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Print charging: a guide on how to charge for printing

When calculating your business operational expenses, you might be surprised how much money you spend on print consumables. You’re not alone. Many business owners often overlook the cost of printing. 

As a result, that little gray box you use to print invoices, contracts, and the occasional cat picture can quickly become a bottomless drain. 

One of the main benefits of print management software is regimenting print charging for your office environment. It’s a business strategy that controls your volume of printing based on costs alone. Users are required to pay for their printing upfront. Access to printers isn’t granted without sufficient funds to cover the printing costs. 

The reality is, even if you’re just printing a cat picture, that funny meme costs your business ink, paper, and toner. 

What is print charging?

Printing an individual page doesn’t cost a lot. But uncontrolled print and copy costs quickly become expensive. If your business has no management powers and you have color, single-sided, specialty sizes and formats, your printing costs can rapidly snowball out of control. 

Print charging automatically assigns the cost of a print job. This cost can be attributed to a user, client, department, or any group or individual that required the paper, ink, and toner to be spent. 

Print cost allocation provides your business with the tool to manage and recover printing costs so that nobody is using your office printer to make their own copy of a library book every night… trust us, we’ve heard some stories about unmanaged printing. 

How to charge for printing

There are several ways to charge for printing. Your choice will depend on your business needs and printing volume.

Cost per page

This is the most common and straightforward form. Simply calculate the cost of each page printed. Then charge the user, client, or department accordingly. This is best suited for businesses with a high printing volume.

Flat fee

This involves charging a fixed amount for each print job. Regardless of the number of pages printed. This is suitable for businesses with a low printing volume. Of if your clients/customers prefer a predictable printing rate.

Tiered pricing

Tiered pricing allows for scalability. Charge different rates for printing based on fluctuating printing volumes. Say, for example, offering a discount per page for every subsequent page after 100 pages printed.  This encourages bulk printing from customers and clients. Tiered rates for printing are most useful for businesses encouraging cost-saving behavior.

User-based charging

Some workplaces charge based specifically on end-user printing habits. User-based charging assigns a specific cost to each user based on their printing behaviors. An option would be to charge a higher rate for infrequent printing and a lower rate for prolific printers. This encourages cost-saving behavior and ensures users are only printing what they need. So they might rethink that sneaky cat picture.

Project-based charging

Charing per user might not be necessary if multiple users are contributing to one project or department. With project-based charging, your organization sets a specific cost for each work project or initiative. This is commonly deployed in businesses with a high printing volume for various project projects with subjective demands for document output. By charging for each project separately, you ensure your printing costs are accurately attributed to each project.

Think of print quotas and print limits like a printing budget or printing pocket money. It prompts users to think before they print if they know they’re printing isn’t limitless. You can set this by cost or just the number of pages. If a user knows they can only print 5 pages per week, they’ll rethink printing yet another inspirational poster for their desk. Currency-based print quotas empower users to choose how they print, while inbuilt standard reports can help calculate a reasonable limit.

Shared accounts

Shared accounts are commonly used in professional organizations to bill clients or projects for printing costs. In educational organizations, staff members often use shared accounts to manage budgets for faculties or departments. This allows for accurate and fair allocation of printing and copying costs, especially when staff members teach subjects across multiple departments.

Payment gateways

A common print charging strategy is a “pay for print” system where users must cover the cost of printing with their own money. Popular online payment gateways such as PayPal, , or RBS World Pay can be integrated to streamline payments. Users can conveniently load their accounts with a debit or credit card, or even cash with some payment gateways. 

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No more hidden costs, control your printing spend

Whether you’re a school, accounting firm, legal department, small business, or an enterprise, print charging plugs the bottomless drain that your printing supplies can become. 

By assigning costs to each print job, you ensure your organization isn’t losing money on printing, and all your operational expenses are accounted for. 

Your method of print charging will depend on your business needs and printing volume. Develop a print charging system that works for your business and helps you to manage your printing costs effectively.

Learn more about PaperCut products and how our print charging features can save your business money and reduce costs.



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