We are often asked how to choose a printer for a small business? How do you start? Do you select the cheapest printer? The one with all the bells and whistles? The fastest one? Colour A3 or Monochrome A4? Or do you just grab the first one you see…?
And what exactly is a small business? Are we talking staff numbers or is it based on revenue? These are certainly valid questions in your purchase process but perhaps not the most relevant.
At Docutec, we can guide you on how to choose a printer for a small business. We firstly help you determine what you need, by identifying how you will use the printer. This is usually based on your current experience. And if you are just starting up a small business, we help you establish what you will likely need. Either way, when selecting your office printer, we help you plan for your business today with plenty of room to scale up.
So, when you need to know how to choose a printer for a small business, think about the following questions:
- How many people will be using the machine?
- What volume of printing/copying will the machine be doing?
- Do you need colour or will black/white suffice?
- What type of printing will you do? Cards, Labels? Large Format?
- Is remote printing required?
- What levels of security do you need?
- Can you improve your process with better document management?
By now, all these questions might seem like an interrogation! Remember it is important to clarify what you want and need from your device so that when you choose a printer for a small business, you select the best printer for your small business.
Making the printer work for you!
Different strokes for different folks… Horses for Courses… The same is true for office printers. A common solution might be to suggest a multifunction printer that has the capacity to scan, copy and print in A3 or A4 and in both colour and black/white. Versatile, practical and scalable, this is a sound choice and will cover almost every option.
When you consider how to choose a printer for a small business, though, it is important to select one that will make your life at work easier. For a legal firm, for example, a high-volume printer with a large output might be the most important feature. However, for the stationery business, a high-speed printer with document finishing options might be more essential.
With a clear understanding of what you want from your office printer, let’s take a more detailed look at those earlier questions:
How many people will be using the machine?
Establish first how many users will require access to the machine at any one time. This will determine the size of the printer required. If you have several people needing to use the device, a very small printer/office photocopier printer just won’t be fit for purpose.
It can also help determine where your new office printer should be located. Think about placing it close to the critical mass of employees for their ease of access. Less time wasted will increase productivity.
Depending on how your office is laid out, consider investing in more than one machine to ease the pressure on a single device. Follow Me Print will enable a user to send a document to print but release it at the closest machine to them, saving time and effort.
What volume of printing/copying will the machine be doing?
This can sometimes be a tricky question to answer – particularly if your print volume fluctuates at different times of the year. A useful rule of thumb is to count how many reams of paper your team gets through in a month or quarter. Then, assuming they are not using the pages to make paper airplanes or perfect their origami skills, you can work out how much printing is being done.
Your answer will guide you as to what size machine you need. You don’t want to overload the machine and push it beyond its capacity. It is equally pointless to have a beast of a machine that is oversized and under-utilized. Think, Goldilocks! – it needs to be just right!
Do you need colour or will black/white suffice?
Without a doubt, colour business printers are more costly. Black/White prints are inexpensive and with only one toner bottle or cartridge to change, they are efficient to run. If your print requirements are for high volume, plain text documents, then a mono machine might be what you need when you go to choose a printer for a small business.
However, colour is increasingly more than just a “nice to have”. For presentations, charts and graphs, for consistency in marketing and branding and for that WOW factor, there is nothing like a splash of colour! At Docutec, we always recommend that you have at least one full colour machine on hand. Cost management can be easily and effectively achieved by defaulting all prints to mono, forcing the user to actively select the colour option. User’s PIN log in can determine who is printing and how much so all colour usage can be managed.
Remember, a colour machine with managed print options offers greater flexibility than a black/white printer.
What type of printing will you do? Cards, Labels? Large Format Printing?
So, we know that not everything is printed out on an A4 page! There are several options for paper size, paperweight, labels and cards. Some may never be required for your business. However, when investing, it just makes sense to get the best possible printer for your business and include options to meet your infrequent needs as well as everyday requirements. Our experienced team at Docutec will help find the best solution for you.
For very specific label printing that might include barcodes or QR codes, a specialised label printer might be the better choice. Card and a full variety of common paper weights can be easily managed on a standard office printer.
For any architectural, construction or garden landscaping firm, a flexible large format printer is a must. All drawings and plans can be printed out in exquisite detail in a range of sizes up to A0. Guidance on how to choose a printer for a small business and the types of media supported can be provided by the Docutec team.
Is remote printing required?
In our post Covid-19 times, this question has become almost redundant. “YES” is the answer! As working from home has increased, so too has the requirement for office systems to become more accessible, flexible and agile. More of our workforce are mobile as part of their day.
The ability to quickly and securely print documents, even when not in the office, is a growing requirement. Your business printer/copier should facilitate workers wherever they are. Scanning work from a mobile device or a home printer back to the office should be as easy as if you were physically in the office space. In addition, secure access to work documents while remotely engaging with customers renders your employees more efficient and productive.
What levels of Security do you need?
Security has always been of huge importance. As we become ever more mobile and cloud based, the need for secure print continues to grow. At Docutec, we view these changes to our work methods as positive and useful opportunities.
Printing, storing and filing all leave business open to huge risk – the dangers of theft and loss are enormous if all your critical data is in a back-office filing cabinet. Less dramatic but equally dangerous is the damage caused to your business reputation by information falling into the wrong hands.
Managed print applications like Therefore and Papercut will keep your information safe on your network. When you need to print documents, secure authentication requires a PIN – added benefits are increased compliance to GDPR and less waste as documents are only printed on request.
Can you improve your process with better Document Management?
Less is More! This applies to printing and copying too, and we are huge advocates of the “less is more” school of printing. Why? For lots of reasons – less paper produced is better for our environment. Moving away from paper and towards cloud/internet-based document management system makes a business more flexible and sustainable. Improvements to workflow should be key criteria when you are thinking about how to choose a printer for a small business.
Security is increased as is accessibility for remote and mobile workers. Enhanced software and business process applications can be incorporated into the document process. Document management helps people work smarter giving them greater job satisfaction and frees up their time to do more productive work.
Managed Print Service
So, having answered your questions on how to choose a printer for a small business, it’s time to decide how the service and consumables are managed. Our two most popular options are monthly variable cost per click (CPC) where you pay for the volume of printing done that month. Alternatively, you can pay a fixed monthly fee that covers your printing to an agreed quota. Consumables and Service can be included in these charges. Our sales team will explain the various options in detail and recommend the most appropriate one for your business.
Buy, Lease, or Rent?
Flexibility is a word I have used quite often throughout this blog. Docutec’s approach to finance options for your new business printer is also very flexible. You can buy the device outright – we’ll be happy with that! However, we also provide Canon printer lease for small business. Leasing and renting options are very customer focused and free up your finances for other business-critical requirements. You get the best Managed Print Service without a massive capital outlay.
Looking to the future
Increasingly, document scanners are featuring on people’s must-have lists. With greater emphasis on remote working and working from home, especially in recent times, people are looking for greater flexibility from their office printer.
As the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated, remote working is here to stay, and this throws up a variety of new challenges. While printing remains an essential feature of any office multifunctional devise, there is a greater need for agile and intuitive document scanning and document management services. As part of the Cantec Group, we at Docutec are here to make sure that your office printer delivers.