5 Tips to help you decide if your printer is stealing from you.

Examine these five questions to find out if your printer is robbing you blind! 

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Don’t be fooled by that innocent looking printer on your desk, if you let it, that little machine will rob you of time and money on a daily basis. Some manufacturers purposely price their printers to be loss leaders knowing that they will more than make up for it by selling you the more expensive ink. Other printers will drain your time with complicated interfaces and menu systems that require a mechanical engineering degree just to operate.

So how do you find out if your printer is stealing from you? Here are a few indicators that you can use to determine whether or not your printer is trying to rob you blind.

1. Cheap printer = Expensive ink and toner

I know, you got a steal of a deal on a new printer. You cant believe how great a deal you got on it, almost like you stole it from them. In reality the printer is stealing from you. Companies purposely sell machines for less than it cost to make them in order to force you in to buying the more expensive ink and toner for that specific model. In order to fully understand if your printer “bargain” was in fact a good deal you need to understand the complete cost of ownership for that specific printer. Once you determine the print yield and total cost of printer ownership you can use the information below to decide whether or not your printer is stealing from you.

Average cost per page (based upon 5% page fill) as determined from a large variety of typical print cartridges and settings.

Inkjet printers: 
Plain black text: 4 cents to 5 cents per page
Simple four-color page: 12 cents to 14 cents per page

Monochrome laser/LED printers: 
Plain black text: 1 cent to 2.5 cents per page

Color laser/LED printers: 
Plain black text: 2 cents to 3 cents per page
Simple four-color page: 12 cents to 15 cents per page

If these numbers are in line with your cost per page then you are probably not doing too bad as long as your print volume is extremely low. If you are spending more money per page than these averages you might need to consider a print audit or buying a new printer all together.

If you are only printing a few pages per week then this might not be a big issue for you but if you are printing thousands of pages per month then you can see how pennies per page can quickly add up to highway robbery. Considering that a managed print solution can ensure that you are in complete control of your print costs it makes no sense to continue to let your printer steal from you.

2. Lower capacity = Higher overall print cost

Research shows us time and time again that ink cartridges with lower capacities cost considerably more in the long run. Again, if you are only printing a few pages a day, this might not matter to you since you are spreading that cost over the course of a longer period of time. However, if you are printing a few hundred pages per week you need to be considering printers with high yield print cartridges (ink – 250+ page yield and toner – 2000+ page yield) Knowing whether or not there are high yield cartridges available for your printer model before hand can be an important part of controlling your overall print costs.

3. What kind of paper do you need for optimal results?

Ink and toner are not the only costs associated with print expenses. Paper has to be considered any time you start talking about managing your print environment. If the printer you buy does not allow you to use standard copy paper for optimal print quality then you could end up spending more on higher quality paper to make up for it.

This is not to say that you might not want to have some nice paper around for the occasional presentation but it should not be a requirement. Read the fine print on the next printer before buying to make sure paper wont be an additional burden on your overall print budget.

4. Is your Printer stealing your time? 

Printer manufacturers often cite their page-per-minute (ppm) based on draft or efficient print modes so be leary if you plan on doing high volume print jobs on any printer that is not rated for commercial use. Depending on your requirements you might want to consider a higher capacity printer over a smaller more economical printer as long term costs will far outweigh the up front savings on these machines.

Many times it is difficult to know what type of printer you need for the job. A simple print audit can help you understand your print volume and make sure that you have the right printer for the job as well as reducing overall print expenses by charging you on a flat per page basis as opposed to buying ink and toner as needed.

5. Does your printer jam or miss feed regularly? 

I bet you never considered that the quality of the springs inside of your paper tray can be one of the culprits behind a printers thievery. Have you ever had a printer that miss feeds every other print, rattles when feeding paper or just wont push the paper up in to the machine? All of these can be attributed to lower quality printer parts used by some manufacturers to reduce the initial cost of the machine.

the time spent dealing with frequent paper jams as well as the cost of replacing paper trays can quickly add unwanted costs on to your overall print budget. A managed print solution typically includes maintenance on your printers thereby eliminating the need for costly repairs, unnecessary costs and will help you manage your overall print expenses.

So what is the verdict? Is your printer stealing from you? We would love to hear from you about the problems you have had with your existing printers or solutions you might have found to help manage some of your print expenses. Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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