A couple weeks ago, we sent out an e-mail asking how we could make The Homeschool Printing Company better in 2024.
A lot of you did take the time to respond to that e-mail – and many of those responses were very well thought-out, detailed and truly helpful.
We did read (and re-read!) every single response we received. We have a folder where we’ve kept each and every response – a place we can go to as time and resources allow us to make those changes when we can.
And we’re keeping all of those suggestions in mind as well as we make some enhancements to our company to keep focused on providing what the homeschooling community REALLY wants… not what we think will just sell well or be more profitable for us. This business isn’t about us – it’s about YOU.
The #1 thing that we heard back loud and clear was that our customers would like to be able to pay when they place their order instead of being billed after it ships. We hear you!
This is something that we’ve been working on getting done for a while now… it’s just a matter of putting all of the technology in place to make it happen. Sounds easy to do… but it actually is a bit more complicated than it appears to be, since each and every order is a custom job – versus ordering something off of a shelf. 🙂
A little back story you might find interesting…
When we started this company back in June of 2017, there wasn’t anyone else doing anything like this. We wanted to take away any hesitation a homeschooling family might have about sending money to a company that no one has ever heard of before, wondering if they’d actually get their printing… and if it would be done right! We didn’t feel right asking for trust with no history – so we wanted to take worry out of the equation. So we took a super-bold step and allowed anyone to place an order without even entering a credit card. Some people told us that we’d be out of business in 60 days… because nobody would pay us! (That obviously didn’t happen, and we found that the homeschooling community is INCREDIBLY honest and trustworthy!) We were willing to take all the risk on ourselves as opposed to asking people who’d never heard of us to pay first. It just seemed right.
To this day, we might still be the only online company that will ship you a physical product without asking for any payment up-front!
That strategy worked incredibly well for us. Without doing any advertising or marketing at all, we grew really big… really fast! Orders poured in so fast that, during the first few years, we had really, really l-o-n-g wait times during the busy back-to-school season of July through September. (At one time, orders weren’t being shipped for 12-14 weeks from when they were placed! Since then, we’ve added a lot more capacity and our lead times have gone way, way down.) We still cringe when we think back on such long wait times!
We’ve always wondered if we should continue the practice of not asking customers to pay until after their order has been delivered… or, like every other online business, should collect payment at the time an order is placed or shipped. Apparently, judging by the responses we received, we’ve established enough of a good reputation throughout the homeschooling community that it’s time to make our customer’s lives easier by taking payment when the order is placed. Of course, a sale is NEVER considered final until a customer is 100% satisfied that they received their order and that it was done right. If there’s EVER a problem with any order… all it takes is an e-mail to our friendly customer service team, letting us know what didn’t go as expected. We’ll fix it right away… or issue a refund, whichever you prefer.
While payment timing will change, we want to make one thing very, very clear – our customer service will remain the same. We will ALWAYS do our best to make every customer’s experience a good one, and if we make a mistake, we will ALWAYS seek to make it right as quickly as possible to the satisfaction of the customer! THIS will NEVER change – we promise!
So being able to pay when ordering is going to be the first improvement we make to our website. Then we’ll move on to implementing other suggestions! 🙂 As we make more improvements in 2024, we’ll be sure to let you know!
One final thought. It’s mid-February now. In March, many homeschooling curriculum authors come out with new products for the ’24-’25 school year… and our order volume always increases significantly. (Strangely enough, March is our second-highest order volume month with August being the highest!) While we significantly increased our capacity in 2023 to be able to print a LOT more and still keep to a very reasonable turnaround time (2-3 weeks), orders placed in March will take a little bit longer to be delivered than orders placed now. Our stated turnaround time currently is 2 weeks, but 95% of all orders now are being printed and shipped in about a week. So, if you know anyone who needs some printing done super-quick, now’s the time to send them our way! Of course, we WILL be updating turnaround time on our website so make sure everyone knows BEFORE they place their order how long it will likely take (and we do our very best to OVERestimate so that, if anything, it arrives sooner than planned!).
Finally, all of us here want to say THANK YOU for your trust in us and your referrals. We’re coming up on out 7th anniversary in June of 2024 and all of our growth has come from great people like YOU telling other great people about US! Words just can’t explain how grateful we are to you and the tens of thousands of other customers who’ve given us the privilege of serving them. We NEVER take any customer for granted and appreciate EVERY one!
Thanks again and have a sweet day – and here’s looking forward to a sweet YEAR ahead. 🙂