You would be surprised at how much owning a printer/copier could cost you.
It’s not just for the machine itself, or the supplies that it takes to run efficiently. Buried beneath the surface are obscure, seemingly minuscule, costs that may catch you off guard if you’re not aware of them.
Being in the printer industry for over 35 years has taught us a lot of things, but maybe the most noteworthy of them all is how much printing costs can accrue on a company’s annual budget.
We’ve also learned that an unexpected printing expense can result in a look of confusion and sense of frustration from the consumer, signaling the lack of awareness around the “other” costs of owning a printer.
It’s understandable why something like a printer insurance fee or a property tax would creep up on you. Most wouldn’t expect a printer to have unforeseen fees beyond the customary supply and printing costs.
That is why we’re going to provide 10 of the most common, hidden fees that you need to be aware of as an owner of a printer, no matter what type of machine you have.
Not all these fees will apply to you, and there might be other expenses that aren’t touched upon in this article.
But this will at least cover the basic “secret” costs of owning a printer, so you aren’t perplexed by an extraneous fee on your next monthly print invoice.
Need a printer/copier? Download your free copy of the Complete Guide to Purchasing or Leasing a Printer for Your Business to make sure you get the right machine in place the first time.
10 Commonly Overlooked Printer Fees
Let’s dive into these hidden printer costs, starting with a frequent one for printer owners, the printer maintenance fee:
1. Printer Maintenance Fees
Paying maintenance fees for your machine can be more expensive than you would think, which is why it’s the first fee we will discuss in this article.
The amount of money you will pay for maintenance will depend on whether you opt for a maintenance contract or not.
A maintenance contract, usually around $12 a month, covers most service and repair issues your machine might experience during your ownership or lease period.
Without a maintenance plan, you will be solely responsible for any service you might need.
Service technicians can charge over $100 an hour to repair your machine, and if the issue is intricate, that cost can add up rapidly.
That’s why most providers recommend opting for a maintenance contract to ensure you won’t be blindsided by high service costs.
However, do note that maintenance fees can increase each year as a part of your maintenance contract.
Why would your maintenance fee increase every year?
It’s because the older the machine gets, the more service problems it can incur, especially if you’re printing at a consistently high volume. To account for the expected increase in service issues, print providers tend to increase their maintenance rate each year of your contract.
Any maintenance fee increase is usually minimal but can be as much as 10 percent in certain situations.
2. Printer Lease Document Fee
The next hidden fee we will cover is the lease document fee, which, as the name implies, is only for those that decide to lease their printer.
The Lease Document fee is a one-time charge, usually around $100, that will likely be billed on the first invoice from your vendor or provider.
3. Printer Insurance Fee
The insurance fee is another fee relevant for people that want to lease their machine. An insurance fee is required as a part of your lease contract, and it covers your printer from natural disasters, like floods or tornadoes.
The cost of the insurance fee depends on the type of machine you have. For example, if you have a $15,000 multifunction printer, you could expect a monthly insurance payment of around $15 a month.
4. Printer Property Taxes
Property taxes will also apply to you if you’re leasing a printer, even if you’re a property tax-exempt business.
If you lease a printer, your leasing company may charge you property tax that can fluctuate depending on the state you live in.
Some print providers may include the property tax fee into your overall leasing rate, which would increase your lease payment slightly but eliminate the property tax fee on your monthly invoices. Not every print provider will offer this as an option, though.
5. Shipping Fee for Printing Supplies and Parts
One of the main benefits of opting into a maintenance contract with a print provider is many of them provide automatic shipments of toners and other supplies.
A lot of times, automatic supply shipments are built into your monthly maintenance fee, but a hidden cost to having supplies shipped to you is that some vendors will charge you a shipping fee for the supply deliveries.
Although typically not a substantial fee, don’t be surprised if you have to pay a standard shipping fee for supplies or parts unless you were told you would be exempt from it.
