What does your business card look like? How impressive is it? If you are like many, it’s not very impressive at all. Why settle for a substandard business card?

Business cards are my personal pet peeve. So many times business professionals opt to save literally $500 on what could be one of the most impressive marketing tools at their disposal. Unfortunately, most people don’t save money. They lose. They lose big. The opportunity cost of making that so-so first impression might be enormous.

Currently a very popular online printer is offering 500 cards for $9.99. What’s not to love? You can (in their words):

  • Customize colors, fonts, text and more
  • Upload your own photo, logo or design
  • Create in minutes and receive in just days

Well that sounds like a deal. Clip art and my photo? Genius.

I understand that $500 to $1,000 for business cards might seem like a lot of money when you compare it to an offer for $9.99. I don’t, however, think any business would think $500 to $1,000 is absurd for a sustainable marketing tool.

Below, I’m going to break down the cost of having a stellar business card so you can give this some consideration. Before I do that I just want you to think about what first impressions mean to you in business. A strong business card denotes strength of purpose. Are you really in business or are you throwing an idea against the wall to see if it sticks? Are you in this to win? Are you handing me a business card hoping I’ll see something in you, or are you going to make it impossible for me to see past you?

Here are some of the most basic questions to ask to set yourself apart for the least amount of cost and effort as it relates to your business card:

  • What paper should I print on? Should it be thick or thin? Should it be soft or textured?
  • Should I print on both sides?
  • Is there an interesting shape that my card could be?
  • Could I emboss part of the card, or use a foil?

Just these questions alone might push you above the competition.

So, finally, what should a business card cost? I’ll break it down for you pretty simply. The figures below would represent what you might consider for the cost of a very professional and attention-getting business card.

1,000 Business Cards

Creative/Idea/Concept Development: $500
Printing (simple): $150 to $200
Printing (add-ons, like die cutting or embossing) $150

Total Cost: $850

That is a cost of about $0.85 per contact. Is new business worth 85 cents?


What happens when you need to reorder them?

1,000 Business Cards

Creative/Idea/Concept Development: $0.00
Printing (simple): $150 to $200
Printing (add-ons, like die cutting or embossing) $150
Total Cost: $350

Your cost just went down to about $0.35 per contact.


Once you break the numbers down, it’s easy to see why a great, intentional business card is not an expense. It’s an investment.

What you simply CAN NOT forget is the opportunity cost of not immediately making the most of your first impression. I can tell you from experience, that when your business card is noteworthy, it becomes a conversation piece that will not only open doors, but keep them open a bit longer.