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Elevity, a division of Gordon Flesch Company, provides comprehensive technology management services. Their IT experts take a holistic approach and provide a right-sized plan with a tailored strategy, robust security, best-in-class solutions and unrivaled support.

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Affordable Office Printers for Small Businesses

08/04/2020
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Finding the best printer or copier for a small business is not an easy thing. There is almost too much information online, and you can spend hours wading through customer reviews to determine which model will give you the best value. This is especially true if you are a small business with a limited budget for office equipment and supplies.

The question for a small business is whether to buy a home office device from an office supply store or if it makes sense to get a more full-featured, professional-grade device. The answer depends on the volume and complexity of your print needs. We recommend a more professional-grade machine once your volume passes around 500 prints/copies per month, especially if printing in color.

The good news is that we don’t believe a business should have to sacrifice functionality in their printing just because budgets are tight. As with any purchase, there are always trade-offs and considerations to look at to find the machine that delivers just what your small or medium-sized business may need.

Comparison shopping for a small office printer is not easy. Home office devices often have an enticingly low price tag. But as many people learn the hard way, manufacturers of many of these devices make most of their money on supplies. If you do that math, it is not uncommon for you to pay as much, or more, for supplies as you did the device.

Here’s what you need to think about:

Networking – Can you connect it to your existing network? Once a machine is networked you can use it to scan documents and automate and digitize your workflows.

Compatibility – There’s no point in spending money on a machine that won’t work with the rest of your equipment or software.

Speed – How many pages can you copy, and how quickly? If you have a high volume of paperwork to duplicate, you’ll want a machine that can keep up.

Price – Does the manufacturer offer purchasing options? Do they offer lease options that make it easy to upgrade your technology as needed? You should also investigate inclusive plans for supplies, paper and toner cartridges. Getting a rough estimate of your expected volume will help determine what size device you should be looking at.

Most small businesses and home offices can benefit from the use of a multifunction copy machine instead of a separate printer, fax machine and scanner. Since a small business is unlikely to use a copy machine hour after hour, it will be easy to balance copy jobs with other vital tasks, like printing, faxing and scanning. Here are some of ideal small business printers for less than 10 employees or home office:

Small businesses or home offices can start with an affordable model like the Lexmark B/W Desktop XM3250 printer. It can produce duplex (2-sided) documents up to 50 pages per minute (ppm) and has a copy speed of up to 38 pages per minute. The machine’s recommended monthly page volume is 2,000 – 20,000 pages, which should be more than sufficient for most offices with average printing needs. If your office needs color printing, the Lexmark Color Desktop XC4140 offers color printing at 40 ppm and a recommended monthly age volume up to 150,000 pages.

For small businesses that with demands for copying and printing, perhaps in a legal, medical or insurance office, you may prefer a machine like the imageRUNNER ADVANCE 525iF with printing speeds of up to 55 pages-per-minute. For color printing, the imageRUNNER ADVANCE C256iF II device prints at up to 26 pages per minute in black-and-white and color. It is a compact and efficient all in one printer, scanner, copier and fax that supports workflow and management software to help get complex jobs done fast.

Similarly, the Ricoh IM 350F black and white multifunction device offers enough power for most offices with print speeds of 37 ppm and can scan and copy at 1200x1200 dpi max print resolution. Depending on the needs of your business, the IM 350F Essential, Plus or Performance upgrade packages can deliver more paper trays, advanced workflow software and paper handling capabilities. For high-volume offices that need a color printer/multifunction device we also like the Ricoh IM C400F, a color laser multifunction that prints at 45 ppm in black and white or 42 ppm for color.

This is just a small sample of the thousands of printers on the market. But I hope that this helps illustrate the choices and considerations for small businesses looking for an ideal workhorse printer. A business that often prints their own flyers and marketing materials, like an advertising or graphic design firm, will need a different solution than an office that prints mostly black and white invoices.

If you need help choosing the right machine for your business, contact the print experts at the Gordon Flesch Company. We even have a new offering designed just for home offices. 

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