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Why Your Printer Cost More Than You Think

From the Printware Blog on Wednesday 19th June 2013 in Consumer Advice

How much did you printer cost you? Wrong. Chances are, the number you said was the purchase price of the printer and didn’t include the cost of actually owning and running it. If you did include those things, reward yourself with a nice cup of tea and don’t bother reading the rest of the article.

"I'm not paying that much!" 

Whether we like it or not, purchasing is as much an emotional decision as it is a business one. This is why retailers spend so much time and effort on their pricing and why it’s so easy for us to get fixated on the upfront cost of a product. We can be so dazzled by what looks like a great deal that we don’t stop to think about the value of our purchase.

Every day we hear customers say things like, “I don’t want to spend more than £200 on a printer” or “the toners for that printer are really expensive”. What they’re experiencing is an emotional reaction to a price based on a perception of what things should cost or what they consider a reasonable amount to spend.

Imagine the reaction, then, if I said that printer A will cost you over £6500 but printer B will cost you less than £3400. Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? But what if I told you that the purchase price of printer B is over 3.5 times more than the price of printer A.

The importance of TCO

This isn’t a made-up example, the printers in question are the Xerox ColorQube 8570DN and 8870DN. The 8570DN is £423.30 and the 8870DN is £1604.17 so why on earth does the 8570DN “cost” over £3000 more?

What we’re talking about here is the total cost of ownership, or TCO. Buying a printer isn’t a one-off expense but rather one large purchase followed by lots of smaller ones. The “lots of smaller ones” add up over time and can end up being a great deal more than the initial big one.

These ongoing smaller purchases, combined with the purchase price of the printer, give us our TCO. Fortunately, Printware makes it easy to calculate this by publishing the running costs for all the laser and solid ink printers on its website. The total cost of your printer will depend on your print volume and coverage (i.e. how much toner is used on the page; this depends on things like the ratio of images to text).

Assuming that you print 1000 pages per month at 5% coverage over 3 years, the 8570DN would cost a total of £1272.90. These figures exclude the cost of paper, which doesn’t vary between printers, and are based on Printware’s current consumable prices. Using the same calculation, the ColorQube 8870DN would cost a total of £1895.77.

We can see, then, that at lower volumes, the cheaper printer is the better option. However, when the page volume and coverage go up, those figures change dramatically. Let’s assume a page volume of 2000 per month at 20% coverage, again over 3 years and see what happens to the TCO figures.

Now, the ColorQube 8570DN has a TCO of £6658.50, whereas the TCO for the ColorQube 8870DN is just £3389.77.

Quite a difference, isn’t it? If you make the emotional decision and get scared off by the 8870’s hefty price tag, you could end up costing yourself a great deal more in the long run. Taking some time to work out your print volumes and costs removes the emotional element from the purchasing process. This then allows you to make the best decision for your business.

To get some solid, expert advice on running costs and TCOs, give our team a call on 023 9262 3300. 


by Anthony Morgan

Posted in Consumer Advice

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