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The Top Three Considerations When Shopping for Printers and Copiers

Bryant Hays

For many businesses, printers all look the same. But choosing the wrong printer can lead to frustration, cost overruns and lowered productivity. However, the opposite is also true- the right copiers, printers or multifunction devices can make your organization more effective than ever.

It might sound too good to believe, but there are ways to save money AND get more powerful printer technology.


You might think all print expenses are obvious: equipment, service and supplies. However, these expenses only paint part of the picture. True print costs also include the soft costs: employee productivity and lifecycle of the equipment. Let’s take a quick look at the three most important considerations that make up your true print costs:

  1. Equipment: The cost of acquisition, which may be a purchase price, lease or cost-per page agreement.

    But don’t forget about the ongoing expense that includes toner, developer, paper and other print media, staples and more.

  2. Service/Maintenance: This includes monthly service agreements or one-time maintenance charges. There are parts that wear out on printer or copier that can cost more or less per print depending on the printer. In addition, you will pay for the time spent for employees to fix equipment, order supplies, schedule maintenance, etc.

  3. Lifecycle of Equipment: The lifecycle cost is the depreciation plus the availability of new, better technology. Gathering this information can be time consuming, but it is essential for understanding exactly what you pay for printing every month.

Next, let’s look at how to address these issues.


Modern analytics, data crunching and technology assessment methods can narrow down your choices to a narrow band of technology choices. If you have a fleet of printers that needs management, a Managed Print Service provider offers visibility into your organization's overall printing activity.

This is done with detailed analysis and reporting of the cost of printing, who is printing from what applications, which printers are the high-cost printers, and the average cost per page. This kind of insight makes it possible to eliminate or consolidate printers without impacting productivity. They can consider factors like:

  • The number of pages your company prints per month
  • The number of employees currently using each device
  • How much you pay on print costs per year
  • How often you print in color vs. black and white
  • Are your printers secure from hackers?

If you buy a machine that is too small to match your printing volumes, then you might wind up paying more in operational costs than anticipated. If you buy a copier too powerful for your work needs, then you have wasted money and space.


But the correct answer is not just acquiring the most cost-effective hardware. There are important software and policy-based decisions to make. Designing applications, rules and policies can drastically improve the way people print in any organization.

There are a range of print policies that organizations can implement today. For example, today duplex printers are quite common, but users don't utilize them to their fullest extent. An organization can enforce duplex printing on specific printers or by specific applications (such as email). The same goes for N-up printing, the printing of two pages of text on one page. This could be used when printing email messages or other internal reference materials.

Another popular policy is the auto-omission of images when printing web pages to avoid printing unnecessary banners, ads, and other graphic content. All you end up with is nice clean text on the page. Organizations that use the print rule functionality can reduce print volume by 10% to 20%.

As you can see, there is more to consider when designing a printer fleet than just the cost, service and lifecycle. If you would like one of our business analysts to contact you to help answer any questions you may have about buying printers, copiers or MFD’s, contact us today.

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