In the modern world of business and networking there is so much conflicting advice about the giving out of business cards. Some say give them out to everyone you meet, whether they are the pizza delivery guy or the CEO of an international company. Others say to give them out more strategically, only to qualified leads or potential customers that you've already chatted to and connected with. When it comes to ordering new business cards, the number you need obviously depends on which of these strategies you follow. Some people will get through 1000 cards in a few months, others will make 500 cards last two years.
Here are some additional factors to consider when deciding how many business cards to order.
Do you like to update your branding often?
Often those in the creative and design fields like to create new twists and fresh visuals for their brand and their business cards. They get bored of giving out the same old card after six months or so. In this case guesstimate how many cards you will give out in that time period and order just that amount.
Are you likely to move in the next year or so?
A move may result in a new landline number even if you don't print your physical address on your cards. There is nothing more unprofessional than crossed out numbers on otherwise beautifully printed business cards, so order a smaller run of perhaps 500 cards to last you until your move.
Are you expecting to attain new qualifications or accreditations in the next year?
If you are likely to want to add those accreditations to your card, then it will make sense only to order enough cards to last until that point.
Do you attend lots of networking events?
If you routinely give out lots of business cards at networking events, then you will get through 500 cards in no time. In this case a larger order of 1000 or more cards makes sense, so that you don't have to keep re-ordering more.
Do you mostly work online?
If you mostly work and network online and give out only a few cards every now and then, even a small order of 500 cards might last you for years. In that case work smart with the contact info that you provide, so that it is less likely to go out of date. Leave off your physical address and landline and just give out email and web addresses and perhaps your business cellphone number. As long as your website is kept up to date with your contact info then your card will also remain current. Or find a printer who is happy to print short runs of cards and just order 200 at a time.
As a general rule order enough cards to last you six months, or perhaps a year if you prefer not to keep tweaking your design.