(Submitted by Wayne Parrish) In today’s world, 75% of all multi-function printers (MFPs) are color devices. When trying to decide whether to upgrade from your current black-and-white device to a color device, here are some items you may want to consider:
  1. First off, determine if having color is more of a want or an actual need. For example, if you are trying to promote your company in the marketplace and want to create some “WOW” factor, then printing your marketing materials—brochures, flyers, etc.—in full color can go a long way in making a lasting impression on potential customers.
  2. Also, ask yourself if you currently own or lease desktop color devices that you yourself are having to purchase supplies for, such as toner or parts? If the answer is yes, then you may be surprised to find that over time these devices can become quite costly for you to operate. In these cases, it may make sense for you to upgrade your device to a larger color MFP. Upgrading may allow you to have more control over your overall operating costs as well as having the added benefit of providing you with a device that has increased functionality and produces higher quality printed materials.
  3. Another factor to consider is the paper type that you are using to print your color documents on. The paper weight and texture will greatly affect the end result of your color prints. For example, normal copy paper weight (or thickness) is 20 lbs. per sheet and tends to have a less smooth finish or texture to the touch than higher quality papers. With a thinner paper like this, the ink tends to soak in unevenly and can create a blotchy appearance to your color print. However, with heavier weight papers that have a smoother finish, the ink will sit on top of the paper instead of soaking in, producing a crisper, more vivid print. Therefore, if you need the color on your prints to be the best that it can be, then printing on higher quality or heavier stock paper will help you to achieve this goal. Just remember that the additional cost of higher quality paper will have to be factored into the overall cost of the print project.
Some final facts to leave you with:
  • Typically, in today’s market, upgrading to a color MFP may only increase the lease or purchase cost between 10-30%, depending on the system options, incentives, and size of the product.
  • With some service contracts, the cost to print color pages is typically between $.03 – $.08 extra per page versus black-and-white prints.
  • Furthermore, costs can be better controlled with service contracts versus purchasing supplies on your own. Under a service contract the cost per page to print in color remains constant no matter how much ink you run on a single page. For instance, the cost to print a page that has only a color banner across the top is the same as it would be to print a page edge-to-edge with full color. The same is not true if you are purchasing supplies on your own because, of course, if you use more ink, then you will therefore have to replace the toner sooner due to the increased ink usage, resulting in higher print costs overall.

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