Almost every small business requires an efficient printer to run, yet everyone has different requirements about what they need from their printer. Throughout this blog post we aim to cover some tips and provide recommendations to help you get the most out of your printer.
Whether you are running your small business from a local office or your back bedroom, you are going to need to print things on a regular basis. This is about where the similarities end with small business printing because every business is going to have different requirements depending on the size of the business and what they are using printers for.
As such, we will look at some of the common areas for you to consider, so you can see if they apply to your business.
How to save money using duplex printing
Firstly, if you’re thinking ‘what is duplex printing’, then read our earlier blog post on the subject. In summary, duplex printing is printing on both sides of paper.
Depending on the types of documents you are printing within your business, switching over to automatic duplex printing can help you cut down the quantity of paper you are using by half and help save the planet. To help understand how much money you could save by switching to duplex printing then take a look at our duplex printing calculator at the end of the post.
One factor to consider is how duplex printing will be perceived by the people using the printed documents. While it may be more cost effective, duplex printing could actually make it more difficult to use the printed documents. Take for example if you are printing a large spreadsheet which spans over onto several pages. Printing this double sided would actually make this much harder to read the information, whereas with standard single sided printing this would allow you to line up the pages next to each other as can be seen below;
How to reduce printing costs
Printing documents for temporary purposes generally results in a full colour and high quality print out since this is what the printer is set up to print by default. But what if you are just printing the document for an internal meeting or only as a draft version, then it seems like a waste to print out in full colour since it is going to cost you more money.
Instead, consider switching your printer to print in black and white by default so if people need to print in full colour then they have to specifically select this option when printing. People are unlikely to actively think about the environmental aspect at the time of clicking the print button, so by using this option by default then this can help reduce your printing costs.
Useful small business printer functionality
Within small businesses, there are many reasons the printer is used which range from printing high quality items for your customers to printing copies for internal use only. Due to this, you may or may not be aware of some of the different functionality that is built into some printers, but not others. When looking at different printers, it is always best to check to see if it meets your current and future needs to avoid having to upgrade in a month or two.
Firstly, do you need to print in colour or are you happy with printing in black and white? Mono (Black & White) printers do cost less than the equivalent colour printer and the same is true for the toner cartridges when they need to be replaced. With only having to replace the single black cartridge, this can save you money on the more expensive colour cartridges.
So have a think through about what you need to print and if you will actually need to utilise colour printing at all. A prime example of where Mono printing is suitable can be for printing internal documents or reference material when going about your business activities. This is something that only you and your team will be viewing and can work effectively in certain industries where the paperwork is purely for internal purposes and not customer facing.
If you are printing documents for the outside world to see, then it is obviously important for those to look the part for the end user who is receiving them. So again, consider what you are going to be using the printer for then decide on which is the best option for yourself, either Mono or Colour.
You could even utilise two separate printers for different purposes if that is more suitable for your small business setup.
Inkjet or Laser
Typically Inkjet printers have been used in the home, but more recently inkjet printers have started appearing in the workplace too. Consider how much printing you will actually be doing when running your business and how this printing is being used. Do you care about the speed of which documents print? Do you care about the quality of printed documents? Is the up-front cost a factor in your purchasing decision? Is the on-going cost of cartridges a factor when looking at a new printer?
All of these are questions which can lead you down either route for inkjet or laser printers. Typically, inkjet printers cost less initially, cost more per sheet to print afterwards and are slower at printing. Whereas laser printers cost more initially, cost less per sheet to print afterwards and are faster at printing. There are differences on both sides of the fence, so we would always recommend reading the specification for the printers in full before making a decision since you can easily compare this information.
Do you want to use your printer for more than just printing documents? If so, then there are other pieces of functionality that may come in useful when running your small business. Multifunctional Printers can come with a range of functionality all built into the one device from scanning, photocopying, email, fax and of course…printing.
On top of the basics, some printers also come with wireless printing technology, mobile printing technology and cloud printing technology built into them which enables you to utilise the printer in more creative ways which can help make your business more efficient.
All of this additional functionality comes down to what you are using the printer for in your business. Thinking through the different options at the outset can help get the right set up to help your business run smoother.
To paraphrase the wise words of Shakespeare, to A4 or to not A4…aka A3. Some printers will be purely A4 print size, others A3 and some printers will print both sizes. Again this comes down to your requirements and how you can utilise the larger A3 printouts.
What kind of items are you looking to print, onto transparencies, onto envelopes, onto card (and how thick?), printing labels, printing photos on photo quality paper? There are a lot of different options for using your printer in your small business.
Getting the functionality right at the start will help save you money in the long run. If you only need to print out a small handful of branded envelopes each month, then does this really warrant the cost of going to a professional printer or can the same result be achieved on your office printer?
Best Small Business Printer
The runners up in the award went to the following printers;
- Oki C530dn
- Dell C3765dnf
- Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4595 DNF
- HP LaserJet Pro 400 M401dw
Overall there are many suitable printers for small business, whether you are in a small office with a team of people or you are running the business from your back bedroom. The key item to take away is to have a really good think through how you can utilise printing technology to make your business run more efficiently. When you start to look through the functionality and have a good think about how you could use it, you will be surprised at the creative ways to you work.
We would love to hear from you about what you are using your small business printer for and any creative ways you have found to using it, so leave a comment.