Tips for Choosing the Right Printer for Small Businesses
A small business’s print needs are unique, with greater printing requirements than a home office but fewer needs than a large corporation. And, of course, in today’s digital world, print needs have changed for almost every business from what they were a few years ago. How do you find a printer that’s suited to a small business’s unique needs and capable of supporting a digitized office space? Keep reading to get tips on finding the best business printers in Anchorage, AK, for small to medium-sized businesses.
Consider All the Costs
Small businesses tend to be on a much stricter budget than large corporations. So, naturally, you’ll need to consider the costs of your purchase—but not just the upfront costs. All printers have both immediate and long-term costs associated with owning them, and if you’re on a shoestring budget, you’ll need to look at both of these numbers.
First, let’s talk about the upfront cost. Of course, it’s incredibly important to set a budget for your equipment purchases; before you set that budget. However, it’s a good idea to do some research to get an idea of what your average business printer costs. Many business owners make the mistake of setting an unrealistic budget for purchases like these, assuming they will cost far less than they actually do. This forces you into a purchase that doesn’t meet your business’s needs and ultimately wastes the investment that you made.
Once you’ve set your budget for the upfront cost, you should do a bit more research to determine the long-term costs of ownership for various printer models. While many will have similar long-term costs, there can be some variation. Some models will be more energy efficient, reducing the amount you spend powering it each month. There are also differences in the cost of printing on an inkjet printer versus a laser printer, which uses different materials for printing (ink and toner, respectively). Look at all these costs to ensure you understand which printer will meet your business’s needs while providing you with the lowest cost of ownership over time.
All printers will have some maintenance requirements, but you want to ensure that you’re not investing in a model that’s prone to frequent problems. If you want to keep maintenance costs low, a simpler model may allow you to perform most routine maintenance tasks yourself rather than requiring you to call in a professional every time your printer needs to be serviced. Additionally, it might be a good idea for small businesses to consider the complexity of the model they’re purchasing.
As we mentioned earlier, there are two major categories of printers on the market—inkjet and laser printers. Before you begin shopping for a printer for your small business, you must determine which of these categories best fits your print needs. Most businesses prefer a laser printer; this type of printer uses laser and toner cartridges to create crisp, clear text documents much more quickly than an inkjet printer. However, if your business tends to print a lot of images, and you need them to look highly professional, an inkjet printer may be the better option; these printers are a bit slower, but the images they create are much higher quality than what a laser printer can produce.
Once you know the type of printer you need, it’s time to start thinking about the exact functions that you need it to perform. As we stated, a small business likely has simpler print needs than a large corporation; however, that doesn’t mean that you’ll only be printing. Most businesses, regardless of size, need a device that can print, copy, and scan. These are known as multifunction devices or MFDs. They save space and are more cost-efficient than purchasing three separate machines to perform these tasks. If you need a printer that can provide all 3 of these functions, an MFD is likely your best option.
In addition to these three core functions, printers can have a variety of additional capabilities, including the following:
Sending and receiving faxes
Two-sided printing, copying, and scanning
High-capacity scanner tray
Scan to email
Unique login codes for every user
Improved data security
Binding capabilities for creating packets
There’s just one more thing to consider. Consider the type of documents you’ll likely be printing, and decide which additional functions you’d like your printer to have. You may need to consider the benefit these kinds of functions offer you, as compared to the cost increase on the printer’s price tag, and determine if the added price is worth the time it will save you in your office. Once you’ve determined the type of printer and the functions that you need it to have, and you’ve established your budget while considering both short-term and long-term costs, you’re just about ready to find the perfect printer for your small business.
Leasing vs. Buying
Because small businesses are usually on a small budget, many of them opt to lease an office printer instead of purchasing one outright. Both leasing and buying have their pros and cons, so you need to weigh these carefully, considering both the short-term and long-term ramifications for your business. While leasing eliminates the large upfront cost (which is a big benefit for those on a shoestring budget), it usually costs more in the long run, and you don’t end up owning a business asset at the end of your lease agreement. Buying does cost more initially but provides you with an asset that has value and usually costs less over time.
If you’re looking for the ideal business printer for a business in Anchorage, AK, contact Arctic Office Products today or stop by our location to view some of our stock in person. We can show you some of our top available models and help you find the perfect printer to meet your needs. We carry models from the top printer manufacturers worldwide and offer options for virtually every business’s budget. Call or visit us today!