Do you know how your monthly printer bill is determined? If you’re like most people, the answer to that question is probably no—and that’s okay! Printer pricing is confusing, but with a bit of education, you can make a more informed decision on your next copier contract.
So, what goes into your monthly bill? Insurance and taxes aside, your printer bill is essentially comprised of three things: your equipment, your monthly service plan, and any overages. How do you get the best deal on each of these components? Keep reading to find out!
What is the best printer for my office?
Think about the last time you bought a car. What were you looking for? Depending on the driver, a typical family of four could be shopping very different cars. Mom may need a vehicle that can comfortably seat the entire family. Dad may need a truck with a large bed for storage. A teenage child may need a car that is safe, cost effective … and not too fast.
In the same way, the various departments of your organization have different needs when it comes to printing. For example, Accounts Receivable may need a machine that can print high volume black and white to accommodate their monthly invoice runs. On the other hand, Marketing may need a color device that handles lower quantity with higher resolution and color fidelity.
Understanding your unique needs can help you identify which and how many machines you’ll need. In general, printers are differentiated on the basis of their specs. Common considerations include:
- Page speed
- Page volume
- Print quality (resolution)
- Color reproduction
- Finishing options (staples, fifth color, etc.)
The takeaway is this: Identify your users’ specific printing needs and buy machines that fit those requirements. Selecting a machine with features you’ll never use can be a costly mistake.
How many pages should I be paying for each month?
Okay, now that you know how to choose your equipment, you’ll need to identify how many pages your contract should include. This number should be based on your actual usage, and there are several ways to identify your needs:
- Review your recent billings: If you’re already using a Managed Print Services provider, gather your last few invoices and take an average of your typical monthly volume. One thing to remember: If your printing needs are cyclical, you’ll want to make sure to use a large enough sample to account for your business’s busier periods. This will help you save money in the long run by reducing unnecessary overages.
- Perform a before and after comparison of your meter counts: If your printing needs are relatively stable, you can perform a before and after comparison of your meter counts over a three-month period. To do so, simply check the meter count of each machine and then check it again in 90 days. Divide the difference by three and you have your average monthly volume.
- Install a data collection agent (DCA) on your devices: If you have a Managed Print Services partner, it’s likely that you already have a DCA installed on your network. These tools can quickly pull a report on your usage to help you see how many prints you’re running in an average month. Feeling uneasy about installing something to your network? Don’t worry—these tools cannot access any of the data that passes through your machines; they only keep track of print counts, supply levels, and service code alerts.
- Audit your paper consumption: Not using a Managed Print Services partner and don’t want to bother with meters? You can also gauge your printer usage by looking at your monthly paper consumption. A standard box of paper includes 8 reams for a total of 4,000 sheets. Once you know how many boxes or reams you run in a given month, you’ll know how many pages your contract should cover. With that said, it’s worth noting that this method doesn’t account for double-sided printing.
To summarize: Understanding your print volumes will ensure that you’re not paying for capacity you don’t use.
Am I paying too much for my printer service?
Okay, so now you’ve identified which machines you need and how much volume you’ll run on each of those machines. In a typical operating environment, this should help ensure that you’re not overpaying for your equipment or your monthly service allowances.
But let’s be honest, 2021 hasn’t been a typical year. So what do you do when your printing needs change mid-contract? Simple. You ask your provider to right-size your monthly service allowances.
Key takeaway: Choose an office technology partner that will adjust your monthly allowances based on your actual usage.
Looking for a new printer service company?
Enlisting a Managed Print Services company is the best way to ensure that your print environment is operating at peak efficiency. Knight Office Solutions is a nationally recognized business technology firm offering printer/copier sales and support, managed IT services, and document workflow software.
Our experienced consultants can help you identify an imaging solution that meets your needs and your budget. And when you choose Knight, you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing your Account Manager will meet with you to review your usage and adjust your service allowances on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis, per your preference.