If you run a business or are in charge of handling day-to-day expenses, then you'll already be well aware of how apparently small costs can quickly escalate - particularly across multiple departments. So while many within the workplace might take the printer for granted, it can quietly eat through your budget - little by little.
Everything has a cost remember. From buying new cartridges and paper stock, to general maintenance, it can all add up, particularly in busier workplaces. Therefore, if you are trying to squeeze a few extra pounds out of your budget or need to reduce overheads, your printer might be a good place to start.
Mono-printing as default
One of the simplest steps that you can make is to ensure that all computers within your network have their printer settings defaulted to mono (or greyscale). By reducing wastage on coloured cartridges, assuming you have a colour printer, you can eliminate the need to regularly restock the printer.
In most cases, cartridges will be sold separately. In a laser printer, these are filled with a special powder and designed to last for longer; however, replacements tend to be much more expensive. Indeed, some can be as much as £50, even more. So if you can just get a few hundred extra prints or delay replacing the cartridge for a couple of months through eliminating unnecessary prints, you could actually begin to see significant savings.
Printing guidelines for users
More often than not, people use printers out of convenience - particularly in offices. Very few will actually take the time to think about whether or not they really need to have a physical copy of a document and simply press the print button and pick up their documents. If you set out clear guidelines and make people aware of your company's policy on printing (assuming you have a printer), they might think twice before getting a copy of an email or taking a few spares to a meeting.
You don't want to go overboard or be excessively strict with staff, but just providing a clear set of guidelines to follow - including an awareness that all prints are in mono - will at least help you to limit wastage. After all, every time the printer is used it costs money; so even a small reduction can mount up to a big saving over the course of a year.
Buy in bulk
One of the ways in which you can reduce printing costs is to ensure that you're getting the best price on all peripherals. So shop around for your paper and ink.
Don't start making false economies though and buying inferior products just to shave a few pounds off the top. Most manufacturers recommend that you only use official cartridges, and with good reason too. They are designed specifically for the printer, so they will always work. Plus you may find that any non-branded items invalidate any warranty you have. That's not to say they are all bad, but it's important that you're careful not to cut corners.
You may find that if you can locate a good supplier and buy regularly or in large quantities, you can get a decent discount. This might not be possible in all situations and probably won't apply to those offices that produce very few prints over the course of a month, but it's still worth considering.