How to Determine Actual Print Cost for Laser Printers
Though you may have lofty goals for your small business, you must master mundane details such as operating costs in order to keep the doors open. Laser printing costs are significant for a small business, as you produce correspondence, advertising flyers, legal documents, and a variety of other items. The actual cost of running your laser printer is calculated in cents per page; these costs remain fairly consistent over time. You add the costs per page for paper, laser toner, and maintenance items to calculate the cost. Depending on how much you use your printer, it may take a few months to collect all of the data, but you’ll have an accurate cost figure at the end.
1. Determine the cost per page of the paper you intend to use. If you buy paper by the case, for example, a standard case contains five reams of 500 sheets each, for a total of 2,500 sheets. If the case is $30, $30 divided by 2,500 equals $0.012 (1.2 cents per page).
2.As you use the printer, record the page count and date in your notebook for the first day of each month.
3.When changing a laser toner cartridge, record the date and the printer’s page count in your notebook. Include the cartridge’s cost in your notes. If you have a colour laser printer, take note of the colour of the toner. To calculate the cost per page, divide the total cost by the number of pages printed by the printer. $100 divided by 10,000 equals $0.01 or 1 cent per page for a $100 toner cartridge with a page count of 10,000.
4.When replacing a component such as the printer drum or fuser assembly, record the date and the page count in your notebook. Take note of the item’s cost and divide it by the number of pages. If you replace the printer drum with a page count of 75,000 and the cost is $200, the per-page cost for that item is $0.0027, or 27 cents per page.
5.Combine the amounts when you have at least the paper and toner costs. If your printer is colour, wait until you have cost figures for all four cartridges: cyan, magenta, yellow and black, and add these together. Maintenance items contribute less to your long-term per-page printing costs, but they are required for an accurate figure. If paper costs 1.2 cents per page, toner costs one cent, and the printer drum costs 0.27 cents, the total cost per page is 2.47 cents.
6.Compute the average cost of a month’s printing. For example, if you printed 3,000 pages in January, 3,300 pages in February, and 2,800 pages in March, your monthly average is 3,000 plus 3,300 plus 2,800 divided by 3, or 3,033 pages. To calculate the average monthly cost of laser printing, multiply this figure by your per-page cost. For instance, 3,033 times 2.47 cents equals $74.92 per month.
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