Posted on February 17, 2020 by Dennis Salazar

How Much Does a Custom Printed, Branded D2C or Subscription Box Cost?

Four Factors that Most Influence the Cost of a Custom Printed DTC or Subscription Box

By far the most often asked question is “how much is a custom printed, branded box going to cost? For obvious reasons, that is important whether you are just getting started or want to brand your existing, unprinted box. BTW, we also do dozens of “rebranding” transformations every year.

There are many factors that can influence the price of a custom printed box but the four highlighted below definitely have the greatest impact.

  • The TYPE of box you need – all boxes are not created equal. The styles and options are many and they include two-piece rigid paperboard, corrugated RSC, or corrugated die cut mailer box, just to name a few. The cost difference (and MOQ) can be substantial so we often ask for a photo of something you like that you’ve seen on our web site, gallery or perhaps on someone else’s web site. The sooner we can share your vision and goal, the more accurate the estimate or quote we can provide.
  • Your graphic design – a quick look at your artwork and design can usually tell us which print process is best for what you are trying to achieve. We are quite capable of printing flexographic, digital, litho label or offset. (See our gallery) In most cases a basic flexographic design is the least expensive option but that is not going to work if you want a five-color design with spot varnishes or a special finish like soft touch. The other thing to keep in mind is that generally the more sophisticated the graphic design, the higher the MOQ.
  • The size of the box you want – On this one we always caution the customer to avoid oversizing as many first-time box designers often do. It is wasteful and always creates a negative impression on the customer. It also adds material cost, inbound and outbound shipping cost, also typically making cutting die and print plate costs higher as well. Recently a customer reduced his void fill cost by over 50% by reducing the box size.
  • The branded box order quantity – Most people don’t realize that ordering 2,000 boxes compared to 1,000 boxes can reduce the cost by as much as 20%. Ordering 3,000 also reduces the cost, not as much as the 1,000 to 2,000 reduction but order quantity/price brackets can be substantial. Keep in mind that setting up a machine and the costs involved, are identical whether we are running 1,000 or 10,000 boxes. When that fixed cost is amortized over the length of the run, it can have minimal or great impact on the price of the box.

Customer Unboxing Experience

As we often say, it is not that complicated, even if it is your first time designing a custom printed direct to consumer (D2C) box. All you need is a partner who knows the business and has a variety of options for you so you can provide your customers the best possible unboxing experience at the lowest possible cost.

One of the ways we can help you improve the look and/or functionality of your box without increasing cost is by combining some of the money saving ideas above with some of our unique capabilities.

For example, changing a box from an expensive short run digital printer to a flexographic 1,000 MOQ printer like us can help you afford additional inside printing or perhaps a feature like our peel and seal closure.Classy interior print by Salazar Packaging

You can add inside print on an RSC box at the same time reducing your cost per box by increasing your order from 1,000 to 2,000 boxes. Increasing your order size can possibly make an upgraded design revenue neutral. We love working with people who think they can’t afford a premium box by showing them how we can help make it virtually painless in terms of cost.

What we do know is that no two boxes or situations are identical. Our branded packaging advisors are trained to help you navigate through the many options and make the impossible, very possible. Contact us at or call us at 630-551-1700. We would love to learn more about you, your company, and your packaging goals.

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