For most of us, when we’re making an expensive purchase, we’re looking to get the best price possible. Whether it’s through clipping coupons, waiting for certain holiday sales, or negotiating to the best of our ability, it’s usually in our best interest to save a bit of money.
Although it might not seem like it, buying a copier or printer is no different. There’s always going to be a way to get the best device suited for your organization, at the best price possible, if you’re working with an experienced print vendor.
Because we’ve been selling printers for the past 35 years, we know what the best price should look like, and we know how to get it. We’ll lay out some of the best practices to follow when shopping for a quality copier or printer, so you can know how to get the best price too.
What to Know Before Looking for a Printer
Monthly Print Volume
The first, and arguably most important, thing to know is how much you’re currently printing each month. The number of pages you print and copy each month is very important in determining what your budget and total cost of ownership should look like when it comes to buying a copier or printer.
When you buy a car, you’re not just paying your lease payment in order to actually drive the car, you’re paying for insurance, gas, oil changes, and even car washes. It’s easy to forget about all the different factors that go into how much something costs, but it’s the smart thing to do when budgeting for things in life- and printing is no different.
Cost Per Print
Cost per print (or cost per click) is exactly what it sounds like- how much you pay for each individual document that you print or copy, and it accounts for the price of toner, supplies, and printer parts. It’s usually a pretty small number, but it all depends on the printer that you have.
The general rule of thumb is the less expensive the printer, the more expensive the toner and parts, the more expensive the printer, the less expensive the toner and parts.
So for example, if you were to buy a $1,000 printer, the cost per print tends to be a little higher, somewhere around $0.0129 per black/white and $0.10 per color. If you buy a machine for $10,000, then it’ll be around $0.009 per black/white and $0.07 per color, because larger machines are less expensive to operate.
It’s important to note that larger machines are the only ones that can actually handle high monthly print volumes. Smaller, at-home printers aren’t designed to handle large print volumes, so they’re not the best financial choice for a busy office.
If you don’t print very much, like at home you’re only printing the occasional concert ticket or package label for the mail, then the cost per print won’t matter as much, because the amount of printing is so low.
On the other hand, think about a busy workplace, that’s constantly printing things like mortgage agreements, reports, marketing materials, etc. If this workplace was printing, let’s say 5,000 pages a month, then the cost per print becomes significantly more important.
Should I Head to my Nearest Walmart or Office Depot?
Buying a printer from a retail giant like Walmart, Amazon, or Office Depot is singlehandedly one of the most common mistakes that we see organizations do every single day.
A lot of offices are stuck in an endless cycle of running to Walmart, buying a cheap printer, and when that printer breaks, they buy another, and another, and so on and so forth. Next thing you know, there are closets full of random supplies and toners from the graveyard of useless printers that have since been shoved into the back office.
Printers from retail giants are not designed to handle the workload of an office. They’re meant to be used for in-home occasional use only, or else you’ll find yourself spending an astronomical amount on toner and supplies.
The best way to handle your office printing needs is to find a printer vendor in your area with years of experience. There are a lot more than you’d think, and they can help you find out what is best for your organization.
By now, I’m sure you’re wondering, “OK, but how do I get the best price possible?”. So here are the best tips.
Promotional Discounts and Special Savings
Print vendors are always running promotions, and the best way to find out is just by asking. They also might have certain machines on sale, or discounts they’ve been given from the copier/printer manufacturer.
Manufacturer discounts usually depend on the time of year, or whether or not there’s a surplus of a certain machine model that the manufacturer has overstocked. If they have a lot of one specific model, then it’s likely they’ll put a discount on it for vendors, which can then be passed down to the customer.
Another tip is to buy at the end of the quarter or year. Oftentimes, print vendors are looking to meet a sales quota, so they might be willing to sell at a discount. The catch is that if you do buy at this time, you’ll likely need to have the machine installed before the end of the quarter/year, so be prepared to make a decision quickly, and take installation timeframes into account.
Special Pricing and Discounts
Depending on what kind of vertical market your organization is in, there are also special pricing contracts that you could qualify for. The markets that can qualify include state and local governments, school districts, religious organizations, and more, and the special pricing could either be a discount on the machine itself, or a discount on the cost per print.
If you have a special request, such as a veteran’s discount, then you’d really want to reach out to a seasoned salesperson and ask. Most local copier/printer vendors will be happy to work with you in order to get you the discount you deserve.
If you need more than one new printer, then you might also be able to get special pricing for buying in bulk, such as 5 printers instead of just one. Your vendor can usually ask for a special discount from the manufacturer in this case, since it’s more cost-effective for them to sell several machines at a time.
How Can I Avoid Overpaying for My Printer?
Unfortunately, this does happen, but not in the way that you might think. Instead of a malicious trap or a sleazy salesman scamming you out of extra money, it usually happens when not all of the manufacturer's sales or discounts are accounted for. Ask your sales rep for a list of all the available current promotions and discounts, and don’t forget to consider their expiration dates.
Another way you can avoid overpaying is to research your options, and make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples and not two completely different printer types. We also recommend getting a second quote. Each vendor offers unique skills that they specialize in, so make sure that the vendor you choose to work for is a good fit for you. For more information on that, read our article 5 Signs You’re an Ideal Customer for STPT.
Ready to Buy?
Now you know all the tips and tricks to get the best price possible for a printer, whether it's special pricing, discounts, or avoiding scams, and you’re ready to work closely with an experienced print vendor to find out what’s best for you and your budget. If you’d like to learn a little more before reaching out, then we’ve got another couple of articles that you might find useful, such as What’s the Best Xerox Printer for Your Budget and Needs?, or How Does Your Copier/Printer Earn Your Company Revenue?