How Do I Determine My Printing Costs?

Do you know how much printing costs your business each year? Any idea how to find out? Although we conduct much of our business digitally, companies large and small still rely on printing. It's a more significant 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, companies need to understand better these costs to ensure this money is money well spent.

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

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One of the easiest ways to quantify your printing costs is to calculate your device's cost-per-page. This figure is the average cost of every page your organization prints on that device and will give you a clearer picture of the actual cost of your printing. It's also easy to calculate so that any office can determine it with minimal effort. By doing this for each device, you will gain an accurate picture of what your business spends on print.

The most basic way of calculating your printer's cost-per-page is by using the manufacturer's usage standards. You can find this number on your cartridge box or in your printer's user manual. Each manufacturer provides a page yield for their ink and toner cartridges per the International Organization of Standards (ISO). This page yield is the approximate number of pages you can print from one cartridge. With this figure at hand, you can calculate your cost-per-page by dividing the cost of your cartridge by the estimated page yield. 

Here's an example:

Your cartridge costs $100, and the estimated page yield is 2,000 pages. Your calculation looks like this:

$100 divided by 2,000 pages

The cost-per-page in this example is five (5) cents

To get the truest cost-per-page, divide the cost of your paper by the number of sheets, and add that total to the cost of your device's ink or toner.

How to calculate cost-per-page for color devices

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

For the most accurate cost-per-page calculation, you will need to do a little leg work. Next time you change your printer cartridge, log the date along with the cost of the cartridge(s) and the page count on the device to begin the process. When the cartridge is empty and needs to be changed, log the new page count to determine how many pages you printed from the empty toner 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. While this is an easy task, the process can be pretty cumbersome for large fleets if you have just a few printers. Our managed print assessment program can help you determine your print costs and allow us to recommend the most cost-effective solutions to print management.