PRODUCTION PRINTER COSTS | 5 MIN READ
You're searching the internet for pricing information on production printers. It's difficult to get any kind of answer to assist you in budgeting for such a machine; however, you are aware that production printers can be very large and powerful machines and most likely come with a significantly higher price tag compared to others. This article answers the question regarding 'how much a production printer costs' and more.
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What is a Production Printer?
First, let's start by defining what a production printer is and go from there.
A production printer is a high output volume printer that exceeds 65 pages per minute. Production printers are commonly used by larger organizations or print shops who need to print large quantities of media. Machines with this output capacity are designed to be run for long periods of time and to provide cost savings through efficiency.
How Much Does a Production Printer Cost?
If you choose to lease a production printer, there are two main criteria that will affect the overall monthly cost of your machine: the price of the machine and the price of the service.
This article assumes that you will be purchasing a machine that will include a service contract. If not, it is highly recommended that a service contract is included due to the nature of such a large device to avoid costly per-visit fees, should something breakdown.
The range in production printer machine prices are typically from $20,000-$100,000+. In some cases, production printers can go as high as $500,000, but this is very rare. This article will breakdown the printers into three tiers.
Below, we have given a range of prices for each class of production printer. Why is there a range?
Like the purchase of a car, production printers vary widely both in features and overall ability to produce. So, it depends on whether or not you want the Subaru or the Bentley, cloth seats or leather, manual or automatic (you get the idea).
Before reading further, evaluate three key criteria for your business: how fast do your prints need to be produced (do you have tight deadlines when printing), what kind of finishing options do you need (booklet makers, letter folders, etc.), and how many prints do you typically need to produce per month (volume)?
Tier I Production Print Machines
Price Range: $20,000-$45,000
Production Speed: 65-80 pages/min (color); 85-125 pages/min (black & white)
Finishing Options: Typically, standard paper input options and basic finishing needs
Volume Demands: 20,000-100,000 prints/month (color); 80,000-200,000 prints/month (black & white)
Tier I machines are the most basic of all production printers and are best suited for businesses who have periods of high volume needs, but are not concerned about the quality of the prints that are produced.
These type of organizations are often companies with a monthly paper billings that need to be produced or a quarterly newsletter. Production equipment is necessary in these instances because the volume during these short periods are too intense for a standard multi-function printer.
Tier II Production Print Machines
Price Range: $40,000-$100,000
Production Speed: 80-90 pages/min (color); 115-140 pages/min (black & white)
Finishing Options: Mid-level
Volume Demands: 80,000-500,00 prints/month (color); 100,000-1,000,000 prints/month (black & white)
Tier II machines are a mid-tier option for organizations that have consistent periods of print volume, need adequate quality, but may not be selling their prints as a line of business.
Tier II machines are quality options for organizations like school systems and large churches who need a consistent printing option for mailers, programs, or bulletins. This is not a good option for print shops who need a much higher quality print produced for their customers.
Tier III Production Print Machines
Price Range: $100,000 +
Production Speed: 80-100 pages/min. (color); 140-366 pages/min. (black & white)
Finishing Options: Mid-level to full finishing options included
Volume Demands: 80,000-500,000 pages/month (color); 300,000-10,000,000 (black & white)
Tier III production machines offer the highest levels in both speed and image quality. These robust machines are perfect for large print shops or other operations that consistently have a need for in-house, high volume quality printing.
Theaters or concert halls that consistently produce custom programs may find significant cost savings by purchasing a Tier III production printer for their printing needs. By not farming out these tasks to print shops, greater efficiency and flexibility can be achieved.
This is not a quality option for organizations that require intermittent high-volume printing or do not require high image quality.
Production Printer Service Costs
Typically, service costs are what carry the greatest range for most copier/printer dealers. This is due to several factors, but I would caution you not to be quick to jump to the lowest possible monthly cost without doing your research.
Black and White Service Supplies and Maintenance .0025 - .004 per impression depending on volume commitment and type of unit
Color Service, Supplies and Maintenance .037 - .049 per impression depending on volume commitment and type of unit
Often, what appears to be a great deal (on service or equipment) is really just a company leaving something out. Sometimes, the machines being quoted aren't even in the same classification, so it's very important to look at your contract and negotiate, if necessary.
When evaluating the cost for service, check and see if your monthly service includes preventative maintenance, auto-toner renewal, or per-visit fees. A flat, monthly fee is often the least amount of hassle and simpler to budget around.
The dealer servicing your unit should have a committed, dedicated production service team. This provides for the highest level of service commitment and response time.
Most important is ensuring the tech that comes to service your equipment has the correct common parts in their vehicle in order to complete a service call. It does no good to have a tech response of under 4 hours if they have to order a part or go back to the shop because they predominantly work on office type equipment, and unfortunately, this is a common problem with some dealers.
Remember, companies that charge more for their services often are able to pay and attract the best and brightest technicians. This ultimately benefits the customer, because if you purchase a machine purely based on price, but it is always down, is it really a great deal?
The cost of downtime can often be far greater.
Other Production Print Cost Factors
Sometimes, companies need a production printer because the type of stock media they are using can't be used with a standard office copier, so it's important to speak openly about your needs to the copier dealer you choose to do business with so they can help you get the most out of your dollars.
As mentioned above, the vendor who you choose to get your service from is as important as the machine in which you choose to purchase. A production printer that is always experiencing downtime or has extended downtime due to poor service is doing little to help your bottom line.
Make sure you do your research and get the most out of both your production printer and the vendor who provides your service.
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.