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4 Printing Costs Small Businesses Often Don’t Consider

Posted by Glenn Gibson

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June 18, 2015 at 10:00 AM

cutting_costsMost business managers and owners will agree that printers and copiers are essential to daily operations. However, what many don’t consider are hidden costs of printing that directly (and indirectly) affect the balance sheet and operational expenses.

Taking time to assess how these factors add unnecessary costs may surprise you. Various industry and printer vendor studies have shown that companies printing more than 2,000 pages per month incur direct and indirect costs of between one and six per cent of revenue.

Hidden cost 1: Time lost getting to and from the printer


Salaries are among the biggest expenses for small business so it’s important to invest in an office environment that maximises staff productivity. Placing printers far away from staff means they waste time walking to and from the device and often stop for a chat along the way, costing your business in time lost. For example, every five minutes a sales person spends going to and from the printer could instead be spent on the phone speaking to new prospects or tying up proposals.

Cut the cost
Add a device or re-deploy an existing one so it sits close to staff. In today’s market, you can purchase a high performing printer for a lower price than ever before, making it affordable to strategically place more printers closer to staff.


Hidden cost 2: Documents left on the printer

Take a walk around your office at the end of the day and check how many uncollected documents are sitting on the printer. These will probably end up in the recycling bin, which wastes paper, toner and the resources taken to print the documents in the first place. Or worse, the prints may end up in the rubbish bin, costing our environment.

In some cases, these uncollected prints shouldn’t be viewed by anyone but the person clicking the print button, putting your business at risk of unauthorised access to commercially sensitive documents or confidential personal information.

Cut the cost
Invest in software that allows staff to send their print job to any device in the office and only print when they’re standing in front of their chosen device. This can help to eliminate waste associated with unclaimed documents and increase document security.

Your IT provider can provide advice on whether software can be installed on your existing printers or recommendations on a new printing strategy. Some new devices, such as the Fuji Xerox Printers Smart Series, may have this capability built into the device. 

Hidden cost 3: Untrained staff

Training your employees on how to use the office printer may not be a top priority, but it could save your business a lot of money. A common print-cost black hole is the lack of controls or limits set on high-speed, colour printing devices. The cost of toner will add up if employees are regularly printing in colour unnecessarily.

Printing accidentally and carelessly can also result in wasted paper. The most common reasons for this include: printing emails that have several pages; poorly formatted web pages that print blank pages with one or two lines and accidental printing of colour pages before documents are finalised.

Cut the cost

  • Create a policy that restricts access to colour printing. Some printers provide customisable access controls to limit the use of colour by user, department or print function.
  • Encourage staff to use the print preview function before they print and only print the pages they need.
  • Where possible, printing should be double sided (duplex) to reduce the number of pages used. Paper may seem cheap per page but it adds up across a company.


Hidden cost 4: Time lost ordering supplies and arranging servicing

Every device will need supplies which must be replaced regularly. With multiple copiers or printers, your company may be buying many different types often on an ‘as needed’ basis. That’s an expensive way to do business, particularly when paying marked up retail prices.

Another area where companies fail to allocate costs is printer support. This is a large part of the total cost of ownership of a printer and it is critical to understand and determine the overall operational costs. Printers need to be cabled, users need printer drivers installed, consumables need to be added, and paper trays need to be configured along with a multitude of other tasks. It takes time and knowledge for even the smallest desktop printer to be installed.

Cut the cost
A managed print services company can take over the entire management of your printer fleet, including service and consumables, and deliver significant savings.

To learn more about how your business can implement a managed print service, download our free SME guide here

MPS ebook

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Topics: Office Printing, Managed Print Services, Printing Costs, Print Solutions

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