Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ten Simple Ways to Cut Down on Printing Expenses

How to stop wasting paper

Every year businesses waste huge amounts of money on unnecessary printing.
If you're running a business, even a small office or home office business, you could easily save yourself hundreds, and perhaps even thousands, annually just by implementing these very simple steps.

1. Avoid inkjets.

Many small offices still rely on inkjet printers for all their printing needs. Not only are they costly in terms of ink, but they're also costly to the environment - think of how many toxic ink cartridges you've thrown out over the years. For that matter, think of how many busted printers you've disposed of.

Inkjets are the gas guzzlers of the printer world and are really only built for home use. You don't want a gas guzzler in your business, you want a proper commercial vehicle that runs economically and can carry the load and will do so faithfully for years to come. What you need is a laser printer.

2. Check the specs.

A good quality laser printer, whilst far more expensive than a humble inkjet, will be the best investment you've ever made. But before you go running off to by one you need to first check and see if it is the right model for you. You need to find out how much the toner cartridges and other consumables (i.e. drums, waste toner bottles, etc.) are, how many prints it's rated for per month (duty cycle) and, ultimately, what the cost per print is. If you already have a laser printer but don't know this then you should really make it your mission to find out - the results might shock you.

A monochrome laser printer should be sufficient for most purposes and is cheap to maintain and use. Color laser printers are more expensive so be sure to check their specifications carefully. If you only need color printing on rare occasions then keep your inkjet for specialized color work and let your laser be your monochrome workhorse. Beware, though, of non-brand cartridges and refills, whilst there are indeed many reputable manufacturers out there, a lot of these are cheaply made and can end up damaging your printer.

3. Whenever possible, use the high capacity toner cartridge.

Yes, it costs more now, but when you divide it by the number of prints it does and compare that figure with the regular cartridge, you'll see just how much of a difference it makes. It will not only save money in the long run, but also time used replacing cartridges.

4. Go for good quality paper, not just cheap paper.

Cheaper paper can result in paper jams and cost time and money. There's no real need to buy name brands though, generic 80gsm laser copy paper from any good office supply store should be sufficient.

5. Double sided printing.

If at all possible go for a printer that features automatic duplex printing as it saves both time and money. Even if it doesn't you should still get in the habit of printing both sides - just make sure you don't end up printing one side upside down!

6. Check your print options.

Almost all printers, inkjet and laser, will have some form of toner/ink-saving mode, or "draft mode" built in, though never by default. Before you print, check your print options or properties, and look for this mode. Be especially wary of this when printing pages with large concentrations of color (or black) on them.

7. Police your printing.

It's surprising how many offices and businesses are clueless as to how much printing they actually do. If you seem to be buying paper every week perhaps it's time you started tracking how much you print. If you're seen to be vigilant employees are also far less likely to print personal items in work or bring your paper home

8. Look before you leap.

How many times have we printed something out only to catch an error or typo on the page that we missed on our screen?

9. Turn it off.

Whilst many printers have power saving modes, it seems to be common practice in offices to leave printers plugged in or turned on constantly. Unless it's being used, or unless it's peak printing time, maybe you should think about shutting that printer down for a while.

10. Write it down!

Do you really need to print that much? Why print out that email if it's already on your computer? If you want to take that document home why don't you just put it on a memory stick instead. Or here's a novel idea - instead of typing all those notes and then printing them, just write them in your notebook or diary instead!

These are simple things that anyone in any office or business can do. They are so simple, in fact, that you might well have overlooked them, yet they are guaranteed to bring results. Not only will you be saving yourself a ton of money, but you'll also be saving yourself a ton of paper too thereby helping the environment into the bargain.

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