Have ever considered how much it
costs to click on print? A few pennies, right? Who cares?
Now what if I show you that, by using
actual data that your printing costs can be over $2,000 a year per
printer. Now that is something to think about.
To begin with we are going to use
actual data taken from a company that has several printers in one office.
I selected an employee that is doing a substantial amount of printing just for
a worst case scenario but this really is not uncommon.
Let’s start with one of their
printers, a HP LaserJet 1320. The original price of the printer needs to
|HP LaserJet 1320|
factored into our figures. The printer was purchased directly from HP
and the average service life is 5 years. The price of the printer was
$399 plus shipping at $25 plus tax of $37.10 brings the cost of the printer to
$461.10. Using the 5 year rule the printer costs $92.22 a year.
Some people will argue that the cost
of the printer should not include the shipping and tax. But these are
still costs that come out of the checking account and need to be figured into
the final bottom end of the costs.
And since we know what model
printer, we now know that it takes the 49A toner cartridge. I wanted new
HP toner and not a rebuilt unit or non-HP cartridge. By going on-line I
saw that Staples, WB Mason and Quill sell the cartridge for $93.99 and add tax
of $8.22 and the toner costs $102.21. These companies offer free shipping
so we are not going to factor that in. The advertised print yield for the
49A cartridge is 2,500 pages. That breaks down to .04 a print.
A few words on toner yields, the
industry norm for printing is that a typical page is covered with only 5%
ink. If you look at a typical page and visually compress the text all
into one corner with no paper showing through you would cover about 5% of the
page. What can throw this off is if you print a lot of graphics or
pictures, lots of heavy bold or black text, or maybe just a few lines of text
per paper. But it is safe to say that most pages are covered only 5% and
HP rates the 49A cartridge for 2,500 pages at that 5%.
|Typical case of paper|
For paper I chose the white
multipurpose paper that most companies would normally buy. Here I went
with Staples and it is advertised at $49.99 for a case. Each case holds
5,000 sheets of paper. Add sales tax of $4.37 and the case now costs
$54.36. From here each sheet of paper costs just a hair above $0.01, but
we can safely say a penny.
Now we see that each time we click
print that one page costs $.05 each.
Where does that mean after a year?
Taking the same company and that one
employee it was found that they print an average of 4,300 pages a month.
Multiply that by $0.05 and we see it costs $218.79 a month which is
$2,625.51 a year. Add in the annual cost of the printer of $92.22 and we
see that printing from that one person costs us $2,717.73. Look at the schedule below. (Note I used the sales tax for my county of 0.08625%, your county sales tax most likely will be different)
Cartridge Price $ 93.99
Sales Tax 8.22
Divide by the Yield 2,500
Price of toner per print 0.04
Price for a case of paper 49.99
Sales Tax 4.37
Divide by sheets in a case 5,000
Cost per sheet of paper 0.01
Cost per print 0.05
Times prints per month 4,300
Cost of printing /Mo. 218.79
Cost of printing per Yr. 2,625.51
Price for printer 399.00
Sales Tax 37.10
Divide by service Life (Yr) 5
Annual cost for the printer 92.22
Total Printing Costs / Yr $ 2,717.73
Just for the heck of it let’s say
you have 12 employees printing that volume and you see that your costs for
printing are $36,612.77 a year. Like I asked before, who cares…now?
Even if your printing is a more
reasonable 3,300 pages a month you are still looking at $2,107.15 per yer per printer.
And let us not forget this is for
black and white. Color is a lot higher.
These figures will be different with
each different type of printer, where it was purchased, the price paid, the
brand name toner vs. remanufactured or third party toner, the price of paper, how
many prints that you actually do, shipping, and sales tax. But at the end of the day printing is
not cheap and with today’s economy it pays to keep a close eye on how many
pages are printed. So in reality your printing costs would be different
than what I have here but it is something to keep a close eye on.
Many copy machines today have network
printing capabilities in them so users can send their print jobs to those
machines instead. With many contracts you get a set amount of free
prints/copies per month as part of the contract. This can be a
substantial savings in toner costs.
But the down side is if you have a
lot of people printing to these machines you can wind up with people waiting
for their print job to come out. And print jobs can get messed up even
when they setup print separator pages which is money tossed out the window.
Plus if you go over the allotment of print jobs, the copier company could
charge you as much as .10 or more per print over the allotment.
In the long run considering that
staff has to get up from their desk, walk to the copier, wait for their print
jobs then walk back is salary lost that could be put to productivity. Add
this to the monthly printer charges, supplies charges, over usage charges and
you really see that there is not great of a savings after all.
You can go with one of those print
management companies. Here for a monthly fee they supply all the toner
you could want. But they give you an allotment of how many prints you can
do and like with the copier companies, any overage you can get hit very hard
with excess print charges. Plus you are getting their brand of toner and
not brand name.
We tried that in our office and it
turned out to be cheaper to stick with buying the brand name toner cartridges
from Quill, Staples and WB Mason. The toner that the print management
company sold was not as good either and when one of their cartridges leaked all
over the inside of a new $800 printer and they did not come forward and repair
|Imagine how much money is|
being tossed out
Another thing that many people don’t
think about is the waste of paper when printing. How many times is the
garbage can filled with paper from a printer? How much money is being
And let us not forget one thing that
was not brought into our figures, the cost of electricity to run the printer in
the first place.
With the focus on going ‘Green’
today, printing on paper can be considered a waste of natural resources.
Another method that is very cost
effective and within reach of every company is to go paperless printing.
With that the document is created electronically and printed as a PDF file
which is easily read by any computer, provided they have a PDF reader installed
which you can get for free. Most computers today have one already
The creation of a PDF file is
accomplished by installing software that acts like a printer when you click print.
Only instead of spitting out paper it creates the document as a PDF file which
can be read with an application like Adobe Reader.
|PDF is a common format today|
Of course when you create the
original document you are most likely using a program like MS Word, WordPerfect
or some other word processing package.
Right from the get go the document is in a paperless format. Problem here is that the document can be
altered so by printing it as a PDF helps prevent or at least reduce that
At my last company the accounting department
produced workpapers that the property managers had to review and sign off
on. These were massive documents that were printed as hard copies.
Then they were sent for review and finally to be signed off on.
Afterwards they were scanned into PDF files to be put onto the paperless
A project that I was instituting was
instead of printing the hardcopies in the first place, make the workpapers as
PDF files right off the bat. Review them on-line, print the signature
page only and sign off on that. Now scan that one page and attach it to
the workpapers. From there a simple matter of putting them into the on-line
With programs like Acrobat
Professional it is a simple matter to add notes to the document should there be
changes that need to be done or if not that, just print those few pages and not
the entire massive package.
This not only was a major cost
savings as far as printing was concerned but it saved the time and salary of a
person to scan in thousands of sheets of paper, plus the postage costs to send
them out and not to mention the space savings as well.
Yet as great as this can be, you
still will need to make physical printouts from time to time. There
simply are areas where you need that piece of paper.
Keeping an eye on your printing
costs today should not be difficult and can save you a lot of money in the long
run. With the advances in technology that we have there is no reason not
to start to move toward printing paperlessly.
(c)2014 William Lewis