Unlimited! It's everywhere - cellphone data, internet downloads, even paid time off at work. But are these things really unlimited? Here we are dissecting a buzzword that’s doing the rounds in the print solutions industry – Unlimited Print Plans.
The concept appears simple and attractive at first glance: Pay a single, set fee and enjoy unlimited prints. But is it really that straightforward? Let's take a closer look at why a "one size fits all" plan may not be the best for your business.
The Allure of the Unlimited Print Plan
Unlimited Print Plans undoubtedly offer a level of simplicity and predictability that’s appealing to many businesses. These plans are also called flat-rate, one-rate or all-inclusive plans. The idea, no matter the name, is simple. You pay a fixed amount no matter what your print volume is.
Many businesses feel that type of plan provides an easy and predictable fixed cost that helps them budget print in their expenses. While this may be true, there are definitely some things to take into consideration before saying yes to unlimited print.
For organizations that experience sporadic spikes in print volume, the unlimited nature of the plan seems great. It offers flexibility and eliminates concerns about exceeding monthly quotas or facing additional charges.
However, like all things that seem too good to be true, there are pitfalls hiding beneath the surface. Let's unpack why the Unlimited Print Plan might not be the best choice for many businesses.
The Unlimited Print Plan Mirage: When Unlimited Isn't Really Unlimited
Despite its promising premise, the Unlimited Print Plan might not be as beneficial as it initially appears. Here are a few reasons why:
1. The Overpayment Dilemma
Take a moment to think about your business’s actual printing needs. Does your print volume vary? Is it generally low to moderate? In these cases, the Unlimited Print Plan can be equivalent to renting a banquet hall for a dinner party of four. You may end up paying for a level of service that you don't need.
To illustrate, consider a small marketing agency that operates mostly digitally, only requiring prints for occasional client presentations. The Unlimited Print Plan cost would outweigh the company's actual print usage. Compared to pay-as-you-go or volume-based plans, unlimited would be an expensive choice.
2. Limited Flexibility and Long-Term Lock-In
Many businesses’ print requirements evolve over time. Factors like digital documents, changes in team size or a shift in operations cause print volumes to vary widely. With an Unlimited Print Plan, you are often locked into a long-term commitment. This could leave you locked into an agreement that may no longer align with your needs or budget.
For example, a start-up might initially have high print volumes due to investor pitches and regulatory paperwork. However, as the company matures and digitizes its operations, its print volume could decrease significantly. Unfortunately, under an Unlimited Print Plan contract, the company would remain tied to the higher rate, resulting in unnecessary costs.
You may be able to get out of an Unlimited Print Plan by paying an early termination fee. It's up to your organization to decide if paying the fee is worth it.
3. The Illusion of Cost Certainty
At first glance, the Unlimited Print Plan appears to provide cost certainty. Yet, it's essential to understand that ‘unlimited’ might not truly mean unlimited. There may be conditions around color versus black-and-white printing. Exceeding these parameters could lead to additional fees.
Also, be sure to read the fine print of your contract. Sometimes, these contracts come with stipulations that say if you exceed a certain amount of prints, your rate will automatically increase. They can also have annual escalation attached to them if stated thresholds are exceeded.
4. The Tendency Toward Wasteful Practices
The psychology of 'unlimited' can lead to wastefulness. With no immediate cost implications, the temptation to print unnecessarily can increase. This not only has environmental implications but also leads to additional indirect costs, such as paper supplies and storage space.
Making Informed Decisions
The important takeaway here is not to be swayed by the siren call of ‘unlimited printing’ without doing your due diligence. Understand your business's specific needs and growth trajectory, and critically assess whether an Unlimited Print Plan aligns with these factors.
Moreover, remember that there are numerous alternatives out there. Many print service providers offer flexible plans tailored to your business's size and industry. This provides potential savings and environmental benefits without compromising service quality.
Interested in Exploring More Suitable Print Solutions?
Are you eager to explore print solutions that genuinely align with your business’s needs and promote cost-effectiveness? Submit your information through our contact form, and we'll guide you in finding a plan that truly matches your requirements.
Remember, making an informed choice isn't just about getting a 'good deal'. It's also about getting the 'right deal.' Get in touch with us today, and let's work together to find a print solution that brings value to your business.