For many years the big choice in buying a printer was should it be a ink jet or a laser. All-in-One or a single function model. A small inexpensive desktop or a business grade model. These are all choices that we have to make so as to buy the right printer for the right job. But things have changed, over the last couple of years printers have added another feature, wireless connectivity. In this article we are going to try and guide and demystify some of the buying decisions a consumer has to make.
Ink & Toner Solutions has been in the business of selling high quality Eco-friendly remanufactured ink and toner cartridges since 2004. Over that period of time I’ve seen and heard just about everything on the subject of buying printer cartridges but the one subject that constantly pops up is price. It usually goes something like this, I give someone a price quote and they get back to me with, I can get this same cartridge for $X amount on line, can you match that price. Continue reading
This is a subject that has been bugging me for some time now so I thought this would be a great time to get it off my chest. Any one that has an office and 5 or more printers has most likely been approached by a sales person selling one form or another of the popular MPS (Managed Print Servics) program. This service at first glance seems like a win win situation and one of the biggest selling points is when you sign on they tell you they take care of everything and you never have to bother yourself with printing supplies or service again. Continue reading
I don’t think any of use really think about our copiers until something goes wrong, am I right. There it sits in the corner churning copies out day in and day out, never asking for anything but some power and paper, OK and some toner, but that’s it. Then it stops or something goes wrong and we go into panic mode because we really can’t live without these machines anymore. All these machines need is some TLC. Try following these 8 tips on how to keep your copier running and see if you don’t get less down time…
1 – Turn It Off
When the unit is not being used, like over the weekend or after hours get in the habit of turning it off. If you have a cover, use it. If you don’t have a cover get one. This helps to keep dust out of the machine.
2 – Keep it Dry
Go to your local hardware store or wherever you purchase your office supplies from and invest in some Silica Gel Bags and place them in the copier paper tray. This will help to keep moisture out of the unit.
3 – Keep the Air Intake Clean
All copies have an air intake panel and most of them have a filter on the inside to clean the air as it is pulled into the copier. But you can never clean the air enough. You would not believe the amount of dust we find in copies and printers even though they all have filters on them. For added protection place a strip of cheesecloth over the opening and change it every month.
4 – Changing the Air Filter
We all know there’s an air filter in our copiers but how often do we change them? I’m betting not very often. For the best protection these should be changed every month. I know what your going to say, but the rep said once a year is plenty. It’s better in this case to be safe than sorry, changing every month will guaranty you are consistently pulling in nice clean air into the unit.
5 – Clean the Optics and Glass’s
You should be cleaning the optics (glass) and the slit exposure that is usually located next to the main copy glass and is about an inch wide. While your at it clean the document feeder area. These area’s should be cleaned every few weeks or month. You can use glass cleaner for the optics.
6 – Keep Paper Fresh
If the unit has been sitting for quite some time for whatever reason make sure to remove the old paper that’s been sitting in the tray collecting dust and moisture and replace it with fresh paper. Dust, dirt and grit will have settle on the top page and the last thing you want is to have those foreign particles going through the copier.
7 – Pressurized Air
Once a month take a can of air and blow out all of the dust and dirt from the paper trays. I’m going to mention this even though it seems obvious, take the paper out first!
8 – Clean the Paper Feed Tires
Have you ever had paper not feed through the ADF (auto document feeder), like it just stops? That happens because the paper feed tires have become slick and can’t grab the paper anymore. Don’t call the tech and pay all that money, the simple fix is to clean the rollers with soap and water. Prepare a damp rag with a little soap on it and run up the feed tires. When finished take a clean rage and dry them off. They should work fine after that.
Keeping a copier clean inside is critical for the unit to keep performing at peak efficiency. Keep in mind that all laser based copiers and MFP (multi-function printer) work on static electricity. An electronic charge is applied to the drum and paper every time a job goes though. Dust inside of the unit can become charged and then adhere to other areas of the copier where you don’t want it to be.
So take the time each month and perform these 8 simple cleaning tips and you will have fewer service calls and more trouble free copying. If you have any tips or tricks that you use on your copiers or printers let us know, the more we share with each other the better we all are.
