orders over $50. Their Trustpilot score is miserable at 1.6 stars, but 250 cards start as low as $12. When you need cheap business cards printed fast, it’s an option.
- Office Depot Business Cards: You can get a box of 50 for about $12.00 (or take advantage of their sales for better values. I found eight coupons for the site). The best thing about Office Depot is they have Canva built-in. They also have a miserable 1.5 star Trustpilot Score. I have ordered print products from them and have had no issue, however.
- FedEx Business Cards: It’s official, big box corporations are not ideal for printing cards. FedEx also has a ton of bad reviews and a 1.3 Trustpilot Score. They also don’t offer same-day orders online. Their pricing starts at $10 for 100 business cards, though.
Don’t get me wrong. The quality will be acceptable, but you may find yourself wasting a lot of time if the employee(s) don’t take pride in their jobs as they make your cards. You’ll also be limited in the options you can print.
Let’s look at pricing next.
You can find cheap and even free business cards, but you might not like the quality. There are online deals where you can get professional business cards for as low as a penny per card when you buy $500, but if you want higher quality custom business cards, you can spend up to $153K for 100 business cards with diamonds. If you want to make a real first impression, check out the Black Astrum cards.
Now that we’ve covered the customization options that go into the price of modern designs, let’s look at some of the best inexpensive business cards.
Where Can I Get Cheap Business Cards?
There are a ton of places to order online. Depending on the features you want, there are thirteen companies that people commonly hire for printing business cards.
- GotPrint: Best cheap business card design and printing service
- MOO: Best place to get business cards
- Zazzle: Best for custom business cards
- Print Place: Best for business card designers
- PsPrint: Best for custom shapes
- Vistaprint: Best design templates
- PrintRunner.com: Only provider I found with a free shipping coupon
- Elite Flyers: Best for bulk orders
- UPrinting: Worst of the white label providers others might rate
- Overnight Prints: Best for technical problems, they try to cover with great prices
- Staples: Best to print business cards the same day
- Office Depot: Second Best same day business card printer
- FedEx: Lower ratings than Office Depot, but at a much lower cost, does not offer same-day business cards for small business owners
Rating Methodology of a Business Card Printing Service
I went through some of the most commonly mentioned places for where to get cheap business cards. I gave each business a score from 1 to 10 for each of the 17 categories. 10 is the best. The companies received scores between 66 and 135, which I divided by 14 to create a 10 point scale. To convert these to a 10-point scale, I divided each value by 14. View the full sheet.
Best Cheap Business Card Design and Printing Service
GotPrint has a 4.5-star rating from Trustpilot from over 6,000 customers. They offer a wide selection of design options and templates to customize and offer 100 standard business cards for about $10. If you need more, you can order up to 100,000 standard business cards. They also offer custom design, elegant finish options, and 500 business card magnets at a great price.
MOO Business Cards: 8.93/10
Best place to get business cards
Moo is focused on quality and they definitely deliver. They aren’t exactly low-cost, nor are they the fastest business card maker. They are the highest rated on Trustpilot and have the most reviews. You can get 50 cards for about $20 or 400 unique business cards for around $120. Literally, each card can have its own picture on it using Printfinity. Another reason Moo is one of the best business card makers is that they offer full branding services.
I have personally ordered from them before and love their quality. The full-color pictures are amazing for photographers, but Moo is more expensive.
Best Custom Business Cards
Zazzle is a marketplace of business card printing service companies and other vendors. You can buy designs ranging from their popular 100 QR code business cards for about $30 to the super cool etched plated stainless steel cards by a designer called FoxiPrint on the high end. If you use Zazzle consistently, they offer an annual package similar to Amazon Prime. Between customizability, quality, and the lowest cost shipping, Zazzle is a great option for buying business cards and other office supplies.
Print Place: 7.79/10
Best if You Design Business Cards
You might want to check out PrintPlace if you are in the design industry. They are one of four services that appear to be focused on graphic designers. They have a 3.8-star rating compared to the other ones at 1.9 to 2.8 stars. In addition, they offer the largest orders of business cards.
Best For Custom Shape Business Cards
Customize business cards in unique shapes with PsPrint custom die-cut cards. They are a good deal if you want a card for business that stands out or if you order in bulk. The picture below is one of their business card examples.
Vistaprint Business Cards: 6.21/10
Best Custom Design Templates
Whether you are looking for personal business cards for services or other printing products, you probably know about Vistaprint. Their customer service isn’t that great, but they offer a great selection of free templates to use. If you don’t find what you are looking for, save time and money with free design assistance. Five hundred business cards for $10 is the best known promo, which makes them one of the best places to order cheap business cards online.
I bought from Vistaprint back in the day when you could get 500 business cards for $5. They were quick and accurate from a text standpoint, but their full color cards were lackluster and the corners were flimsy.
Fast cheap business cards, Free shipping over $39 (Subject to Change).
Printrunner is where to print business cards cheaply if you have a small order. Their print prices claim to be as low as under $7, but I could only order business cards online for $8.64. They seem to have the same offerings as PrintPlace, but their expedited costs are lower for 500 business cards or less.
Elite Flyers 5/10
Fast Bulk Order Business Cards
If you are looking to get your cards fast and save some money, Elite Flyers is one of the better pricing and speed performance options for expedited orders and shipping. The price is best when you buy higher volumes. They have reasonable rates and lots of options. Design starts around $50 if you need help creating a business card.
Their most unique offering is the Lenticular Business Card for 3D images with up to 30 morphing positions. These stand out among the other providers because they use screens that can tell a story.
They would have ranked higher if they had more reviews, but without personally testing them I can’t rank them as high as I would like. I personally want to test the Lenticular cards.
This is another one of the places to get cheap business cards that doesn’t have templates but has similar offerings to PrintPlace and Printrunner. I found UPrinting to be the lowest rated of the competitors that offer virtually identical services because
- They had more bad reviews than the others.
- Shipping is the only category where they outperformed competitors.
- The free shipping deal for over $39 (subject to change) made Printrunner a much better deal.
Overnight Prints: 4.71/10
If you want a wide variety of templates, limited size options, but cheap business cards, Overnight Prints might be an option. It’s at the bottom of the list for a reason, though. The reviews are bad, the shipping estimator didn’t work for me, and they offered an 80% discount. I wouldn’t have listed them except 80% off of $7 is definitely one of the lowest-cost ways to get business cards.
Get Your Cheap Business Cards Printed
Ultimately, the decision comes down to three choices:
- Product features
- Timeliness of the order
For business cards that communicate a brand message, I would recommend the following:
- Rounded corners
- At least 16 pt. stock, but higher is better
- Consider magnet, sticker, or other specialty business card options
I Want to Leave You with This…
The value of a good impression is measured by the lifetime value of a customer. For most businesses, revenue will exceed the cost of a business card by 1,000 times (or more). While it’s great to have cheap business cards, get the ones that create the brand image you want to portray.
What is your experience with printing companies? Should we add others to the list?