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Print Myths: Color Copies & Prints Are Much More Expensive

piggy bank ink cartridge

Is your company suffering through statistical graphs, printed photos in presentations, and highlighted sections—all in black and white?

What kind of impact are you supposed to make with new clients when all they see is gray? This practice may be due to a common misconception:  "Color printing and copying are too expensive."  While it is true that color copying and printing are more expensive than their monochromatic counterparts, the imaging price difference between color versus black-and-white has come down significantly in recent years. 

Some Truth to the Price Difference

Before going forward, it would be dishonest to claim that a price difference between color and black-and-white copying or printing is a total myth—a difference certainly exists. This difference is especially felt in regards to color ink versus black ink for desktop printers or multi-function devices more than a few years old. If you're basing your understanding of color printing or copying cost on this data point, the belief in a massive cost disparity is certainly understood.  It is a belief, however, that is...(oh, how shall we put this delicately)...outdated.

Recent Cost Reduction in Color Images

Thanks to new technological innovations and efficient manufacturing processes, color imaging costs have fallen substantially in the past five-to-eight years. Enhanced device software systems have also significantly increased imaging efficiency. Whereas you may recall paying upwards of 20-40 cents per color image several years ago (or you may still be if it’s been a while since a device upgrade), the cost has decreased to between 5 - 7 cents per color image depending on the device model and other circumstances.  "Why am I still paying so much for color printing?"  Even if your company has upgraded its print device in recent years, you still may not be experiencing significant associated cost savings. There are many possible reasons for this, but here are a few. 

Use of Non-Commercial Desktop Devices

Though standard desktop devices are immensely convenient with an affordable up-front cost, they are a likely culprit as to why color imaging can cost your company so much. Most desktop devices are incredibly affordable to purchase—however, the true cost of these devices is frequently rolled over into the lofty price of cartridge replacements—some of which run higher than the device itself. Your company may be, in a sense, paying more than the actual cost of your printers over time in the form of steep ink or toner prices. These "inexpensive" printer can become quite costly when they need to be constantly replaced instead of serviced—something they are not designed to undergo.

Outdated Devices

Older model copiers, printers, and multi-function devices—even commercial devices—may cost you more from the inefficiencies that have plagued older machines for years. If your company continues to use these outdated models, you're likely paying outdated color imaging costs. 

How to Lower Color Imaging Costs

Are you growing tired of pinching pennies or looking at lifeless meeting handouts? There are several ways to cut color imaging costs while still enjoying vibrant images. 

Adjust Color Settings

A quick and easy way to save money on color imaging may already exist in your device's settings panel. Many commercial MFDs and desktop-style printers alike offer ways to control which images are printed in color, the number of color resources utilized, or even "eco" preset modes designed to conserve color usage. Do you have one employee obsessed with printing rainbow-colored spreadsheets? Some device software features may also allow you to manage which employees can use color resources or limit the number of color images. Do your budgets need tightening for a time? In these instances, most machines can be set to default to monochromatic when necessary.

Using Newer Commercial Devices Instead of Non-Commercial Desktop Devices

The true price-per-image cost of using non-commercial desktop machines can be immensely deceptive. As mentioned before, most desktop device manufacturers sink the true operating cost of these machines into the price of replacement cartridges. Instead of going for a "cheaper upfront" route inherent in non-commercial machines, opting for newer commercial copiers and printers can dramatically increase print efficiency—not to mention lowering color cartridge and machine servicing costs. While commercial devices may be substantially more expensive upfront, the price-per-image expense may be considerably more affordable over the life of the machine.


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