What is the true cost of a printer?

When buying a printer, photocopier or MFD, the price isn't always the price...

How often have you worked in an organisation where the printer/copier seems to cost more than you do?Often, that’s because the contract has been so complex it’s been too difficult to work out the “true” cost.

Getting a new printer/copier for your charity, social enterprise or business is a big commitment and making costs transparent will help you choose between the many suppliers in a crowded market.

Here’s a quick, simple guide on what to look out for so that you can tot up the total cost and there’s no nasty surprises further down the line.

If we start at the beginning, the first things check out are the set-up costs such as delivery, installation and the network set up charge.

Thereafter, look out for network support charges which could be annual or quarterly.

While it may be hard to contemplate, especially when you’re stressed about today’s To Do List, make sure you ask about collection charges at the end of the contract, even though it may be up to 5 years down the line, and there may be a cost for the hard drive wipe

In terms of finance, if you have chosen to lease (you can find out more about the purchase vs leasing vs rental here) the things to look out for are a leasing document administration fee and an annual finance administration fee.

So, that’s some of the costs to look out for at the start and the end. 

In between those two points are the “hidden” charges spread across the lifetime cost of the printer.

Often prices are quoted for the first year only; the annual price rises on service charges can be anything from 9 to 15%.  And, when your new batch of ink/toner arrives, make sure you already know what the delivery charge is – likewise for other consumables.

One of the most important things to flag up when you’re working out the “true’ cost of a printer/copier is the Minimum Monthly Billing Requirement which covers consumables like ink.
You probably spend your day trying to print as little as possible for the sake of the environment yet you still get charged for a minimum eg. of 1000 black and white pages and/or 500 colour pages each month.

Contracts without a Minimum Monthly Billing Requirement are rare but they do exist and are worth seeking out. 

And, if you’re thinking about the environment, chances are that you will have already asked about power usage but clearly that can also have an impact on cost.

Last, but by no means least, many prices are quoted ex VAT and most charities, 96% in fact, are not VAT registered. This can have a huge impact on your bottom line, giving you less more money to help your beneficiaries because it adds an extra 20% to the cost straight away.

At SP&C: the price we say is the price you pay.
You'll receive complete transparency of pricing and on-going usage costs in plain english, up-front.


Checklist when working out the true cost

Set up Costs:
  • Delivery
  • Installation
  • Network setup

Network Support Charges:
  • annually or quarterly

Collection Charges:
  • End of contract collection fee
  • Hard drive wipe fee

Administration Fees:
  • leasing document admin fee
  • annual finance admin fee



Service Charges:
  • annual price rises
  • delivery charges

Minimum Monthly Billing requirement:
  • eg 1,000 black & white plus 500 colour pages per month

Power Usage:
  • electricity costs

Machine Price:
  • unit price
  • plus VAT (20% at current rates)

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