Why Planners Are So Expensive – 15 Factors That Increase the Price


Have you ever thought that planners seemed expensive for just printing out some calendar sheets and putting them into a book format? It is easy to see the final product and feel that it is overpriced, but there is a lot that goes into making a planner.

This post will provide you with 11 factors involved in making a planner that supports why planners may actually be fairly priced.

1. Paper Quality and Type Increases the Value of Planners

There are many different types and weights of paper, which can increase the price considerably.

Most planners have paper between 20 lb and 80 lb. More commonly 60 lb to 70 lb, with the higher-end planners in the 80 lb range.

PlannerPaper WeightPrice of Planner
Erin Condren LifePlanner80 lb$55
Emily Ley Weekly Planner70 lb$50
Passion Planner Weekly80 lb$46
Classic Happy Planner60 lb$32.99
Plum Paper Weekly Planner70 lb$32
AT-A-GLANCE Weekly Planner60 lb$29
Bloom Vision Planner & Calendar70 lb$29.95
Blue Sky Weekly Planner60 lb$20

I created another post talking about whether the Erin Condren LifePlanner is worth the high price, you can check that out here. In that post, I compared the first 5 planners listed above in more detail.

The paper weight is only one aspect of the final cost. However, it is clear by the prices above that the paper weight does make a difference.

paper quality of Erin Condren LifePlanner

2. Number of Pages in the Planner

The number of pages included in the planner clearly add to the width and the overall weight of the planner. Which in itself will add to the cost.

It also adds more options for the customer and makes the planner more functional.

Also, nearly every page in a planner has some text or design on it, so the additional cost of the ink involved in having more pages will bump up the price.

3. How the Pages Are Put Together (Binding Type)

The options for binding planners are typically coil, discs, binder, book bound (perfect bound).

The discs typically come in a pack of 11 and range in price from $7 to $18 just for the discs alone.

Coils can range in price from $5 to $15, depending on the finish on them and what they are made of. The assembly would add on additional price.

Metal coil on Erin Condren LifePlanner

The book (perfect) binding is roughly $3 to $5.

Binders vary depending on where they are purchased from and the quality of binder used. They can be purchased for as low as $1 and can go up to $30 for higher quality binders. 

*The prices above are binding for one planner.

4. Customization Options

Some planners come as-is. They are very basic and just include the monthly pages and usually either a weekly or daily view. These generally provide no customization options. They are usually sold in stores like Walmart, Michaels, Staples, etc.

Other planners like the Erin Condren LifePlanner have the option of customizing the design and colors of the cover.

You can also decide what view you want on the inside; such as, a vertical or horizontal weekly view, daily view, and whether you want the monthly or not.

There are similar options that also allow you to mix and match different pages that you want to include. Such as if you want lined paper, dot paper, graph paper, etc. Or even different types of trackers, for weight loss, exercise, tracking your sleep, and more.

All of these customization options are amazing and will make it more likely that you will use it. However, they will also push up the price considerably.

Luckily, if you don’t want all of the fancy add-ons, you can buy these planners for the base price.

5. Cost of Materials

The materials include the paper, the cover material (which is often leather, laminate, cardboard), the ink, the binding material, and any additional features; such as, bookmarks, folders, planner stickers, etc., that may be included.

Paper purchased in reams of 500 are generally between $5 to $20, based on the paper weight. Which would be the equivalent of two 8.5″ x 11″ planners.

Planner companies would get a deal for ordering in large quantities, but it is still a considerable cost.

Read more about the pros and cons of using a paper planner here.

6. The Overall Size of the Planner

There are different sizes of planners to choose from. Generally, you will see personal, A4, letter size, A5, half, pocket, and mini as popular options. These range from 3.75″ x 6.75″ to 8.5″ x 11″.

If you want a larger planner, it is going to use more paper, binding, ink, and cover material. So naturally, this will increase the price.

different sizes of planners add to the price

7. Time to Design

Typically planners have different colors and designs throughout the planner. However, there are often many different cover designs to take into account.

If the planner creator is designing everything themselves, it can take a considerable amount of time to come up with a design that looks great and will sell.

Even coming up with the best color tone can take a decent amount of time.

Conversely, if the creator had to pay somebody else to create the designs, the wages for that designer will have to be considered when determining the price of the planner.

8. Number of Employees

In addition to graphic designers, there will also be people who do the printing, the binding, the editing, the marketing, sales, and so much more. 

Generally planner companies are not just a one person show. There will be many people behind the scenes making sure that the planner contains accurate information, is put together well and is ultimately something that people will use daily and love.

The number of employees will vary based on the company needs and the popularity of the planners.

Since more employees increase the overall costs for the company, it can bump up the cost of the planners. Particularly if planners are the only product that they sell.

9. Marketing Costs

In order to get the planners into the hands of the customers, good marketing is necessary.

There are so many planner creators that the competition is fierce. In order to stand above the rest of the planner companies, it’s necessary to hire the best marketing professionals.

It’s also costly to have online ads, commercials, radio ads, and more in order to make more potential customers aware of the product.

10. Editing/Proofreading to Ensure Accuracy of Details

Much like authors who are writing books, who would require an editor to make sure everything flows nicely and is accurate. Planner companies also require this.

Customers wouldn’t be very happy if they received a planner that was missing weeks or full months. Or if the dates were incorrect, or the wrong year was included.

It is important that all of these details are confirmed before the planners are sold.

11. Packaging and Shipping costs

This is not only for planners sent directly to your home, but even planners that are sent to stores.

They have to be packaged in a way that will allow for easy shipping and ensure the product is not damaged in the transfer.

This includes boxes, tape, packing material, bubble wrap and any labels that the company puts on for advertising and shipping purposes.

Since shipping is necessary regardless of where the planners are going, this will also increase the price.

Shipping can add up very quickly and many companies do provide “free” shipping, which typically means that the shipping is partially wrapped up in the price of the product.

why are planners so expensive

What If You Made Your Own Planner?

Even if you were to make your very own planner and had it printed on high-quality paper, with a laminated cover, and sent it to a printing company to print and bind for you. You could easily end up spending $20. And that’s not even taking into account your time to create the planner. 

So when you consider all of the customization options, different binding types, and cover materials, the added worksheets included, and the fact that it will be prepared for you and shipped to your home. You can see that the cost of planners really isn’t that crazy at all!

Product Should Be Priced to Make a Profit

Some of the costs listed above may seem like necessary company costs, so why would they be included in the planner cost?

However, if you consider any business model, the cost isn’t just the material involved in making the product. The time to design, assemble, package, and ship also has to be considered.

If the planners are the only thing a company is selling, it would be at least $20 for the material. Then with all of the other costs on top, it actually ends up being really reasonable what these companies are asking for planners.

You wouldn’t spend the time and resources to make a product to sell if it wasn’t going to bring in any profit at all.

In Summary

As you can see, a planner is not as simple as it seems. It takes time to create a beautiful, functional planner that people will love. So it’s not just putting together some basic calendar pages and calling it a day. Planners are not for everyone and may still seem too expensive. This is a personal choice. But if you take into account how organized and productive you will feel. The price is worth it!

Have you ever thought about using a digital planner? The price is usually a bit less because they are accessed on a tablet as opposed to being printed out. This post provides pros and cons of digital planners.

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