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Printing: The Biggest Overlooked Cost of Any Business

When it comes to managing your company’s finances you count every single penny coming into and leaving your organisation, don’t you? Well there is one key ingredient involved in running a business that often goes overlooked: printing. Printing costs within a business are usually the equivalent of 3% of your total revenue, and that is a great expense that is largely ignored without even an ounce of consideration.

Purchasing a printer itself is just the tip of the iceberg for the costs that printing makes up; that initial price represents only a small portion of the total cost. If your business has extensive printing needs, then you might be spending far more than you need to on paper and ink purely because these consumables are not being used efficiently. These are extra costs that can soon add up, however there are ways that you can save money just by putting a little thought into your printing services.

Colour printing typically costs more than three times as much as printing in plain old black and white – that’s an extraordinary price difference! Okay, we may be talking about half a penny to print a page in black and white versus about 3 pence to print in colour, but when you’re printing hundreds or even thousands of sheets of paper per day that can really add up. Even something as simple as printing a document with a single hyperlink on the page can be costly because these links are often coloured blue and yet they are often completely unnecessary. That small blue hyperlink is costing your business money and reducing your profit margin – but how can you solve this problem?

Perhaps consider defaulting each printer within your organisation to print only in black and white, that way you won’t ever have to pay for costly coloured ink. If you’re not doing presentation quality work or you’re only printing plain text, then the chances are that you don’t need any colours at all.

Another possible solution would be to hold to account each employee in your company for their printing habits. You may be surprised at just how many people are forwarding documents from home to their work email address just to take advantage of the free printing. But it isn’t free at the end of the day; it is eating into your earnings. Print logging software (also known as managed document services) can be used to monitor how much people in your organisation are printing and where they’re getting that material from. Chances are that staff don’t even know how much their actions are costing the business, if they could see for themselves exactly what resources they’re using then printing costs would be reduced dramatically. Not only would costs reduce, your company’s environmental impact and wastage would drop significantly.

For many businesses – 90% in fact – printing is an overlooked expenditure. Research suggests that the average cost of printing per employee is £456 per year, and about 20% of that printed material will just be thrown into the bin without even being looked at – that’s £91.20 per employee per year going to waste. However, through the simple money-saving methods highlighted in this article, this cost can be drastically reduced. If employees are taught that a simple hyperlink printed in blue will more than double the printing cost of one piece of paper, they will surely be less inclined to waste valuable resources. This silent overhead that eats away at your profit margin can be more than halved if given some attention and thought, helping you to achieve a simple, cost-effective printing process.