We’ve all experienced that; especially on inkjet. But we put up with it because it’s usually at home and we don’t make many prints. At the office things are a little different in that most businesses use laser cartridges because of their higher volume. They have been told that the cost per page is cheaper on laser compared to inkjet.

However, if a business does a lot of color they soon get the same sticker shock when buying toner cartridges or worse still the ones that combine the toner and drum. Again, we put up with it because the thing was so darn cheap to begin with. If you have gotten to this stage I have a few ideas which may help.

You can actually save money by leasing a used color copier which also prints and scans. The reason is that most copier maintenance agreements include the toner at no charge. So how does this work to your benefit? Copier companies charge everybody the same flat rate regardless of how much toner is put on the page.

For example, many copier companies charge $.08 per page for color. This includes parts, labor, and toner. Compare that to the $.50 per page you paid at Kinko’s. Or the no service coverage you had with your color printer. How much is your current printer costing you per page. No one really knows and that’s because of the toner coverage on the page.

The industry average is 20% coverage for a color print or copy. However, realtors typically do about 60% coverage which means the realtor buys a lot more color cartridges than you. Now, here’s how you beat the copier companies. Remember, I said they all charge a flat $.08 for service and toner on color pages.

Why would they charge a realtor the same rate of $.08 per color page when they use up three times as much toner. Because the copier companies don’t have the technology to keep track of it. Even if they have the software to do it the intervention to monitor is cost prohibitive. So they lose money on some maintenance/supply agreements and make money on others. Just like the HMOs in the Health Care industry. Some people get sick a lot and some don’t.

So here’s how you win at this. You get a late model used copier with service and toner included. In many cases the lease payment with service and toner is less than what you’ve been paying for printer cartridges or at the copy/print shop getting color copies/prints made. Just take the monthly payment from the sales rep’s quote and compare it to what you paid last year for supplies; service; and color work down elsewhere and divide by 12. Which is cheaper?

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