If you’ve decided to lease a printer from a vendor and are formulating your contract, you will likely hear some iteration of this question at some point: “Would you like to have impressions included, and if so, how many?”
It’s probable, if you’re like most customers, that you are unfamiliar with what impressions included mean in a contract or lease agreement and how important they are.
This is precisely the reason we want to use our experience as a long-time local print vendor to help you understand what impressions included mean and why it’s critical to include the right amount in your contract.
Because including the wrong number of impressions has financial consequences and could lead to a more stressful situation if an adequate solution is not found.
Since we’ve encountered several questions surrounding impressions included in a contract, we’re going to break it down in a “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)” style of formatting, so you can easily navigate to the sections most applicable to you.
8 Frequently Asked Questions About Impressions Included
Here are eight of the most common questions surrounding impressions included in a print contract or lease agreement:
What Are Impressions Included?
Let’s start with the basics: Impressions included are the number of monthly black-and-white and color prints, copies or faxes you include in your service contract based on how much you expect to print in a given month.
The number of impressions included is set with a print provider or vendor when making your contract and is based largely on your monthly print volume.
Most customers opt to include a calculated number of monthly impressions in their contract because the provider will usually give a price break on the click rate per impression since you are guaranteeing the provider that you will produce a certain number of prints in a month.
This means that, because you’re setting a specified number of impressions in your contract, you will have a set price that you pay every month for printing.
Although most consumers that lease their printer choose to include monthly impressions, it is not the only option, something we will be going over in the next section.
Does Every Contract Require Impressions Included?
Having impressions included in a print contract is optional, and you can also choose to pay for impressions monthly based on your volume each month.
Just like the impressions included option, the pay-as-you-go option has its pros and cons.
The downside to not including impressions is the monthly price you pay for printing can fluctuate dramatically depending on your monthly usage.
The upside to this option, though, is it’s easy to understand and you’ll never have to worry about one of the cons to choosing included impressions, which is including too many impressions in your contract that can lead to spending money on impressions you’re not making.
Can the Number of Impressions Included Be Changed Once the Contract Is Signed?
In typical print contracts, you can only add monthly impressions to your total of included impressions and cannot reduce the number of prints you originally included in your contract.
This is why it’s paramount to include the right number of impressions in your contract because if you find that you included too many impressions, there will usually not be an option to decrease the extra impressions accounted for in your contract.
What Are the Consequences of Including Too Many—Or Too Little—Monthly Impressions in a Contract?
So, we’ve already gone over the consequences of including too many impressions—which is wasting money on impressions you’re not making—but what happens if you don’t include enough impressions and print over your allocated volume for the month?
This can lead to overage rates, which are calculated depending on the machine, the supplies your machine takes and the type of contract you entered into.
Oftentimes, the financial consequences of printing over your contracted volume are not significant, but that also depends on how much you overprinted.
Even if the overage rate per impression is $0.01, you don’t want to get into a situation where you’re paying more for printing than you accounted for.
This is especially the case if you frequently print in color because printing in color is more expensive and can lead to higher overage rates.
What Happens When You Have a Contract with Multiple Machines on it?
If you’re a school district, hospital or large governmental body, you likely need a plethora of machines to meet your printing requirements.
How do impressions included work if you have a large number of machines?
They can work in a couple of ways:
One is you can include a fixed number of impressions for each type of machine you have---this is a common option.
Two is you might be able to pool all your included impressions for each machine together so that you have one number to follow for all your printers.
Say you’re a school district that has 50 machines and wanted to include impressions in your contract.
If you choose the first option, you will work with your print provider to calculate the number of impressions included for each machine you have.
If you decided to pool your printers together and set a total limit, let’s say 1.5 million monthly impressions, you can print however many pages you want on any machine you have, as long as you don’t surpass 1.5 million impressions.
Does Duplex Printing Count as One or Two Impressions?
A common customer concern with impressions included revolves around duplex printing, which means printing on the front and back sides of a page.
Duplex printing counts as two impressions, not one, and applies to both black-and-white and color prints.
Does Scanning Count as an Impression?
If you have a multifunction printer, a machine that prints, scans, copies and faxes, you might be wondering if the scanning feature also accounts for the allotted impressions you have in a month.
The answer is no, scanning documents does not count toward your included monthly impressions in most contracts, and included impressions are only concerned with the print, copy and fax features.
How Many Impressions Do You Get with One Toner Cartridge?
Some customers in the past have asked how many impressions they can make with one toner cartridge since toner can be a pricey purchase.
The number of impressions you can make with one toner cartridge is based on a standard of five percent coverage, but how long it lasts will depend on the amount of ink or toner applied to the page.
Toner page coverage example, courtesy of JustTech:
Read our blog on the four different types of printer toners for more information on how to choose the right toner.
Should You Lease or Purchase Your Printer?
Including impressions in your contract is an attractive option for customers that enter into a lease agreement because it gives you a monthly baseline printing cost and can save you money if the click rate (price per impression) is discounted in the contract.
However, it’s critical to ensure that you have the right number of impressions. If you don’t, it will cost you more money, either by including too many and not using them or by including too little and overprinting.
Having impressions included is not ideal for everybody. If you want to pay the rate at which you print every month, the pay-as-you-go option would be better, although that could lead to price variability and unexpected printing costs.
There are two major options you have as a print consumer: you can either lease your machine, which most people opt to do, or purchase it outright, which normally doesn’t require a contract.
As a vendor that prides itself on objectively educating its readers and customers alike, we want to make sure you’re aware of all your options as you decide which purchasing option would be best for you.
Read our blog on the two printer/copier buying choices, leasing and purchasing outright, to better inform yourself on which would be best for you.