The TDSIT Blog

Hidden Fees: Just When You Thought It was Safe to Scan!

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, May 30, 2014 @ 06:26 PM

TDS scanningFees

In a volatile economy, companies are looking for any way to make or save money – and their efforts often result in hidden charges and other low-key pricing tactics. If you travel by air, for instance, you must have noticed the ever-changing (and rising) baggage fees positioned as somehow an advantage to a flier.

Even items as basic as peanut butter and bathroom tissue have undergone “product shrinkage” in the past few years – delivering less in a familiar-looking package but at the same or even higher price. Consumer advocates decry these methods, but manufacturers maintain that they are primarily responding to rising commodity costs and managing consumer expectations while staying competitive.

What’s all this got to do with your MFP?
You may think that your multifunction printer (MFP) vendor offers fixed per-page costs that help you budget for your printing needs more accurately.

But even within your company’s MFP contract, you may be paying a hidden charge. The popularity of scanning has led to a surge in per-transaction – call them “per scan” – fees that many users aren’t even aware of.

Per-scans are similar to per-page copy/print charges in that each scan counts as a “click” and is charged accordingly.  Because a scan doesn’t result in extra paper coming out of the printer, users may well assume that they are not being charged.

These fees can cost corporations tens of thousands of dollars yearly while bringing in new revenue streams for MFP vendors.

You don’t have to be stuck with extra fees
Per-scan fees need not drain your printing budget. Talk to your staff about how much they typically scan in a month’s time, then review your billing invoice for that month. If you notice a lot of “little” incidental charges that don’t look familiar, one of them could be a per-scan fee.

If you are considering buying or leasing a new system, identify a vendor who is willing to work with you to stabilize the entire range of MFP charges associated with servicing the equipment – because when it comes to billing, the best surprise is no surprise at all!

To find out how much your business spends on print, click here for your free print assessment: 

Print Assessment

Tags: scanning, hidden fees, printing costs, multifunction printer, true cost of printing

How Much Money Does Your Office Spend On Printing Each Year?

Posted by Tim Stanley on Mon, Dec 16, 2013 @ 12:56 PM

TDS printing costs

Unless you’re in the printing business, you probably don’t make printing your business. You know you need it, but do you really know what it costs? The number of machines throughout your office, service agreements, incidentals like toner and paper, and factors such as toner coverage, all determine how much you pay per year for the privilege of in-house printing.

Carefree Printing

In a typical office environment there isn’t a lot of control over printing, or what it costs. The person using the printer is probably not concerned about areas such as toner coverage or the cost per page of printing, they have their own job to worry about. The person ordering the supplies may also not be too concerned, after all, their job is to order paper and toner and as long as they get the job done, does it matter if it costs a few more dollars? And what about personal copies? The bottom line is, this type of carefree printing environment can negatively impact your bottom line and should be addressed. 

Toner Coverage

When talking about toner coverage it’s important to note that most estimates are based on a consideration of five percent coverage per page, when a more realistic estimate might be closer to twenty. Once you consider the rates for color printing, much higher because of the four individual layers of toner required, the numbers are even greater.

How to Calculate the True Cost of Printing

This is tricky, and is best done by a professional Managed Print Service (MPS) provider. They will begin with a thorough assessment and inventory of your printing network, factoring in such components as the number of vendors, suppliers and incidentals required to operate your network, as well as your cost per page estimates, and ending with how you can save money.

Knowledge is Power

Once you know what your costs are, you can formulate a plan on how to bring them down, after you get over the initial shock that is. There are several print strategies you can employ to reduce your cost of printing including:

Printing rules. Set some guidelines among the employees in your office to start realizing savings such as black and white printing for emails, no banner printing and restrictions on color printing by individual user or department.

Fixed cost per page. Avoid toner coverage cost variations by switching to a fixed cost per print arrangement where costs are the same regardless of the amount of toner used.  

Adjusting your default settings. Simply adjusting your default settings to black and white and automatic double-sided printing you can start to save right away.

It’s easy to control printing costs once you know what they are. Your MPS provider can help you take back control of your print budget, allowing you to put your money to much better use; growing your business.