6. Printer Training Fee
Many consumers choose to include training as a part of their agreement so that on the day their machine gets delivered, they will be trained on how to properly use the new printer.
A lot of print providers will include this as a part of your contract, but some may have an additional training fee they charge.
What you may not be aware of, though, is how much it costs to have somebody come up after the initial delivery of your machine for follow-up training.
Say you just hired new employees that would be using the printer daily and you wanted them to receive training on how to use the machine.
That will likely cost you a training fee that can range from $50-$1000, depending on the type of machine.
As a helpful tip, many manufacturers offer free training online. If you don’t want to have to pay a training fee but need to teach a new employee how to use the printer, search up the brand of machine you have and you should be able to find instructional content that can take the place of training from a representative.
7. Not Canceling Your Print Contract on Time
Another area where you could see unwanted printing costs is by not cancelling your contract before it's scheduled to run out.
Some leasing companies will automatically extend your lease and/or service contract by several months to a year if you do not cancel on time. Usually, you will need to notify your provider at least 90 days in advance.
If you don’t give the required notice stated in your contract, you could have to pay for the machine after your lease ends.
For example, say your lease ends January 1st of next year, but you don’t notify your provider that you want to opt out of your contract until the day before your contract expires.
If your provider has a 90-day notice policy and you notified them only a day before your lease expired, you will have to pay for almost three months extra on your lease because of the late notice.
Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the terms and conditions of your contract. Make sure you recognize the term length you signed up for and let your print provider know your intentions before the contract runs out.
8. Early Termination Fee
If you want to cancel your lease before it’s set to expire, you could be charged a termination fee in addition to the amount that remains on your lease agreement.
Say you paid $100 a month under your lease agreement but you want to cancel it six months before your lease is set to expire, you would be liable to pay the $600 remaining on your lease agreement plus an additional early termination fee, which can get pricey.
The early termination fee is calculated by the leasing company and will depend on factors such as how much time is left on your current lease agreement.
9. Printer Upgrades
At some point during your contract, you might realize that you need an extra paper tray or a stand for your printer. Most vendors will provide you with upgrades, but there are costs associated with any additional accessories you might want to add, and they can be pricier than you would think.
For instance, a customary paper tray for a printer would cost around $300, and a printer stand would cost around $250.
And depending on where you’re at in your lease agreement, it might not make financial sense to invest in upgrades for your machine, particularly at the end of your lease agreement.
It’s best to discuss upgrades and additional accessories with your print provider before purchasing to make sure the investment will be worth it.
10. Returning Your Printer at the End of Lease
The last common fee some people overlook at the end of their lease agreement is the shipping fee to return their printer to the company they acquired it from.
A lot of times, printers have to be sent back to the leasing company they came from, and that leasing company could be located out of state.
If you have to ship the machine back yourself, the out-of-state shipping fee could be pricey and is something you should be aware of when you come to the end of your lease.
Some print providers recommend including the return fee as a part of the price when you start your contract. This makes it to where you won’t have to pay a surprise fee at the end of your contract to return your machine, and in many instances, someone will come to pick it up for you.
Which Printer Is Right for You?
The cost of a printer is more than it seems, as evidenced by the 10 hidden fees discussed in this article.
Beyond the price of the machine itself, there is a lot that goes into the final cost you will end up paying for your printer. Becoming aware of the additional fees you might be paying during your print contract is useful, if not necessary, to be sure that you won’t be staggered by unexpected costs.
There’s a lot to consider when purchasing a printer, but one of the major decisions you will have to make for your business is how you want to pay for it.
There are two prevailing options you can choose from, both of which were touched upon in this article: Leasing or purchasing.
We know from our experience that choosing to lease or purchase a printer is one of the critical decisions you will make as you look to find and buy your next machine.
To help decide which option is right for you, read our blog on leasing vs. purchasing a printer and use it as a resource to guide you on how you’re going to pay for your new office equipment.