calibration is the key for sure. Once that is done colour-life will be so much easier for you
In addition I use this very common, standard file as a known reference. It is in Adobe (1998) colour space.
I have prints made from it on the various substrates I use on my EPSON 9800/Onyx RIP printing system n the office and samples printed from it by the lab and commercial press printer I use. If I ever consider another paper stock I print this file on it. If I am ever approached by a new supplier of print material, I get them to print this file first. And I keep them as a reference.
All substrates and papers and inks/dyes/chromagenic processes respond differently to the same files, and this gives me an idea of the subtle (or otherwise) differences of the particular print system to be used for a job.
Whilst not recommended as an alternative to calibration...In my kit I carry the most common reference prints I use and the file is on my carry-all USB stick. If I've had to work on an unfamiliar / un-calibrated system for some reason... I simply open the file, pull out my most commonly used reference print, and manually adjust the monitor (if the monitor allows) until the file on screen matches print in hand. Never perfect, not scientific, and more difficult as wide-gamut monitors become more available... but gets me in the ball park... and has saved my butt on occasion.
Many will know the file, it is very common.