The Real Cost of a Printer
Paper Costs and Waste
Depending on the type of printing you do, paper can quickly inflate your TCO. A word of caution here: Some low-cost papers can create problems for higher-performance color printers. They tend to leave a greater amount of paper residue or dust, which can create paper feed problems over time. Stick with a quality paper of a weight recommended by the printer manufacturer.
While not easy to measure, one expense that will greatly increase your TCO is waste. These are the print jobs that were printed with errors and trashed, or jobs where 100 copies were made when you really needed just 10.
The use of "print previews" in your software applications are a great tool to reduce your printing expenses. You would also be wise to print one copy for final review before running a large job. Most high-performance color printers can notify users when they run low on ink or paper, therefore reducing potential waste.
Network Cost, Support and Service
Wherever there are computers, networks and printers there will be a cost of maintaining the network. This adds an indirect cost component to the TCO equation. This is something to keep in mind when considering the ease of installing the new printer on the network.
If possible, negotiate to have maintenance and service included with your new printer. Many manufacturers offer these services as incentives. A product with an on-site service agreement is preferable to one with a slightly lower initial cost. It's likely your TCO will be lower in the long run.
Total cost of ownership is not an exact science and will vary from user to user. There are new programs offered in the market that provide a very low TCO. One such program is offered by FreePrinters.com. It provides a high-performance color printer and on-site service for businesses that need to print 1,500 color pages or more each month. A program for the small office is FreeInk-jet.com, which offers an all-in-one color printer that can print, copy, scan and fax. Both are economical programs that will lower your TCO.