By Mukesh Bector
A guide to choosing the best printers for your start-up venture
Embarking on a new business venture can be challenging, especially when it comes to choosing the right office equipment for your business. It’s important to ensure you have a good understanding of your business’s specific needs, budgetary constrictions and even office space available in order to make the right call.
Because printer needs differ from business to business, Epson has compiled a list of handy hints for entrepreneurs looking to buy a new printer for their businesses, to help you start things off on a good note.
- Evaluate your printing needs
The first step is to consider the nature of your business to ensure the printer you choose will meet the demands of daily operations. For offices with three or more employees in need of constant access to the printer, opt for a network-equipped model that allows multiple users to connect at the same time. You can also purchase an all-in-one device that goes beyond standard printing, allowing you to easily scan documents as well as send and receive faxes.
Try to predict how a printer will be used in the office – a high-quality display model, for instance, may not be necessary for purely administrative printing.
- Think about the long-term cost
Most people and new business owners alike simply opt for the first printer they find that fits within their budget. In the long run, however, you may find that you are spending more on your printer than you’re getting out of it. While the initial cost of a printer is usually a major priority, factors such as the annual cost of replacing ink cartridges and regular maintenance are actually more important to consider.
A practical example is Habari Consulting Limited, a privately held marketing and advertising agency that was spending Kshs 6,000 on ink cartridges each month, with Kshs 3,000 on black cartridge ink and Kshs 3,000 on colored cartridges ink. In five months, they would have spent Kshs 30,000 on ink alone. Since using the Epson L850 printer, they only had to replace the black ink at a cost of Kshs 2,000 for the ink bottle and, in the first five months of using the printer, have managed to save Kshs 28,000.
- Don’t forget about maintenance and operational costs
Many people overlook the long-term costs involved with owning a printer, but it is important to have at least a basic understanding of what to expect in order to make an informed decision. Take time to understand how easy it is to set up and use the printer, as well as how frequently you may have to replace inks and the cost of replacing ink each time, which will depend on how much printing you will likely do.
For small businesses that are not likely have a full-time technician or IT department, it is important to choose a solution that is simple and easy to maintain. It is also a good idea to find out whether the retailer offers any inclusive or additional IT support services to help you deal with any technical issues that may arise.
- Consider what type of printing you’ll be doing
Choosing the right printer also depends on the amount and type of printing you will be doing. High volume printing means more ink replacements and higher printing costs in the long run, while high quality printing requires a printer capable of rendering high resolution prints. However, it is also important to ensure the printer you choose doesn’t compromise on quality for the sake of being able to print large volumes.
Epson’s Ink Tank System printers are a great option for businesses looking to print high quality and high volume at costs that actually amount to much less than most laser printers. The ITS series of printers not only keep the cost of printing low compared to most lasers, but also require up to 95% less energy to operate. The ink bottles are available at select retail stores at a cost of Kshs 2,000 per bottle.
- Check your office space
The last thing you need is to be stuck with a printer that takes up way too much space in a small office space, making it difficult for people to move around the office easily. Take time to map out your office and how you want everything set up before heading out to buy a printer. This will help you to choose an appropriately-sized printer and ensures you won’t be left with any regrets after you purchase your printer.
(Mukesh Bector is the Regional Sales Manager, Epson East Africa).