When looking into purchasing a printer one aspect that most buyers do not consider is the cost of the printer over its life. Most of the time they look at the price tag and assume that it is reasonably inexpensive. This is a common misconception as over its life it may end up costing thousands. The reason behind this is, as I’m sure you have heard, is that they make their money on the ink.
The concept behind this is very similar to a razor blade. In many times they have promotions to give away or get you the handle for the razor very inexpensively. Where they make their money is on the actual razor blade. This is the same case with printers. In many cases it is easy for high volume printing environments to spend thousands on consumables over the life of the printer, compared to a relatively low cost for the printer.
When looking into a printer for your office an important aspect to consider is your monthly or quarterly average. There is a wide range of printers that can vary in PPM (pages per minute), resolution, dots per inch, and duty cycle. Duty cycle is the pages that the printer manufacturer recommends without putting too much wear and tear on the unit. Looking into your usage is key to making sure you are not overspending on your printer. If you get a printer with a lower duty cycle because it is cheaper and have a high volume need, you will end up spending thousands more then you thought when you first purchased the $150 printer.
One way to figure out what you are spending on your printer is figuring out your CPP or your cost-per-page. This ongoing cost for the printer is relatively easy to calculate to see your true costs. For example let’s say you spend $30 on your ink and the cartridge page yield is 500. You would begin by dividing the cost of your ink, or 30, by the total impressions it says the cartridge can produce. In this scenario you would do 30 divided by 500 which would give you a cost per page of $.06. This will give you a good idea of what your cost per page is. After calculating this it is also a good idea to look at your average page coverage. Most cartridges are based on a 5% page coverage. This can affect your cost because if you have an average of 10% coverage you will get less impressions per cartridge, in turn increasing your cost of the printer.
Now, some of you might be looking at the cost and saying “well this is only six cents, how much can that add up”. The truth this can be very expensive over the life of a printer. Let’s say there is a penny difference between two machines. If you have a higher volume of 5,000 per month it can add up. This would equate to fifty dollars per month or six hundred dollars over the course of a year.
Before you buy a printer for your office needs make sure you do not purchase the one that is the most inexpensive to try and save money. Instead, make sure you at looking at your volumes, duty cycles of different printers, what speed printer you would need, and resolution. If you can factor all of your needs into your decision you will have a unit that fits your needs better and saves you money.