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Five key questions to ask to uncover any hidden costs of owning an inkjet printer


Andrew Gunn

Here, Andrew Gunn, North American Product Marketing Director at Xerox, explores what you should know before purchasing an inkjet digital printer.

Buying an inkjet digital printer is a major investment for both small-sized and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) – one that can pay off with greater capabilities and improved efficiencies. But, like buying any significant piece of equipment or technology, it’s crucial for SMBs to uncover any hidden costs to truly understand how much the investment will ultimately affect their bottom line. There are many costs associated with owning and operating an inkjet press that aren’t always included in the complete price associated with the purchase – often because the final cost can vary depending on how individual SMBs use the equipment. Companies shopping for an inkjet press should ask the following questions to avoid any hidden surprises, while fully understanding the total cost of ownership.

  1. Will I need to pay for additional memory, features or hardware options required to run my jobs at the speeds promised? Once you’ve decided to buy or lease your inkjet press, monthly owner and operation costs are inevitable. For example, additional hardware, software, memory or special features could cost extra. Additionally, hidden costs can be lurking in lease terms, annual price escalations and potential tax implications.
  2. What’s the basic service agreement? What’s the base charge? Is there an additional per-page fee? What’s the criteria when printheads need to be replaced? What happens if the equipment breaks down? Service contracts can be confusing. If you don’t fully understand them and ask the right questions up front, extra costs may pop up after the contract is signed. Matters such as installation and training, the use of approved versus non-approved papers, printheads and additional charges for third-party software, are just some of the places where additional costs can add up.
  3. How will your billing metres work? Various systems and manufacturers bill differently for the way you print – including overall sheet size, wasted sheets, single-sided and double-sided printing, and ink type (colour versus monochrome). These issues can greatly affect the cost of owning and operating an inkjet press. It’s important to have a conversation about billing metres in advance, in order to choose the right press for your business.
  4. Is ink included as part of the service agreement? Not all printing presses are created equal. Most differences are found in the consumables required to run and maintain the system, such as ink. How much ink is consumed when printing your jobs? The total number of supplies can greatly increase your cost, whether they’re included in the service charge or purchased separately.
  5. What’s the cost of the paper necessary to get the IQ/colour quality desired? Often referred to as the 5th colour in the world of digital inkjet presses, the type of paper matters when it comes to printing the final product. Factors such as pre-treated or specialized papers and how they affect ink production and consumption are all necessary to understand before you purchase your inkjet press. Test as many samples as the vendor will allow. Also, consider if there are additional charges for wasted sheets, or if that’s accounted for in the estimate.

This post is courtesy of Graphic Arts Magazine.

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