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Identifying the Lowest Total Cost-of-Ownership Printer for You

Are you trying to figure out what printer has the best cost or TCO for your company? It can be frustrating when you look at all of the options within the market place.

We have helped companies take care of their laser printer fleet as well as manage their ink cartridge inventory for years. We can help you determine the total cost and make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck.

In this article, we will cover what makes up the total cost of ownership, how to determine the cost, and then explain why we won’t have one answer to the  seemingly simple question of “what is the lowest total cost of ownership for a laser printer?”

What Factors into the Total Cost of a Laser Printer?

There are costs associated with the total cost besides just the cost of the printer.

  • Cost of the laser printer
  • Cost of the ink cartridge
  • Yield of the ink cartridge
  • Cost of other supplies like drums
  • Cost of servicing to printer
  • Liklihood to need service
  • Cost of processing invoices
  • Cost to carry extra inventory

Cost of the Laser Printer

This one is pretty obvious. Maybe an HP Laserjet printer costs $699 and a Brother printer is $249.  It seems like the Brother is a better deal, especially if you need to buy 100 or 200 of them. Now, it could actually be true, but there are other factors that could make HP look cheap in the long run. Now, there are some HP models that will start being more expensive and stay more expensive. It all needs to be worked out on a case by case and a model by model basis.

Cost of Ink

If you look at the ink cost, you will have 2 factors here. There is the actual cost of the device as well as the toner yield of the ink cartridge. If you have 100 of these and one cartridge is $39 and the other is $99, it seems obvious $39 is a better deal. 

Now, what if the yield for ink on the $39 was 2000 pages, and the $99 one was able to work for 10,000 pages. If this was the case, suddenly now the $99 toner is a way better deal on a per print basis. 

All you have to do is divide the $39/2000 prints and the $99/10000 prints to get a cost of $.0195 each vs $.0099 per print.  If you had 100 printers doing 2000 pages a month, this is a massive difference per month: $3,900 per month vs $1,980 per month.

Cost of Service

If you have a manufacturer where it is hard to get service, you could end up paying a lot more per service call. HP is generally the easiest printer to get cheap service on. If you get an off brand, it can end up costing a lot more.

Cost of Processing Invoices

Almost every company has a cost associated with processing an invoice between the people approving and a check going out. A common number is $40 per invoice for larger companies. If you think of the example above, just not buying as many toners saves money by avoiding the invoice cost associated with their printers.

Spare Toners

The next cost we would deal with is what it costs to have a spare toner on the shelf if you are not using a managed print service provider who automates toner shipping when the ink cartridge gets low.

If you had 100 printers, like the above example, and each site wanted a spare, there is an additional cost which also needs to be factored in to get a true Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for the laser printers.

Bottom Line: Lowest Total Cost-of-Ownership Printer

Printing cost can seem like a difficult thing to compute. An inkjet printer would have similar factors, but print heads rather than drums. These examples are easier when we are dealing with black and white like above. When you have to factor for color cartridge spares and usage, it gets more complex because then you have not only the cost of the spare toner, but also for the coverage of ink on the paper. Most of the time, the black cartridge is easier to compute, but color works in the same way but with more parts needed.

Costs normally come from the operational cost of the printer plus the administrative cost to support the laser printer. Until all of these costs are correctly associated, it becomes extremely difficult to answer the question of what laser printer has the best TCO.

We would love to help you find all your costs, the device costs, plus the ink cartridge costs, and even the hidden costs associated with a self-directed service option and show you how a managed cartridge or a managed print service plan can help you discover where you can get cost savings, and find the true cost of a laser printer (and not just the upfront cost)

We are here to help with your printer, consumables, and a sensible service plan for your laser printer fleet.