I have an excellent vendor that does stickers and labels. I prepare the artwork and they do the heavy lifting. They provide great pricing and I get to pass that on to my customers, theoretically giving me an advantage in the market.
It doesn't always work out that way, for instance, a few months ago I made up a cute character to help promote a program that encourages early readers. The image is of a duck next to a egg shell (see sample). This image was put onto stickers and those stickers were placed on books that were targeted to early readers and their parents.
I knew about how much I could get them for so I started looking for vendors around the area that could get these done. The Library can't buy stickers from me, cause I work for the library as my full time job, so it would be a conflict of interest.
Anyway, I began with Jakprints, a vendor we had used before for another job and some printing. They offer a great price on some stickers and labels, but on others they are waaaay out of bounds. We used them for the first run because we were under a time constraint. Their price was about $750 for 2,000, 2-inch, 2-color stickers.
I knew I could do better, so I went to a local sign shop for an estimate. I went as far as to tell the salesman that I had the same vendor he probably uses for his stickers as well. I was hoping this would give me a better price, knowing that I knew what he pays his vendor. This didn't happen, his estimate was $817 for 2,500 and another $100 artwork charge on top of that.
I could have done these for $230. SO I kept searching and approached a local printer not far from the sign guys. I explained how they had jerked me around even though I informed them that we used similar vendors. I told him that if he just passed on the artwork, he could up-charge a fair amount and he would be the best vendor to go with. He did and we gave him the business.
That vendor charged a fair amount and got our business, but how many other businesses don't know what's supposed to be a fair price?
All I can say is that you can always email me for an estimate, free of charge.