Discover the true cost of printing

If you want to know how much your printing is costing you, there's more to think about than the price of the printer. To calculate a printer's total cost of ownership (TCO), you'll need to combine its acquisition price and cost per page, together with long-term factors such as reliability and the cost of support.

Different printers score higher or lower on one or more of these areas - but you need to take all of them into account if you want to find out which devices are the most cost-effctive.

Don't be fooled into thinking that purchase price is the biggest factor. Budget inkjets printers may be cheap to buy - but over the course of the lifetime of your machine, you may end up spending several times the cost price of the printer on ink.

Choosing the right device - inkjet or laser - for the workload you plan to use it for, is a key part of producing cost-effective output.

More sophisticated printers can help increase value for money still further, offering economy modes that save toner, or adjusting ink levels depending on the type of paper you're printing onto. These can help to offset a slightly higher cost of purchase price.

Other devices may offer networking capabilities, enabling you to share one device between a larger number of users, cutting down the total number of printers you need to run.

More users on one device means more wear and tear, however - and sooner or later, a printer's moving parts will need replacing. That can run to expensive bills for replacement parts - and increase your in-house support costs too.

It's also worth thinking about the amount of time your IT support staff spend attending to individual devices. Choosing a printer that offers simple, centralised management will help you reduce the amount of time they spend in hands-on maintenance - and free up time to think about IT strategies that can build your business.

There are other hidden costs of printing - network management, as your printer fleet grows; wasted paper and ink caused by overly complex and difficult to use printer drivers.

Don't forget that office space costs money, too - so consolidating your printing and imaging fleet into compact multifunction printers (MFPs) can save you both clutter and cost.

Consider ways you can make use your printing resources more appropriately - with the right software, for instance, you can ensure that only certain users get to use colour printing on certain jobs.

Calculating TCO is a complex business - but getting it right is crucial to getting value for money from your printing and imaging equipment.

This article was brought to you as part of THINQ's Business Printing Hub in association with HP.