Understand the Components That Determine Your Print Costs

By: Marco
October 26, 2023

Equipment, service, and supplies — what else is there? Quite a bit, as it turns out! Additional components that affect print costs can really mess with your budget if you’re not careful!

In this blog, we’ll uncover the sneaky — and not-so-sneaky — contributors to your overall print costs so you can shop for new equipment with confidence. 

Hard Costs

hard costs icons

The hard costs associated with printing include the cost of the equipment itself, the correct ink or toner, and the cost of regular maintenance. 

Printing equipment tends to be fairly cheap, considering how complex the equipment actually is. Ink and toner cartridges are where manufacturers typically even out their profit margins. That practice doesn’t always sit well with consumers, but as long as buyers remain focused on equipment sticker prices, it’s likely to continue. 

And while it’s tempting to just purchase “compatible” ink and toner, those cartridges can also affect print quality and cause unnecessary wear and tear on your equipment. Additionally, compatible ink and toner cartridges also use re-programmable chips, which means they’re vulnerable to hacking at any point in the supply chain. 

How To Save on Hard Costs

“Cheaper” printers often come with more expensive toner and ink cartridges, and they may need more frequent maintenance. We wouldn’t recommend using compatible ink or toner cartridges for the reasons we outlined above, and we definitely wouldn’t recommend skipping regular maintenance. 

However, there are easy ways to save on these hard costs: 

  • Switch default settings to 2-sided, black-and-white printing 
  • Use thinner, budget-friendly fonts
  • Encourage employees to preview documents to catch formatting errors before printing
  • Implement secure printing, which requires users to authenticate themselves at the device before it will release a print job
  • Consider eliminating personal printers, which are associated with wasteful printing habits
  • Reduce the number of staff members who are empowered to purchase supplies, and make sure they know who your approved vendors are
  • Consolidate the number of vendors that maintain your print devices

Soft Costs

employee burden

Here’s where things get a bit tricky. Oftentimes, “cheaper” printers aren’t known for their reliability or their longevity. So buyer beware: consider a device’s employee burden rate and its likely lifecycle before you assume you’re getting a great deal. 

Employee Burden Rate

How much time is your office administrator, key operator, or IT staff likely to spend on fixing paper jams, keeping your fleet up and running, and figuring out who to call when a tech is needed? The type of equipment, the number of vendors, and the variety of supply sources all add to the time required to take care of these tasks. 

Time is money everywhere, but your IT department’s time is especially expensive. If they’re the ones stuck managing your fleet, it’s likely that about 50% of their help desk calls are printer-related. If you’re looking to give your IT department more time in their day, more reliable equipment is a great way to start. 

Equipment Lifecycle

The more you use your equipment, the more your equipment depreciates. If it’s used improperly, it will depreciate even faster. In addition, technology is changing at an ever-increasing rate, continually decreasing the value of your equipment. 

How To Save on Soft Costs

Treat your printing equipment with care to extend its useful life, but know when to say when. Outdated equipment can be very costly in terms of repair parts, energy use, employee burden rates, and business risk. Need something more specific? These days, printers that are over seven years old won’t typically have the type of security features businesses need to keep their data safe. If you’re still using a networked printer that’s over seven years old, consider decommissioning it sooner rather than later.

You can also stop purchasing equipment altogether. Leasing is an option that allows you to use the equipment until the efficiency declines, your business initiatives change, or a more effective technology becomes available.

The Easiest Way To Reduce Business Print Costs

managed services savings

It doesn’t always happen that there’s a service that can save you time and money, increase security, and make your workplace more pleasant all at the same time. And that’s why modern managed print services are so darn popular. 

Your IT staff is happier because they no longer have to spend so much time troubleshooting printers. Admins are happier because supply ordering is automatic, and there are fewer invoices to process. Execs and business owners are also happy because they get more productivity while reducing their risk. 

Of course, not all managed print providers are the same. At Marco, we include print security as part of our regular offering. And because we’ve been around long enough to form strong relationships with top manufacturers, we can offer our clients highly competitive pricing on equipment. 

Click below to read up on the additional benefits of managed print services! 

Managed Print Services and How It Helps Businesses Learn More

Topics: Copiers & Printers