Do free business cards really exist?
Yes. However, you can only get 10 business cards for completely free. The offers for 250 free business cards are very misleading. You will end up paying a minimum of $5.00 to $12.00 for “free business cards”.
Either way, there are a few things you want to make sure you have in place before printing your business cards. One of those is a website so that people can find out more about your business after you hand them your business card. If you don’t have one already, click here to get our free guide that will help get your site up and running in less than an hour.
The Truth About Free Business Cards
When companies like Vistaprint or 1-800-Postcards offer free business cards, they are really offering you free business card printing. However, there are 4 ways in which they seek to make money from you.
- They charge you for shipping. While the printing is free, you will need to pay a shipping fee to receive them. While I cannot say for 100% sure, I suspect that their total costs including shipping are less than the shipping fee.
- They charge you for speed. If you need the cards for a meeting, tradeshow or convention in a few days, you may have pay an additional fee for express printing and even more for shipping. You get business cards free only if you can wait a couple weeks to receive them.
- The business card printer gets free advertising. Typically on the back of the cards, there is a logo or text advertisement for the company that printed the business cards. If you want to remove the advertisement, then you will have to buy a premium business card.
- They will try to convince you to buy premium cards or add-on items. Some companies offer 40 free design templates for free business cards, but hundreds of business card design templates for premium buyers.
With free business cards, you may also not have the option of different finishes. After you finish designing your business card, companies will try to sell you business card holders, magnetic business cards and all other sorts of other promotional items. When you try to order free business cards, the printing company will make the process drawn-out to give them lots of opportunities to sell you a product which is not free.
I said there was one completely free offer. Yes, Moo does offer 10 free business cards with no printing fee and no shipping fee. There is a small Moo.com logo on the back and you will receive the cards via USPS in about 10 days.
How much do free business cards really cost when you include shipping?
Vistaprint Offer: 250 Cards For $6.93. (For NYC address) Two weeks for delivery and small text ads appears on the back.
In practice, the best deal is not “business cards” but buying 500 cards which will cost less than $20 with shipping.
Moo.com Offer: 50 Business Cards For $5.00. Includes option of using recycled material or gloss finish at no extra charge. Free full color images on back and front of card for no additional charge. 10 days for delivery and small Moo.com logo appears on the back.
1-800-Postcards Offer: 250 Business Cards For $12.00 Three weeks for delivery and small text ads appears on the back.
Is your business just getting started? Read our Guide to Financing for Startups.
Want a real bargain? Try Fiverr
You’re reading this article because you’re frugal. One place where frugal entrepreneurs go to get business cards, flyers, and brochures designed and a host of other services is Fiverr. All services on Fiverr start at only $5!
Can you print your own business cards for free?
Yes, there are a number of programs that provide free online templates (word and PDF formats) for business cards. Assuming that you have the following tools, you may be able to print your own business cards for free:
- High-Quality Inkjet or Laser Printer
- Exacto Knife or Paper Cutter or If Your Have Great Hands, A Sharp Scissor
- High Quality Paper (ie 100 lb cotton paper)
- Free Business Card Printing Software: Easy To Use More Choice & Templates
This option may not appeal to most business people because, a hand cut business card can look slightly off. If you want a professional looking card, you can buy heavy-stock pre-cut paper. Literally, you can pop-out a card with a perfect edge. Unfortunately, this paper doesn’t come cheap. You can buy business card paper to print 250 cards for $15 to $20. Avery provides free business card templates that work with its paper products.
Why get free business cards cards, when premium cards only cost $15 more?
When do you give out business cards? When you’re meeting someone for the first time and making a first impression. While your business associate may not remember a great looking business card, there is a chance that they will remember a “bad” business card or a business card that gives the impression that your company is struggling or cheap. A business card that has an advertisement for the printing company sends the message that you NEED to watch every buck.
To learn how to get professional looking business cards without advertising on any budget see our article “7 Steps to the Perfect Business Card“.