Have you ever wondered what the choices are for taking care of your printers or how to manage your printers? Has a sales rep approached you with something called MPS, (Managed Print Services) Are you looking for an easy to understand product that will take the hassle out of printer supplies and maintenance? Any one that has a fleet of printers has struggled with these questions. Continue reading
Should I lease or buy a copier or which machine in your opinion would be the best for me to buy is questions we get asked all the time at Ink & Toner Solutions. The first answer I always give them is “It Depends”. And the answer really does depend on a lot of variables. So let’s break down some of the pros and cons of leasing Vs buying.
One of the main reasons to lease a copier is so that you are not trapped in technology so to speak, let me explain. Let’s say you’ve done your homework and you decided to buy that really neat copier with all of the advanced technology that will improve your productivity and lower your printing cost. The system will cost you $15,000, you can afford it and of course you write it off as an expense. So you go ahead and buy it.
If your company stays about the same size as when you bought this machine and your still printing the same volume you were printing say three years ago, all is well. But, and this is what many business owners don’t take into consideration, what if your company has steadily grown and you have added personnel which of course has increased your printing volume? So now your using the copier much more than anticipated for scanning, printing and copying. With this extra usage the system is requiring additional service calls each month, your maintenance and supplies cost have risen and your productivity is suffering at the copier because the system is down more frequently than you expected. Your personnel are waiting around for their print jobs to be completed or worse still the job never gets processed to a failure at the copier again.
When you bought this unit you were planning on getting at least 6 years out of it but here you are just after 3 knowing that you have to do something. Shelling out another $15,000 or more is not an attractive option but may be the only one you have. So now in just 36 months you have the specter of dropping $30,000 plus on equipment cost alone. Yes the new unit has additional features that will increase productivity, lower maintenance and supply cost but surely not enough to offset the additional cost of $15k. This is what I mean by being trapped in technology. Chances are you will continue to limp along with the old system and just make do until you can purchase a new unit.
But what would the same situation be if you had leased? Your lease is for 36 months and the payments are $418 per month. You call the vendor that is holding the lease and tell them you have to upgrade. It turns out the cost to upgrade is less or about the same as your current lease payment. In many cases it is less and most likely your maintenance and supply cost will be less. Not only that, you get some new features that you know will save additional time when jobs are being processed and will handle the growth your business is experiencing well into the future.
So before you can answer the question of should I buy or lease a copier you first have to answer the question do I see my business expanding to the point where I will outgrow this copier in 2 to 3 years. If the answer is yes it might just be better to lease and trade the unit in when it’s capabilities are maxed out. If the answer is no, buying might be right for you.
Some other things to consider if you are thinking of leasing:
Tax Benefits – You can deduct the monthly lease payments as an operating expense.
Payment Flexibility – You can work with the vendor to structure a payment that fits your situation.
100% Cost Coverage – You will have the option of including “soft” costs such as shipping, software, service and installation right into the lease.
Technology Changes – As technology changes as it always does, in three years you will have the option of upgrading if needed.
Conservation of Capital – If your money is not tied up in equipment costs as when you buy the machine outright, you are free to spend it on other items such as inventory, advertising or personnel.
Cash Flow Forecasting and Fixed Payments – Fixed monthly payments helps you to budget for easier cash flow predictions.
Longer Terms – Banks usually lend money on 12 to 36 month terms but a leasing company can stretch payments out to 72 months.
So as you can see there is no simple answer to this question. It depends on a lot of variables that only you can shift through and come up with the best choice. Call different vendors, see what each has to say and research your options on line. One of the best scenario is if you know some one that has a machine under a lease contract. Call them and see if they will talk to you about how it has worked out for them. Ask the vendor to give you some references that you can contact for feedback. I must caution you though, it’s obvious that the only contacts the sales person is going to give you is the ones that will give him a positive recommendation. But if you really think about what you want to ask you may get some truthful answers.
As always we would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. It seems every business at one point or another has to wrestle with this question so the more we learn from each other the better we all are.
I think you would agree that everyone has been talking about securing their hard drives, wiping data from hard drives and even destroying the hard drive by beating it to death with a hammer if you are going to be selling or recycling a computer. And we do this for good reason, even if you wipe your hard drive clean there is always the possibility of extracting data from it in the hands of a knowledgeable person thus putting you at risk of loosing valuable or personnel data that you would not want in the hands of thief’s. But would you believe one of the easiest losses of data within your company is through your networked printer and copies! It may be time you enable secure printing in your office.
