How To Quantify Your Printing Costs

Do you know how much printing costs your business each year?  Any idea how to find out?  Despite the fact that much of the way we conduct business these days is done digitally, companies large and small still rely on printing.  In fact, it's a bigger expense than you would imagine.  Research shows the average company spends one (1) to three (3) percent of its total annual revenue on print expenses.  With this much of your budget going towards printing, it is important for companies to gain a better understanding of these costs to ensure this money is being spent wisely.

How can you determine how much your business is spending on printing?

One of the simplest ways to quantify your printing costs is by calculating your device's cost-per-page.  This figure is the average cost of every page your organization prints and will give you a clearer picture on the true cost of your printing.  It's also easy to calculate, so any office can determine it with minimal effort.

The most basic way of calculating your printer's cost-per-page is by using manufacturer's usage standards.  Each manufacturer provides a page yield for their ink and toner cartridges in accordance with the International Organization of Standards (ISO).  This page yield is the approximate number of pages that can be printed using one of these cartridges.  Using this figure, your cost-per-page for black and white printing would be calculated by dividing the cost of your cartridge by the estimated page yield.  For instance, if your cartridge costs $50 and the estimated page yield is 1,000 pages, this would come out to five (5) cents per page.  Complete your cost-per-page calculation by dividing the cost of your paper by the number of sheets, and add that total to the cost of your device's ink or toner.

Calculating the cost of color printing is a bit more complicated, as most color printers use four cartridges:  black, cyan, magenta and yellow.  In this case, you would perform the same division for each individual cartridge, add up the totals, and then add the cost per sheet of paper to calculate your color printing's cost-per-page.

Calculating a more accurate cost-per-page requires a bit more work on your part.  When adding new cartridges to your printer, write the date down in a log along with the cost of the cartridge(s) and the page count on the device.  The next time you replace that cartridge, jot down the new page count to determine how many pages you printed with this cartridge and perform the calculation above.  Don't forget to include your cost-per-page for paper.

Calculating your cost-per-page is an easy way for you to gain an understanding of your printing costs and determine whether the devices you're currently using are cost-effective.  If this process sounds a bit complicated, our print assessment program can help you determine your print costs and allow for us to recommend the most cost-effective solutions to print management.

Want to learn more about saving on printing? Download our free guide to Managed Print Services.