We’re not quite to the point yet where paper has become obsolete, although the digital revolution is certainly a step in the right direction. As a business, you can now store records digitally (and even create back-up copies for those “just in case” scenarios). Your payroll is probably mainly direct deposit, as opposed to printed checks for employees. And you’ve likely cut back on hard copies in other areas, as well. But you probably still have a variety of printing needs, from business cards, to brochures and other promotional items, to packing slips and shipping labels, just for example. And as you know, printing can be a major expense, whether you print materials on-site or outsource the job to a qualified vendor. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to cut costs.
You can start with the printers you use on-site. As a business consumer, it’s important that you comparison shop for printers. And think about the long game. Certainly you can purchase an inexpensive printer, but you may find that ink cartridges are more expensive, they’re not as efficient, and/or they need more frequent replacement than the cartridges used for more expensive printers. The quality of your prints could also be compromised when you buy a cheap printer. So do your homework and think about spending a little more up front so you can save down the line. You might also want to consider purchasing two printers – one black and white and one color – so that you can save on the added cost of printing in color whenever possible.
Another tip is to optimize every page you print. For example, did you know that certain fonts require less ink for printing? Whereas pretty much any font with the word “bold” in the name is likely to use more ink, a font like Century Gothic uses far less ink during printing. However, you can also reduce specifications like font size, line spacing, kerning, and so on in order to fit more content onto every printed page, helping you to cut back on paper usage. And don’t forget about double-sided printing. You can even go into the printer settings and select a lower quality of printing when possible. There will be some projects that require high quality, but your average day-to-day printing tasks don’t necessarily need to be the best quality.
Of course, going paperless when possible is also a good policy in terms of cutting printing expenses for your small business. For meetings, rely on Power Point presentations rather than printed materials, and have executives view reports digitally instead of distributing printed copies. You can also make the switch to digital file storage if you have yet to do so (which will save you space on physical file storage, as well). And for third-party printing, think about asking for discounts. If you become a regular and valued customer, you may be able to get a preferred rate. Whether you print at the office, you use a service like 48hourPrint.com, or both, there are many ways to cut costs. You just have to be aware of what you’re spending and get creative about reducing waste and making every printing project more efficient and affordable.