A business card does more than expand your network—it adds a personal touch that makes someone more likely to turn to you over anyone else in your industry.
One study by Adobe even found that for every 2,000 business cards that get handed out, company sales increased by an average of 2.5%.
The not-so-fun part is managing, designing, and ordering business cards, as this can become time-consuming and expensive, especially for large companies with multiple employees.
That’s why some businesses favor digital business cards.
Both options have pros and cons when it comes to budget, time and sustainability. Let’s explore these in more detail to discover the cost of business cards— both traditional and digital.
Cost of managing hundreds of paper business cards vs digital business cards
Cost comes down to more than just production. There’s also design costs, delivery costs, replacement costs, and perhaps most importantly—the cost to the environment. We’re breaking each one down and comparing how they pan out for both digital and traditional cards.
On average, companies spend $80 per employee per year ordering business cards. If you have 150 employees, this adds up to over $120,000 a year.
In contrast, a digital business card subscription costs around $250 monthly for 150 cards totalling $3,000 a year.
It’s not just large companies that could benefit. Digital business cards offer cheaper monthly subscriptions if you have fewer employees, costing an average of $1 per person.
Below is pricing for Doorway’s Digital Business Card tiered packages.
Small businesses may not have the luxury of an in-house design team to create their business cards and will have to source this externally.
Hiring a graphic designer to create your business card templates adds additional costs to the creation of your business card.
Graphic Designers can charge anything from $5 for basic business card design to just under $1,000 for more high-end cards. The good thing is, once designed you can reuse it again without commisioning a new designer.
When it comes to digital business cards, you may be limited in design capabilities. Traditional cards give you more creative freedom to experiment with different shapes, materials, and quirky designs.
However, a digital card offers more space than a standard paper card, and you can share much more valuable information in one go.
Most print business card companies only charge around $5.99 for delivery. This is reasonable, especially if you only require the cards to be delivered to one location.
Costs could increase if you’re a larger business and need cards delivered to multiple locations.
With digital business cards, however, you don’t have to worry about delivery costs as they’re ready to download to multiple employees’ phones immediately.
Cost to update and replace cards
As your business grows, it will inevitably change. Company business cards often go through a rebrand. You could also move locations or update your contact details, leaving you with a stack of outdated business cards destined for the recycling bin (or worse, the landfill).
Replacing your business cards in high volumes adds up to a hefty bill over time.
The same isn’t true for a digital business card.
You don’t have to worry about extra spending or time delays if you tweak your design or update company information.
Cost to the environment
Although small, a paper business card has a huge carbon footprint. Firstly, they contribute to paper waste, which is already the third largest industrial polluter in the US. The Edge Markets also found that 7.2 million trees get chopped down yearly to make business cards.
You might think the paper is biodegradable, so you can always recycle them. However, when a business card is recycled, they still have to go through a process to remove the ink using surfactants and other chemicals.
These chemicals then get released into the local ecosystem, which can cause soil pollution and harm to plants and animals.
Digital business cards, on the other hand, have zero carbon footprint as they’re entirely paperless and don’t require any manufacturing that puts a strain on the environment.
Ease of using digital business cards vs traditional business cards
It’s not just money that adds to the cost of ordering a business card. Time plays a massive part too.
You should factor in; how long the ordering process will take, how long they’ll take to be delivered and how long it will take to order new cards should yours become outdated.
If you order traditional business cards, once you’ve uploaded your business card templates and delivery information, you shouldn’t have to wait too long to receive them, as most companies offer next-day delivery—for a price.
Once the cards arrive, however, they’ll need to be distributed to employees, taking up time you don’t have.
Digital business cards are a much speedier option. They can be downloaded directly to your employee’s Apple or Google wallet on their phone, ready to be used instantly.
The ordering process for new cards
The ordering process for digital and traditional business cards is straightforward and can be done in a matter of minutes (if you’ve already created a design).
Print business cards could become more time-consuming when you eventually need to update your design or contact details as you’ll have to start from scratch.
Re-uploading your business card template and then waiting for them to be delivered (also increasing delivery costs) could be wasting precious time.
Digital business cards allow you to update branding or information in a matter of seconds. You can then apply these changes to multiple employees’ business cards at the click of a button.
Whether you choose a digital or traditional card, you’ll need to think about how your team will manage this and who will be responsible for the ordering process and the approval workflow.
Most digital business cards offer a management system where employees can quickly be added or removed and their information updated.
Print business cards, however, require you to reorder brand new cards each time (also increasing delivery costs). This makes managment of the cards less straightforward.
Both options will require someone to manage the ordering and delivering of business cards for new employees, as well as updating the cards should company details change.
Before you decide which type of card to choose, consider how long these processes will take and who will be responsible for it.
Improving communication and networking with digital business cards
Now that we’ve covered the main costs of a traditional business card vs a digital business card, which option improves communication?
When handing out your business card, you want your new connection to be able to contact you quickly and easily.
While it may seem like handing over a traditional business card takes seconds, someone still needs to manually save your phone number or search for your website and social channels.
With digital business cards, your contact details are easily accessible through one scan of a QR code, which is handy when sharing your company website or social media channels.
The more options you give people for contacting you (and the easier you make it), the more likely they will reach out.
Digital business cards will never be left to gather dust in someone’s desk drawer or, worse, get lost completely. Your details will instantly be saved to their phone contacts.
After exploring the benefits and drawbacks of both traditional and digital business cards, we hope we’ve made your decision easier.
Remember, the actual cost of a business card isn’t just about money.
Consider the time it would take to design the business card and how long it’ll take to deliver them.
Also, sustainability plays a part.
Being conscious of the impact your business has on the environment is essential. A simple thing such as switching to digital business cards can reduce your carbon footprint massively.
The true cost of a business card
A Doorway digital business card will save you time and money by making creating and editing multiple employee’s cards effortless. Get started today (with certain plans, the first month’s on us!).
Speak to our team