That old phrase, “your mileage may vary” doesn’t just apply to your car. The “mileage” you get out of your printer is also subject to variables that can affect what you ultimately pay per page.

When they’re courting your business, printer manufacturers like to give estimates on cost-per-page, and the cost sounds low. But those numbers are typically drawn from a minimal amount of toner coverage (sometimes just 5 percent, equivalent of the corner of one piece of paper) using only the black toner cartridge.

What’s coming out of your printer?
In the real world of office printing, things get much more complicated. People print without stopping to consider if a hard copy is really necessary; they print in color; they load their pages with shading, photos, images, charts, logos and other graphics. All this serves to use much more toner and, subsequently, raise the cost per page.

Some businesses rely on high-resolution, image-packed color prints – graphic design, for example, or retail, financial and healthcare organizations. But for the day-to-day printing needs of many small- to medium-size businesses, the toner use (and waste) associated with complicated documents takes a sizable bite out of the resource budget.

A good fix
One way businesses are taking steps to control printer costs is by switching form a variable cost-per-page model to a fixed cost-per-page model. An Managed Print Services (MPS) representative can tell you how fixed costs can better predict weekly and monthly costs without necessarily changing the way your associates use the printer.

Ask an MPS vendor for a print assessment of your workplace, and you may find that some basic changes to the location and function of your document hardware may also contribute to better print habits. You can also discover ways to save toner with small changes in habits, like defaulting the print setting to grayscale, or eliminating graphics from pages unless they are truly needed.

With improved print strategies and tactics in hand, you could enjoy more mileage from your printer and a more attractive bottom line.