Printing – the balance sheet blind spot

Anthony Toope from Fuji Xerox shares some tips to lower printing costs in your agency.

From glossy marketing collateral to internal reports and administrative documents, real estate agencies have various printing requirements. Most real estate businesses have a printer and many have several devices of various makes and models. A quick survey of your own environment will most likely reveal a number of desktop printers designed to service one or two people and perhaps a networked, workgroup printer that everyone else can use. If you work in a larger company, this arrangement is probably replicated many times across various departments and workgroups.

What most business managers don’t realise is how much printing can add to daily running costs. A company printing 2,000 pages per month can incur costs of up to six per cent of annual revenue – that’s $24,000 for a small business generating $400,000 in annual revenue. Many agencies also outsource their colour printing to a third party which can further hike up the costs.

Every real estate business is different but none can escape printing costs entirely when you consider things like electricity, consumables and printer support. If you’re a business owner or manager it is worthwhile assessing your current printing solution and investigating how you can reduce costs.

Real estate
Each copier and printer takes up space, and space is expensive. Rent is charged on a square metre basis and every business machine takes up the best part of a square metre. Therefore, it’s not too hard to work out the ‘share of rent’ cost of copiers or printers.

  • If you have many copiers or printers in your office, consider consolidating to fewer, higher performance machines as this can increase available office space.

Printers can consume large amounts of electricity depending on the model and whether they are in stand-by or print mode.

  • Consider the accumulated effect of having multiple printers turned on and the potential savings of consolidating a print fleet into one or two more energy efficient, yet advanced, high-speed printers.
  • Energy saving features that put machines to ‘sleep’ in idle periods can save hundreds of dollars each year on energy consumption and reduce a business’ carbon footprint.
  • Ask staff to turn off their computer screens – a simple monitoring and reward program may encourage people to get into the habit.

Provide training to office staff
Training your employees on how to use the office printer may not be a top priority, but it could save your business a lot of money. A common print-cost black hole is the lack of controls or limits set on high-speed, colour printing devices. The cost of toner will add up if employees are regularly printing in colour unnecessarily.

It has been estimated that 17 per cent of all pages printed are accidental – that’s 340 wasted pages for every 2000 printed. The most common reasons for wasted pages include: printing emails which include several pages; poorly formatted web pages that print blank pages with one or two lines; accidental printing of colour pages before documents are finalised; and simple accidental printing of documents.

  • Create a policy that restricts who has access to colour printing. Some printers provide customisable access controls to limit the use of colour by user, department or print function.
  • Encourage staff to use the print preview function before they print and only print the pages they need.
  • Where possible, printing should be double sided (duplex) to reduce the number of pages used. Paper may seem cheap per page but it adds up across a company.

Consider a managed print solution
With multiple copiers or printers, you may be buying many different types of consumables, often on an ‘as needed’ basis. That’s an expensive way to do business, particularly when paying marked up retail prices.

Managing an IT system can be frustrating, time consuming and costly; particularly if you regularly encounter issues. Printer support and servicing can also hike up the costs. Printers need to be cabled, users need printer drivers installed, consumables need to be added, and paper trays need to be configured along with a multitude of other tasks. It takes time and knowledge for even the smallest desktop printer to be installed.

  • Consider a managed print services contract where you engage with a third party to install and support all devices and administer warranties if required. The managed print services company will take over the entire management of a printer fleet, including service and consumables, and can deliver savings of up to 30 per cent.
  • A managed print services company will also ensure you have the right devices for your business. There are high performance printers available, such as the Phaser 7800, which produce superb quality colour printing and also have an affordable price tag. It is worth researching the options to see if you can take your colour printing back in-house and save.

Once you investigate the accumulated running costs, it really is surprising how expensive printing can be in terms of adding unnecessary costs.

Anthony Toope is the marketing and channel operations manager of Fuji Xerox Printers Australia and New Zealand. Anthony and his team are focused on delivering the highest levels of support and service for Fuji Xerox partners and customers. Anthony joined Fuji Xerox Printers in 2009 and has extensive B2B experience within the IT print and copier industries. For more information, visit

Show More

Guest Contributors

If you would like to become a Guest Contributor to Elite Agent Magazine please visit