To find out how much your business spends on print, click here for your free print assessment: 

Print Assessment

Tags: managed print services, hidden fees, printing costs, true cost of printing, printing, print costs, print rules

Top 5 Insider Tips for Acquiring Office Equipment

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 @ 08:51 AM

Top 5 Insider Tips for Acquiring Office Equipment

Today's challenging new economy is pushing us to make smarter decisions, to think longer-term, be more efficient—and to be more frugal. This goes doubly so when purchasing office equipment; buyers need to duck, dive and be creative—while not falling into money traps set by vendors that ensnare you into more expensive contracts with upfront discounts, special offers and bundles. And buyers have to do all this while ensuring they get the best tools and technology to empower their users. 

Industry insiders and procurement veterans know that office equipment purchasing comes in cycles of 5 to 7 years. Over the course of that time span the technology advances and past decisions are reviewed for effectiveness. The most important changes and advances to the office equipment purchasing cycle are:

Hardware and Technological Advances: Office equipment hasn't escaped the technological growth curve. Like other technologies it has advanced in features and functionalities, grown in processing power and added a plethora of new services.

Changes in Contracts: Nothing hurts vendors likes a bad economy, so to remain competitive vendors/service providers are forced to offer customer-attracting deep discounts. Problem is these losses need to be recouped somewhere in order for the companies to stay out of the red, and the most common place to recoup the loss is in contracts. By changing their terms and conditions vendors are able to rework their service contracts and agreements to make up for losses from upfront discounts and special offers. what?

Most companies understand the above, but how do you sort through the vendor mumbo jumbo and get a good deal on equipment that will keep your company on the cutting edge? We were wondering too—so we asked the experts (those industry insiders and procurement veterans). Our talks with the pros each yielded the same result, that you need to ask the right questions. And before you ask us “and what are the right questions” they are:

1. Will you use Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or aftermarket parts--for the life of the contract--to service the equipment?

    This question's motive is self-evident—will the service provider use genuine parts, which can be 30-40% more expensive than aftermarket parts. Using aftermarket parts however can negatively impact warranties/guarantees though, which can cost you more in the long run.

    2. Who determines when equipment is replaced? Who determines when equipment is replaced?

      You can imagine what a monumental difference it is who decides when to replacement a faulty piece of equipment. So ask. Additionally, ask if the warranty/product guarantee is included in the actual Terms and Conditions of the contract.

      3. What security safeguards are offered?

        Security is a hot button these days, and not even your office equipment is safe from security concerns. Ask questions that will help you determine whether this potential new office equipment purchase will conflict with your company's current network security protocols. Also, inquire as to whether single-component or full-system security is offered and analyze what your system's security portfolio will be when complete.

        4. How will your company's sensitive data be handled?

          New office equipment rollouts and on-going security aren't the only concerns when switching over to new office equipment, you also need to concern yourself with how hard drives are swapped in and out, how those hard drives are disposed of and who has access to this information in the interim. Will you, the supplier or a third party handle the removal/swapping/destruction of your company's sensitive data?

          5. Are there any hidden fees?

            While that exact phrasing won't get you anywhere, asking important hidden-fee related questions is the only way to get a good deal and to safeguard yourself against evil fees and/or surcharges. Discussing any and all fees within a contract and keeping your eyes open for all potential cost bombs is important. Pay special attention to these costs, most of which go unnoticed:

            • Charges for two 8.5” x 11” impressions for a single 11” x 17” copy or print.
            • Incurred shipping charges for the delivery of toner to your office.
            • If Property Tax applies who pays?

            The above expert-derived tips should be taken into consideration before each and every new office equipment purchase. For a more thorough equipment-buying experience, download our 2012 Office Equipment Buyer Checklist, or watch our exclusive Buyer Tip video series. Do both if you're serious about getting the best deal and the most cutting-edge technology. 

            Buyers Checklist Download2

            Tags: Fayetville AR, Arkansas, purchasing office equipment, how to buy office equipment, tips for buying office equipment, security, xerox, hidden fees, TDSIT