Think about it, what do you send through your printers & copies? How about customer list, invoices, payroll information, credit card transactions and god knows what else. Where does this information end up? Well most of the time in the hands of the person that sent the job to the machine. But does your copier have a hard drive that stores this information or other ways that retains information? Is it networked? Is that network really secure from hacking? These are questions that need to be answered.
How about that disgruntled employee that has already interviewed for another job, has been accepted but will not start for another 30 days. Let’s say the new job is another sales position the same as he has been doing for you? He has access to all of your confidential information from client list to equipment that each customer has to each customers buying habits. It happens all the time, it actually happened to me with a partner I had, when he left without my knowledge and against the terms of the termination agreement, he left with the businesses entire customer list with all the associated information. Or have you ever printed out an account list or internal documents to a printer and when you went to pick up your job it wasn’t any where to be found? Where did it go, did it ever print, is there an audit trail.
Most likely someone has stolen that printed data, account list or intellectual property. It could very well be that disgruntled employee who is getting ready to leave and is gathering information on as many accounts from as many reps & managers in the company as he can before leaving. So how can you protect your self against this?
The Solution: Print Secure
One solution that fits the bill is a product called Print Secure from Print Audit. This product is loaded with features. The software is easy to install and can be installed on as many machines as a business has. All you need to make sure is you are running XP or newer software. You can configure the software to automatically delete an unreleased job after a specified period of time, that way if someone sends a job to the printer and forgets about it someone else won’t be pulling it from the machine.
Some of the benefits of using this product is you can place your print jobs into a virtual print queue so you are in control of when that document is going to be released thus eliminating the risk of prying eyes viewing confidential documents. It encourages users to only print the documents they really need thus saving the company money. It ensures your data is secure by not transmitting any information outside of your network.
Users can also release their print jobs at the printer (prox card reader) or manage their jobs by logging into the secure web portal through any device with web access. Thus you could release your job via your smart phone, a web browser on the MFP/printer, PC workstation or a tablet. The Secure Web portal also allows users to view detailed information about each print job in the queue such as document name, user, time printed and the printer that was used and more. All of this information can be very useful in tracking and knowing who, when and to what printer a job went not to mention who sent that job.
Not only that, with Secure every printer is assigned a 2 to 5 character code known as a Printer ID. When using a smart phone to release a job the user has to enter this Printer ID to send the job to a specific printer thus giving you a virtual paper trail. To allow users to easily identify a Printer ID, a sticker template is provided to allow organizations to easily print labels to apply to their printers and copiers.
Whether we like it or not, digital theft in all of it’s forms is here to stay. In the old days someone had to manually jot down all the info he or she was trying to steal or swipe some documents that were laying around that had the info they wanted. Now with computers and cutting edge printers and copies that are networked and are capable of holding and storing every document that passes through it a thief has many avenues of stealing what they want. It’s up to us to make sure that data is kept secure.
Your turn, we would really like to hear if you have had any security issues and how you dealt with them. Do you use this software or some other software to protect your printed data. The more all of us know the safer we will be.
When looking for a low cost all in one printer for home or small office use you want it to be easy to use, have print, copy, scan and fax capabilities high output quality, good speed and a good LCD control panel that is easy to see. The HP Photosmart 7520 e All in one fits that bill.
The printer is also super easy to set up with the software being first rate. The LCD panel has a clear icon based menu structure with a touchscreen, you press instead of tap and hold for about half a second to invoke the options. It has cloud printing capabilities, includes HP’s own Web based apps as well as HP ePrint and Apple AirPrint for printing from mobile devices.
Even though the Photosmart 7520 is known for its photo printing its features go well beyond that. The main tray holds 125 sheets of standard paper and has a secondary photo tray that holds up to 20 sheets of photo paper, 5 X 7 inch max intergrated into its top. It also comes with a 25 sheet automatic document feeder or ADF for the scanner. The printer can print and scan in duplex, both sides or the paper but duplex scanning requires two passes.
Speed is good on this unit with Monochrome pages of text and text with graphics coming out at 9.5 pages per minute. Printing photos take longer as would be expected but the output quality is some of the best in the industry for this class of printers. A 4 X 6 inch photo at default settings on plain letter size paper will take about 16 seconds or 3.75 ppm. The same photo on letter size photo paper will about 60 seconds.
