How to Save Money on Office Printer Consumables

by Rich on September 10, 2009

How to Save Money on Office Printer Consumables

When you’re printing at home, it’s easy to save ink by printing less—and to save paper by printing on both sides of a sheet. But when you’re printing at work, you sometimes don’t have the ability to choose how much you can print—that ninety-page report has to be printed no matter what, and it’s your company’s policy that employees print out important emails for records.

Saving money on office consumables has to start with changes that don’t rely on individual employees to change their habits or companies to change their printing protocols. But it can be done. Here are a few tips for saving money on printer consumables at the office.

Buy in bulk. You can save money by buying printer ink and paper in bulk, sometimes even with the original manufacturer. Check with your office supply store or directly with the manufacturer to see if they have any deals for businesses that need to buy printer consumables in bulk.

Buy the right printer. When buying a printer for your office, make long-term costs a priority. Inkjet printers tend to cost very little, but you pay many times over for that great deal when you buy the printer cartridges. Laser printers can be more expensive up front, but they cost less in consumables on an ongoing basis. For businesses that rely on their printers a lot, a laserjet printer may be the most affordable option.

Most office supply stores will tell you how much a certain printer costs to print per page. If your office supply store doesn’t know, check with the manufacturer. This information will help you compare ongoing printing costs with the initial outlay, to decide which is better for your department’s budget.

Know which printer in your office is the cheapest to use. If you have multiple printers in your office, know which one costs the least to use per page. Make sure everyone in the office is networked to that printer, and have your employees rely on it for every job it’s suited for. Knowing which printer costs least per page will save you money in the long run.

Outsource your big print jobs. Have a document in the thousands of pages to print off and copy, with intense colour graphics, glossy paper and the works? Instead of printing and copying it in-house, call around to see how expensive it would be to print it at a print shop. If you compare that to your per-page costs, you may find you’ll save money on consumables by printing very large jobs outside of the office.

Buy high-yield cartridges. Regular inkjet printer cartridges may print as few as 1,000 to 3,000 pages before you need to change the cartridge. A high-yield printer cartridge can print as many as 9,000 pages. They’re more expensive, but high-yield cartridges may save you money in the long run, particularly if your office printer sees regular heavy use. Manufacturers don’t make high yield cartridges for every printer model, but it’s worth checking to see if there is a high yield version available for the printer you use.

Shop for printer and toner cartridges online. You can buy third-party printer ink cartridges and toner online for a significant price reduction off the normal cost—sometimes as much as 50% less. Some third-party cartridge companies remanufacture cartridges from scratch using the original manufacturers’ specifications, while others simply recycle used cartridges—which is good for the environment as well as your company’s budget. Check out an established third-party cartridge seller, read reviews of the company’s business, and give their cartridges a test run. If the cartridges work well and the company provides good service, you may be able to save a significant amount of money buying all your cartridges online.

Saving money on office printer cartridges and paper can be a little more involved than saving money at home—but it’s still doable. It’s crucial to know the per-page cost of each printer you consider before you buy—and if you already have a printer. With this information, you should be able to make informed decisions regarding which printer to use, when to outsource large printing jobs, and which printer is worth a larger initial cost.

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