Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of Copiers and Multifunctional Printers

Running a business often rely on hardware, such as digital printers and copiers, as they are an essential part day-to-day operations. With that, they could represent a significant portion of ongoing operational expenses, which typically attributes to 1-3% of revenue on average, according to industry experts. Understanding the total cost of ownership of your copying & printing devices is important to know for a business.

There are significant advantages to properly evaluating the combined cost of purchasing or leasing the hardware, maintaining it, running it (think energy costs) and purchasing the required supplies. Taken together, these costs are your total cost of ownership (TCO). Let’s take a more detailed look at the way TCO is determined. The key to a successful Multifunction Printer (MFP) purchase is to look at the whole-of-life and whole-of-company costs.

The cost of running your office printing equipment, including multifunction printers and copiers, over its lifetime is likely to exceed the original purchase price by several times. With the largest cost factor by far being consumables.

There is a tendency, especially of IT departments, to only look at the initial purchase cost of a copier or MFP. The actual cost of running the device is usually hidden away in departmental operational budgets. As a result, purchasing decisions are being made based on initial capital outlay, and in the long run, actually hurt the company as a whole.
If the decision is largely made based on recommendations from the IT department, which often looks purely at specifications of a device and initial purchase cost, other departments can suffer. They may now have to live for several years with printers and copiers that have high running and maintenance costs.

Typical printing costs include:

  • All printing devices within the office, including desktop printers, multifunction devices, copiers, scanners, fax machines, and production printers.
  • Paper, ink, toner, and other supplies used during the printing process, including electricity to run them.
  • Internal and external help desk support, IT support, technical service, and maintenance.

The trend towards more graphics-intensive printing means it is becoming even more important to look at the total cost of running a printing device. Printouts from web pages and emails, often in colour, are becoming a significant cause of this. This means knowing the cost of running the printer or MFP becomes an even more significant factor in its total cost evaluation.

If you are planning to buy or lease a new photocopier or multifunction printing device, it is definitely worthwhile doing a few simple calculations based on the machine’s planned life cycle and to translate this to an effective net cost-per-copy. It is not an exact science, but the improved efficiency in the office may mean an overall cost saving.

How to calculate the total cost of ownership

The ‘Total Cost of Ownership’ of a copier / printer is simply its capital cost + the total copy charge – other savings factors.

Calculating total cost of ownership
TCO Calculation

Capital cost is either the purchase price of the copier or the lease/rental charges over the period, typically 3, 4 or 5 years. The decision to lease or to buy outright of course depends on the company situation.

Copy charge is sometimes also known as pay-per-click, a click being one A4 print or copy. A double-sided A4 copy or print therefor counts as 2 clicks. If the device is covered under a service agreement, this cost per page covers maintenance of the machine and also repairs if something were to go wrong. It often covers toner as well but no other consumables, such as staples or paper. The pay-per-click charge will vary depending upon the machine and volume. Lower-end machines usually have a higher cost-per-copy or click charge. 

As an example; a copier bought outright for $2,500 with a pay-per-click service charge of 1.5c per copy (including toner) and an average monthly volume of 5,000 A4 pages would give a total cost of ownership of $7,000 over a 5 year period (not including paper). Leasing the same machine would add approx. $500-$1000 to those total costs.

Taking some time to figure out your TCO across all devices in your business can help you understand your overall print environment, expose any hidden print costs, and work towards a plan to reduce printing spend.

If you are in the market for a new or replacement copier or printer, CopierChoice can help you get competitive quotes from trusted suppliers, including running & service costs. Once you have your quotes, make sure to take some time to work out the actual cost of ownership over the 3, 4 or more years you expect to have the printer. More often than not, a good quality business-grade copier or printer with a much higher intial price tag than a retail/consumer grade device actually ends up costing less to own and run over the life of the printer.

Disclaimer: CopierChoice do not provide financial advice. The information above is purely provided as information only. Kindly do your own research and obtain professional advice before making decisions on purchasing or financing your equipment.

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