Now for the ink story, there are two types of ink cartridges that you can get for this printer, the HP #564 standard and the HP #564XL. The standard colors cartridges are going for about $10.99 each and get 300 pages or 3.3 cents per page per HP’s literature with the black costing $12.99 and getting 250 pages or 4.8 cents per page. Better to go with the XL series.
The colors for this series goes for $19.99 each and get 750 pages or 2.4 cents per page. The black XL goes for $23.99 and gets 550 pages, 4.2 cents per page. You could save even more money by buying the an Eco-friendly remanufactued ink cartride like Ink & Toner Solutions sells. The black remanufactued ink goes for $17.99 and the colors go for $15.99 each with both getting the same page yields as the original.
The HP photosmart 7520 offers outstanding print quality coupled with ease of use and having all of the features most small or home office users would need. It’s worth consideration especially if you also like to print out your own photos. The cost is reasonable for what you get and the ink is priced right no matter if you buy the original or the re-manufactured brand.
We would like to hear from you if you have one of these machines and what your experience has been with it.
I find it very curious indeed that when you go to buy a new car the manufacturer will spell out in no uncertain terms what that vehicle will get in miles per gallon because this is a very large factor in making your decision. But when you go to buy a printer you find no such information, why is that? You really need to know what it’s going to cost to run a printer.
Now some printers are pretty cheap like under $100 but then again you have large copiers and printers that can run into the thousands of dollars. It would be nice to know what it is going to cost you to run these machines so you can make an intelligent decision just like when you buy a car.
Running the Numbers
So let’s keep this article nice and simple and just run the numbers so next time your ready to buy a printer you will be able to figure out what your long term cost’s will be. When your doing your research and you get your choices down to 2 or 3 machines that have the features you need, the next thing you want to do is check out what the toners cost and what the page yield is for each toner. Look at it like filling up your gas tank on your car. If you have a 20 gallon gas tank and the gas cost $4.00 a gallon but your only getting 8 miles to a gallon your going to be filling up a lot more than the other guy’s car that gets 32 miles per gallon. Which of course means your going to be spending a lot more than the other guy, same logic with a printer.
I’m going to use a Brother MFC-9970CDW printer as my example to show you how to calculate the cost per page. This is a multi-function printer that cost in the $700 range, not a cheap printer but not one of the extremely expensive ones either. Because it’s a color printer it will be taken four toners and one drum unit for the consumables.
The drum unit for this printer cost $164.99 and is good for 25,000 pages. Just divide the cost of the unit by the number of pages and you get .0065999 or .7 cents per page. The black high yield toner for this machine cost $102.99 and is rated for 6000 pages which turns out to be .017169 or 1.7 cents per page. The high yield color toners go for $124.99 each and are good for 3,500 pages each. Add the cost of the three color toners and you come up with $374.97, divide that by the page yield of 3,500 and you come up with .1071342 or 10.7. I’m rounding out here for the example but it’s best to do all of your calculation in a spreadsheet as most of the numbers carry out to a few decimal places. It may not seem like a big deal but if your doing a lot of printing per month the cost do add up and you want a accurate number.
Putting It All Together
So now that you have these numbers you can figure out what it cost you to print per page. For example for a black page take the .7 cents per page that we came up with for the drum unit and add the 1.7 cents from the black toner and you come up with a page cost of 2.4 cents.
For the color pages you also take the .7 cents from the drum as that unit is used in all your printing jobs and add the 1.7 cents for the black toner which gives you 2.4. Now add to that the 10.7 for the color toners and you get a grand total of 13.1 cents per page..
If you do a lot of color printing this can add up fast. The Brother we are using is rated for 60,000 pages a month for it’s duty cycle. So lets say you push out 30,000 pages a month and they are all color. Add up the decimal answers you got, .0065999 drum + .017169 for the black toner and .0357114 for each color toner and you come up with .1308988. Multiply that number by how many pages you print an month, 30,000 and you come up with a whopping $3,926.96!
The Fine Print or What They Don’t Tell You
Keep in mind that the page yield noted on a toner cartridge package only provides an estimated number of pages that the cartridge will print, with “estimate” being the operative word. Believe it or not but the stated page yield is based on 5% coverage. Yes, text and/or images, on average, cover only a miniscule part of the page. Industry research shows 4% to 5% coverage is the average for a black-and-white page. Problem is if what you’r printing covers a lot more than that 5% you’r page yield will go way down per toner cartridge. The only way to figure this our is to monitor your print count for each toner and see how that compares to the stated page yield.
