Printers sometimes encounter mechanical failures and need to be repaired; that’s almost a universal constant. But it may not always be the best choice. While spending $100 to fix a one-month old, $5000 printer makes sense, older printers should sometimes be put out to pasture—Office Space-style. We run through several scenarios where printer repair is not worth the cost.
Your cost-per-page/print (CPP) is increasing
At the end of the day, one bottom line you can’t ignore is the cost to print a page. Manufacturers almost always provide CPP numbers for printers, but those numbers can fluctuate depending on the price of ink or toner. To calculate your current cost per page, do the following.
- Determine how much you pay per cartridge.
- Determine page yield of the cartridge, which can be found on the cartridge’s packaging.
- Use the equation below:
Cost of cartridge / Cartridge page yield = Cost-per-print (CPP)
If you notice your CPP rising considerably, first switch to compatible cartridges to save money. However, if costs continue to increase or a new model with an improved better CPP comes out, consider retiring the old printer.
There is a high repair cost and difficulty
Once a printer’s warranty period ends, those repair and maintenance costs that were previously covered under warranty start to add up over time. Printers have many points of failure, from the loading tray to the drum or fuser.
While parts such as the load tray can be replaced at relatively low cost, complex components such as the controller boards and chips won’t be. If the cost of repairing the unit exceeds the cost of a replacement, choose the latter. In addition, replacement parts for older printers can prove to be elusive—especially if the unit has been discontinued for several years. At that point, downtime in addition to cost becomes a concern.
Manufacturer support has expired
Here’s a scenario: Your office is set to switch over to a new operating system which requires new software drivers for many devices, including the printers. Without new software drivers, the hardware won’t function properly—if at all. If you have a relatively new model, the manufacturer may provide updated drivers for the new OS so users may continue to use the machine.
Unfortunately, old legacy printers might not receive such updates if they have reached end of support. In such cases, the printer needs to be hooked up to a system running the old operating system, which can reduce network security. Aside from driver updates, manufacturer support can be in the form of knowledge base articles, repair and warranty, setup guides and documentation, and firmware upgrades. Once a manufacturer drops support for a printer, operating the unit becomes more difficult. Consider replacing the printer with a new model under manufacturer support.
The printer has outdated capabilities
Expanded feature sets in new printers can be another reason to retire a printer. Features such as wireless connectivity, duplex printing (printing on both sides of a paper), or support for memory cards can improve efficiency and usability. If an older printer lacking those features needs repair, consider whether a newer model would better serve the office, and consider the efficiency gains that come with it. From increased pages-per-minute (PPM) to reduced cost-per-page, a new printer can net lower operating costs over time.
Your office should be downsizing printer needs
To reduce paper waste, offices should store documents digitally and not print them unless absolutely required. Has your business evolved to use less paper in day-to-day functions as many have? If a malfunctioning printer is one of several in the office and print queues are not an issue, consider removing the faulty printer altogether rather than replacing or repairing it. Assess your company’s paper usage and make sure the printer infrastructure is proportional.
If the scenarios above ring true for your office, it’s time to retire that old printer. Its value won’t increase while the cost to maintain it may. Ultimately, it boils down to a cost benefit analysis. Making a printer repair should make financial sense first and foremost.