MANAGED PRINT SERVICES | 5 MIN READ
You've looked around the office and noticed that you have a small army of desktop printers. If you're the financial director at your firm, you may be looking at your bottom line and realizing that you are hemorrhaging money from these devices. How could something so small cost so much? Luckily, managed print services can create significant cost savings for your business. But how much does managed print services cost?
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What Are Managed Print Services?
Manged print services is when a third-party firm (commonly a copier dealer) manages another company's printer fleet. This is traditionally done with a single, monthly rate and includes the maintenance of machines and replacement of toner or ink at a reduced cost.
Who Would Benefit from Managed Print Services?
This is a difficult question to answer because each scenario may be different.
Perhaps your company currently has a desktop printer for each employee. Perhaps it uses 10 or more inkjet printers throughout the office. Maybe you have a combination of office copiers and printers. Or maybe your office manager is the person responsible for running out to the store and buying new cartridges when you're low.
In the last scenario, the solution to not having to run out to a local retail store is to purchase in bulk. But this makes it difficult to budget and ink/toner cartridges do have expiration dates. So, depending on how many refills you purchased, it is possible they could go bad before they are used.
All of this leads to waste costs. Whether it's the physical cartridges that expire, the inventory being kept, or the personnel time use to go make the purchase (or order the supplies), waste costs will exist.
And they do add up.
In the other scenarios, you can see significant savings by going through a dealer. This is because retailers have a much higher mark-up on the cartridges they sell.
Dealers are able to purchase toner and ink at a fraction of the cost because of the significantly stronger buying power they hold with the manufacturers. The result is cost savings to you.
But how much costs savings can there be and how much do managed print services cost?
How Much Do Managed Print Services Cost?
There are many companies who struggle to properly budget for ink or toner cartridge replacements, and it is shocking for them to discover how costly it can be to their bottom line. Much of this is due to a lack of understanding to the true coverage of an ink or toner cartridge.
When you look at the packaging of a cartridge, you may have noticed that it states something like 1,500 pages at 5% coverage. 1,500 pages seems like a lot of printing (and it is), but the issue is what print coverage is and how much 5% really covers.
Print coverage is the total amount of ink on the page. So, 5% page coverage means that 5% of an 8 1/2 x 11 inch page is covered in ink. Standard Office Systems ran various documents through a print coverage analyzer and created the graphic below to better illustrate what various levels of print coverage look like:
As you can see, it's very easy to look at 5% page coverage and imagine your usage to be far greater. It isn't hard to see 10% looking more like a normal print job in the office, and suddenly, that 1,500 pages actually becomes 750 pages. Just like that, your cartridge consumption doubles.
Fun Fact: Color prints can have more than 100% print coverage since color can print in layers, and color cartridges are more expensive, as well.
Managed print services protects companies from this scenario, because with MPS, you are contracted for one flat, easy-to-budget rate that includes all of your service and supplies
The cost of managed print services will vary based on three main factors:
- Expected monthly volume
- Black and white vs color
- Efficiency of the devices
Honorable mention goes to inkjet vs toner printer cartridges, but believe me when I say that unless you have a specific purpose for using ink, toner is the way to go.
But how much do managed print services cost?
As I mentioned earlier, costs will be based on a number of factors, but you can typically expect to pay $0.01 or less per page for black and white prints, and $0.4-$0.5 per page for color prints.
Do the math. If you have any kind of volume in your print jobs, using a managed print service provider is the way to go.
Other Considerations for Managed Print Services
Managed print service costs can certainly be higher and lower. This is a range based on our own pricing at SOS, as well as the pricing we have learned from others in the industry.
A word of caution: lower prices do not always translate to the best deal.
Considering the reality that dealers receive the same or very comparable pricing on machines as their competition, the only reason they can justify a lower price is because:
- They employ fewer service technicians
- They pay their service technicians (and possibly all employees) less than their competitors
- The owner is fine with taking a lower margin to gain more market share
All three scenarios are possible, but the first two are the most likely. If that is the case, it is likely your machines will experience extended downtime as they wait for a service technicians to arrive; or your machines will be down more often due to high turnover of service technicians.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to know, so it is important to do your homework before choosing a vendor. Look at reviews and ask for testimonials or a reference list. Don't be afraid to ask difficult questions that may give you great insight into the type of company you are considering.
RELATED: How to Choose the Best Copier Dealer
Regardless of who you decide to do business with, there may be great cost savings for your company's bottom line if you choose to take advantage of managed print services, but you'll never know unless you contact them and find out for yourself!
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Posted by Daniel Gray
Daniel has a passion for educating and helping people and has spent over a decade in the education and office technology industries. He has a Bachelor's in Education from the University of West Georgia and an MBA from the University of Georgia. Daniel has been the lead blogger at SOS since 2017 and specializes in managed IT services, copiers and printers, and business phone systems. He lives in Atlanta and has a goofy greyhound named Ticker.