I have only included the consumables in this example, to get the real cost you would also have to factor in the cost of the machine, the life of the machine and of course if it will need any repairs during it’s life which is a number nobody can tell you. But putting these factors aside for this example it shows how important it is to know what you are buying and how much it will cost you to run it.
Let’s say you rarely do color printing, opt for a monochrome unit that only prints in black and take the few color documents you need to your local printer. If you do need the color capabilities shop around to see if other machines will cost you less by running the numbers as we did above. The last thing you ever want to do is go to store with no information and tell the sales clerk you are in the market for a color printer. I’ve had more than a few of my customers tell me horror stories of how they were sold machines that ended up being to expensive for them to run. We have put together a FREE Step by Step Guide to Choosing Your Next Printer that you can down load here.
So do your home work before going to buy your next printer. It’s simple math and it can save you a ton of trouble later on down the road. We would like to hear if you have ever found out you ended up with the wrong printer and how it happened. Your experience could help others not to make the same errors.
Have you ever thought of why some toners are so much cheaper than others on line? There are several factors and we will cover some of them in this article. The first issue is intellectual property and patent rights.
More and more the OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacture’s) are aggressively defending the patent rights and intellectual property for each of their products as well they should. There are some in our industry that sees this as an intrusion into the toners they manufacture while others, the reputable remanufactures see this as a positive development and here’s why. When anyone comes up with a good idea and patents it why would they willing let someone else manufacture it and make money off of it? Disreputable businesses that are doing this are breaking the law, period. These types of businesses really don’t care that they are using other people’s intellectual property; they only care about making a buck. By not having the overhead burden of an R&D department or Engineering team to assure they are not infringing they save a ton of money. This is one reason they can sell toners so cheap.
Consumers may think this is a good idea but it’s not. Yes they get a better price but at what cost? Quality is one. Companies that are producing these cheap cartridges do very little testing, don’t have the facilities for the research needed to properly dismantle and reassemble these units in a way that will insure a product that will work as good as the OEM product. Another point to consider when buying one of these ultra cheap products is the warranty and return policy. Many of these companies either have no warranty policy or a very skimpy one if they do. The return policy on many of these sites is either nonexistent or ridiculously ineffective at best, so make sure to read the fine print before buying.
The reputable remanufactures that Ink & Toner Solutions buys their ink and toner from are considered the top in the field. They all are committed to producing products that respect the intellectual property rights and patents of all of the OEM’s whose products they are remanufacturing. We will only buy from business’s that can prove to us that they are in fact following these guidelines.
What does this translate to for the consumer? Peace of mind! Yes, our ink and toner do cost more than what you can find on line, no question about that. But, we are on average 30% less than the SRP (Suggested Retail Price) that the big box stores sell the same product for. On top of that all of our toners carry a full 12 month warranty from date of purchase. See if you can find that on any of the cheap toners you find on line, you won’t.
Not only that but when you buy a toner from us you get the peace of mind that if you do get a toner that is not working properly, we will replace it no questions asked and in most cases you will have the new one in one to two days. I have actually seen some return policy’s on line that would in the end take up to 6 weeks before you got the replacement toner, can you wait that long to start printing again?
Our business is to make sure we are supplying the highest quality Eco-friendly ink and toners we can by using the top remanufactures we can find. We don’t cut corners, we don’t buy from business that do not follow these guide lines and we refuse to buy counterfeit products that are being made overseas circumventing all the patents and intellectual property rights of the OEM’s. It’s just not the right thing to do.
Clover Technologies Group is one of the manufactures we buy from located here in the United States. They have over the years proactively taken many steps and made sizable infrastructure investments to guarantee that their products do not violate any OEM patents and are not infringing on any intellectual properties. They have built an entire R&D and engineering team dedicated to this cause. Many of the manufactures that are selling toners at unbelievably low prices do not have any of these infrastructures in place, simply because they don’t care if they are breaking the law. They are in it for the short haul, there in it strictly for the money. They realize that there will never be a shortage of consumer’s that are looking just at the cost and ignoring all other factors until it is too late.
So as always you get what you pay for. Cheap price usually means poor customer service, poor quality product and poor or non-existent return policies in place.
Your turn, we would love to hear from you on this subject. Have you ever had a bad experience buying a super cheap toner on line? Have you ever had to return a toner and what was your experience?