Understanding Printing Prices Factors That Determine Cost of Printing

1800 Office SOlutions Team member - Elie Vigile
1800 Team

Printing Prices Factors

Many businesses struggle to accurately calculate their monthly print costs. They often believe there are too many variables involved with printing, making it difficult to measure or control. But what if you could estimate these costs more precisely?

By utilizing a managed print service, you can gain better insights into your printer usage, toner consumption, and overall cost of printing. A managed print service can help you determine the cost per page, allowing you to effectively manage and reduce your print costs.

Understanding the Basics of Print Costs

First and foremost, you’ll need a printing device. Depending on your business’s printing needs, you’ll select either a single-function or a multi-function printer (MFP). While single-function printers were more common in the past, modern offices today typically opt for MFPs. These versatile devices can be configured as a copier, scanner, and fax machine, in addition to being a printer. Some MFPs offer all four functions in a single device, catering to a wide range of printing needs.

Basics of Print Costs

To understand the true cost of printing, it’s essential to consider several factors beyond the initial purchase price. Reliable equipment that resists breakdowns can save money in the long run by reducing maintenance costs and downtime. When evaluating printing equipment, research MFP brands carefully. The true cost includes not just the cost of the equipment, but also the costs associated with toner cartridges, ink cartridges, printer paper, and other consumables used in printing.

Keypoint Intelligence’s BLI Awards provide valuable insights into the best printing devices based on rigorous lab testing and market research. A managed print provider (MPS) can help you manage your print fleet, offering print management solutions that include cost per page analysis, print per month estimates, and maintenance services. These providers can also help determine the factors that affect your overall printing costs, such as the number of pages you print, the cost of leasing or renting equipment, and the printer paper cost.

By considering the 5 factors that determine the true cost of printing—equipment reliability, consumable costs, maintenance costs, cost per page, and the benefits of working with a managed print service—you can better manage and reduce the real cost of printing in your office. This comprehensive approach ensures that you not only meet your printing needs but also achieve significant cost savings and efficiency improvements.

The true cost of printing includes a variety of factors such as the cost of the equipment, consumable supplies, maintenance, and the services provided by your MPS provider. By taking these factors into account, you can make informed decisions that will optimize your print environment and reduce overall costs.

Factors That Influence Printing Prices

Several factors influence printing prices, depending on how—and how much—you use your multi-function printer (MFP).

1. Color Printing Needs

Consider whether you need to print in color, even occasionally, or if you only require black and white (B&W) printing. Studies have shown that printing in full color can significantly increase memory recall and brand recognition by up to 80%. While more colors add versatility, they also raise the cost per page of your projects.

2. Monthly Print Volume

The number of pages you print per month is another critical factor. Businesses that work with Managed Print Services (MPS) providers typically have an estimated monthly print volume included in their contracts. Exceeding this monthly allotment can result in overage fees, impacting your overall printing costs.

3. Paper Size and Quality

Paper size is also a key consideration. In the U.S., business MFPs most commonly accommodate letter, legal, and A4 paper sizes. However, models that support ledger, tabloid, and A3 sizes are also available. Using high-quality paper can be costly upfront but may prevent more expensive issues like paper jams or repairs down the line.

4. Equipment

This factor pertains to the cost of printing equipment, including printers, scanners, cutters, and other devices. Advanced equipment with distinctive features tends to be more expensive. For businesses unable to afford outright purchases, leasing or renting options are available, allowing them to manage costs more effectively.

5. The Equipment’s Life Cycle

The expected lifespan of the equipment is crucial for calculating its depreciation, or loss in value over time. The life cycle also influences how often the equipment needs upgrading to stay current with technological advancements. Less frequent updates can result in lower overall printing costs.

6. Maintenance

Printer Maintenance

Printing machinery requires regular maintenance to function optimally. Businesses must allocate a portion of their budget for maintenance expenses, which can be recurring or one-time costs, depending on their maintenance strategy.

7. Supplies

Ongoing printing costs include supplies such as toner, paper, and other media. Additional supplies might include staples, folders, and other items depending on the services offered by the company.

8. Charge Rates

To maintain cost-effective printing services, businesses need to consider burden rates. This includes the time employees spend ordering supplies, planning maintenance, or performing repairs. Other considerations include overhead expenses and the quality of outputs, all of which influence the final pricing of their services.

By understanding and managing these factors, you can better control your printing prices and optimize your overall printing strategy.

Other Options to Consider

Basic printing involves fusing toner to paper, but there are numerous finishing options available to enhance your printed projects. Some of these options include:

  • Stapler
  • Three-hole punch
  • Booklet finisher
  • Folding unit
  • Additional paper trays

Beyond these finishing options, it’s important to consider supplies and service for your MFP. You have the option to order replacement toner cartridges and perform maintenance tasks yourself. Alternatively, you can enlist the assistance of a Managed Print Services (MPS) provider. An MPS provider can service your devices, perform routine maintenance onsite, and connect software to your devices that will estimate when your toner cartridge will be empty. Some MPS providers even offer just-in-time automatic toner ordering and delivery, providing ultimate convenience.

How to Calculate the Cost of Printing

To accurately calculate the cost of printing, follow these steps:

  1. Determine Cartridge Cost per Page: Divide the price of a toner or ink cartridge by the number of pages it can print. This gives you the cost per printed page.
  2. Add Paper Cost: Calculate the cost of one sheet of paper.
  3. Total Cost per Page: Add the cost per printed page (from the cartridge) to the cost of one sheet of paper. This sum represents the total cost for printing one sheet of paper.

By combining these costs, you can effectively determine the price for each printed sheet, allowing for more precise budgeting and cost management.

Benefits of Working with an MPS Provider for Cost Efficiency

Benefits of MPS

Partnering with a Managed Print Services (MPS) provider can help you understand the true cost of your printing budget, streamline your printing processes, enhance employee efficiency, and save resources.

Businesses of all sizes often save money by working with an MPS provider. The expertise they bring is invaluable—they can conduct a thorough needs assessment of your current printing environment and recommend changes to streamline processes and achieve your goals more quickly.

If you want to create a more predictable print fleet cost structure for your monthly budget, working with an MPS provider is the ideal solution.


Understanding the key factors influencing printing costs—equipment, life cycle, maintenance, supplies, and charge rates—can significantly enhance your ability to manage your printing budget effectively. By considering these elements, businesses can make informed decisions about purchasing or leasing equipment, planning for maintenance, and optimizing supply usage.

Partnering with a Managed Print Services (MPS) provider can further streamline these processes, providing expert guidance and predictable cost structures. Ultimately, this comprehensive approach will help you achieve greater cost efficiency and improved productivity in your printing operations.

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