Don’t consider your printing needs in isolation. Many computer printers also include other functions like scanning or photocopying, so list all your paper-based requirements.
For instance, you might need:
You should also think about how you use these functions. For example, what sizes of documents do you scan? Do you send faxes consisting of lots of pages?
At this stage, you need to make two key decisions:
When calculating how much printing you do, allow for growth – especially if you plan to expand your business. It’s better to buy a larger capacity printer and grow into it, rather than struggle with an inadequate machine.
Other questiosn to ask at this stage include:
Most of what you spend on a computer printer will go in running costs. In general, the cheaper a printer is to buy upfront, the more it will cost to run.
Find a balance between the purchase price and the cost of consumables like print cartridges. Work out what your budget can stretch to, both on the purchase and running costs, to avoid being tempted by cut-price deals or expensive bundles.
Estimate your printing costs as best you can.
If you rarely print in colour, look for printers with high capacity black print cartridges, and small, cheaper colour refills.
Having decided what fits your requirements and budget, research manufacturers and models using the internet and create a shortlist of possible printers.
Printer reviews and user comments are easy to find with a search engine. No printer is perfect, but this will make a real difference to how satisfied you are with your choice.
Managed printer systems (MPS) are a relatively recent development in the world of printers. These allow your business to lease its printer(s) rather than buying them outright. This reduces your upfront costs and means you don’t have to worry about separate maintenance charges.
Additionally, an MPS supplier will be able to give you data about how you use your printer. This helps you forecast and control your printing costs.
However, MPS deals tend to be tailored towards businesses which print at least 10,000 pages a month. They also usually lock you in to a long contract, only allowing you to buy consumables from one supplier.
If your company doesn’t print in these sorts of volumes, you’ll probably be better off buying your printer outright.