The TDSIT Blog

How to Accurately Budget your Printer Toner Expenses

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 @ 08:30 AM

Printer toner

When an Office Manager or business owner is looking for ways to control print costs, an often-overlooked consideration is the cost of printer toner. You already know how much a cartridge of toner costs, but what you may not know is how much value you are getting out of each one.

Copier, printer, and ink cartridge manufactures publish a Cost-Per-Page calculation. This number, however, is based on the standardized assumption of 5% toner coverage - meaning 5% of the page will be “covered” in toner ink. Printouts that require more ink per page, however, will reduce the number of pages your cartridge will produce, and increase your costs.

What does 5% coverage look like? A typical 5% coverage page is approximately two paragraphs on an 8 ½ by 11 sheet in black, un-bolded text. If employees print any documents that use more ink than this, the “one-size-fits-all” manufacturers cost-per-page immediately becomes irrelevant. This means that the most significant factor affecting your toner costs isn’t the manufacturer's cost-per-page, it is your average toner coverage!

To gain deeper understanding of, and control over, toner costs in your business, you first need to consider what type of documents you are typically producing:

  • PowerPoint presentations with charts and graphs?
  • PDF’s with pictures and images?
  • Black and White or do you regularly print in color?
  • Pages with dark, shaded, or colored areas such as logos, borders and pictures?

All of the above document-types can generate area coverage much higher than 5%. Graphic arts and legal industries average page coverage is in the 40-60% range. Printed Webpages with background graphics can increase toner coverage to 80% or higher. Once you have a realistic cost-per-page estimate by understanding how much toner you are really using, it may seem like an even more complex problem to reduce costs! 

What may help is to think of it this way: Evaluating toner coverage is rather like evaluating gas mileage. Different vehicles get different MPG. You’re going to pay for more gas to go the same number of miles in the city, because your car isn’t as efficient as when it is traveling on the highway. As a business owner, you can see that to save on gas, you might need to:

  1. Limit the distance an employee can travel
  2. Ask them to combine trips to use travel more fuel efficiently
  3. Figure out which cars perform better in the city, and which get better mileage on the Highway

The good news is that a well-run Managed Print program can employ these same cost-saving tactics for your toner use:

  1. By creating accountability, a Managed Print program will reduce unnecessary printouts and encourage employees to print documents at lower quality when high quality (and more toner) isn’t needed
  2. Automated efficiencies, such as double-sided printing when the document source is an e-mail, can reduce paper and toner costs
  3. Automated print routing can direct print projects to the most cost effective print devices for the task

If high toner coverage is decreasing your cartridge yields and eating into your profits, you may benefit greatly by deploying a Managed Print program to increase efficiency and rein in uncontrolled printing costs. Click here and learn how you can save 30% in 30 Days.

cut print costs 

Image credit: weddingssc1 

Tags: managed print services, printer ink, printer toner, toner cartridges, reduce toner consumption