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It’s Not Even Close: Why Network Printers are Better Than Consumer Printers for SMBs

Despite the rise in digital documentation and connectivity, the ability to print hard copies of documents is still a requirement in many businesses. However, if not handled with care, printing can quickly become an expensive endeavor. This is just one of a few reasons that a single network printer is a better option for many organizations than a series of local printers.

Reason One: Price
While network printers do carry a hefty price tag up front, local printers aren’t as cheap as they may seem at first. Consider it: a network printer may cost $3,000 or so, but if each of your more-than-20 employees need to print things on a regular basis, does it really make sense to spend the same (or more) getting each of them a consumer desktop printer of their own, and supplying them with ink? Plus, regulating the paper and ink usage would be a challenge.

Then there is also the matter of maintenance. Unsurprisingly, maintaining and supplying numerous workstations with the supplies necessary to print adds up much more quickly than supplying a network solution in bulk. This is especially true if the numerous workstation setup in question isn’t uniformly using printers from the same manufacturer. If that’s the case, then you will also have to keep track of what supplies need to be replenished for each variety of printer.

Calculating Cost-Per-Print
On the topic of replenishing supplies, it is also a good strategy to prepare yourself for the amount you will spend on each print that you produce. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Identify the manufacturer of your printer and its model number. This will help you to collect the correct information for the rest of these calculations.

  • Determine how many pages each cartridge is supposed to be able to print, or its page yield. This may be found on the cartridge packaging, and almost definitely on the manufacturer’s website.

  • Establish the cost of each of each cartridge, either by asking accounting or calculating the average cost of the cartridge through retail channels. Keep in mind, for color, you will need the prices of all four cartridges (black, cyan, yellow and magenta).

  • Finally, you can complete your calculation to determine how much each printed page costs the company. For black cartridges, you divide the cost of the cartridge by the page yield to find the cost-per-print. Color cartridges have a little bit more complicated formula to determine cost: First, you divide the cost of one color cartridge by its yield and multiply the result by three. Then you take that answer and add the calculated cost of the black cartridge to find the total cost of each color print.

Of course, there are other factors involved in how long your printer cartridges will last, including the printer’s age and how often it’s used. However, these calculations will give you a pretty good estimate of how much you spend in order to print.

Reason Two: Connectivity
In order for a printer to be used by an entire workforce, it needs to be capable of connecting to the workstations they work on. Local printers fall short in that regard, as they can be used only by the person at the workstation where they are positioned. As a result, if someone needs to print something but encounters an issue with their printer, they will have to interrupt a coworker to have them print out the needed document from their workstation. As a result, the amount of lost productivity doubles.

The network printer does not have this problem, as they rarely have connection issues with operating systems. As a result, any employee is able to use the printer, and thanks to the network connection the computers share, multiple employees are able to queue their documents at the same time. Alternatively, another network printer in the office could be utilized, if needed.

Reason Three: Quality
One of the biggest reasons that a network printer should be your only seriously considered option is simply due to its quality. Local, consumer-grade printers will wear out under the same heavy use that network printers are designed to withstand. Considering the price that each printer will put your business back when it needs to be replaced, the more longevity it has, the better.

Austin Technology Group can help you find and implement the network printing solution that best suits your business. Give us a call at (512) 494-6978 to get started.

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