Print Costs vs. Service Level—Do You Have to Choose?

We’d all love to sign up with a managed print service (MPS) at an affordable price. Who doesn’t enjoy saving on business expenses? However, finding a high-quality print partner that exquisitely balances service level with cost is often easier said than done.

Thankfully, it’s entirely possible to achieve that perfect balance so you can save money and receive fantastic support. All it takes is a little bit of research, realistic expectations, and an understanding of what any company should expect from an MPS team.

1. Look Out for Red Flags

In any industry, there are plenty of reputable companies to choose from. There are also companies worthy of suspicion. Managed print is no exception. 

Before signing on with a print management service, send out multiple bids to multiple companies. That way, you can appropriately compare prices and service levels.

Once the final quotes arrive, people are often surprised at the significant pricing spread for seemingly similar services. This usually includes incredibly low numbers that appear too good to be true.

And just like the old adage suggests, it probably is. 

These are the bids that should evoke serious caution. After all, every business wants to be profitable—and it costs money to provide exceptional service. Too low prices signal a company that’s likely understaffed, underpaid, and lacks the proper resources to get the job done right. 

To survive with these pricing models, they’ll often limit the number of service calls, including regular maintenance, emergency repairs, and stocking your supplies. So, even if you’re in a printer crisis but have already exceeded your limit, they can deny the service—unless you pay up.

2. Pay Less Now. Pay More Later.

While you might pay more upfront for an MPS with mid-to high-level rates, chances are you’ll save in the long run. These higher-quality services typically sign all-inclusive contracts without the surprises. They’re also committed to furthering your print cost savings by regularly examining your process to boost efficiencies that’ll save you time and money.

It’s unlikely that those low-cost bidders will do the same. They simply don’t have the profit margins to sacrifice the time or afford for clients to lower their current print capacities. 

So, once you start calculating costs like the wasted time your own team now spends on print problems or missed deadlines due to faulty printers, what did it really cost you?

In essence, by choosing a stronger—even if slightly more expensive—managed print service, think of it as “paying a little extra” to have a partner that truly has your best interests at heart. 

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3. Find the Right Managed Print Service

Instead of only searching for the lowest price, try finding a managed print program dedicated to becoming your long-term, on-demand, and reliable partner—not one who will set you up then disappear.

First off, request quotes from several managed print services in your area. After getting them back, circle the services with prices generally within the same ballpark. Most reputable services employ similar cost structures, so this is an excellent method to identify the best companies with similarly competitive prices. 

From this narrowed-down list, it’s time to start digging into what sets these final contenders apart—and which one will ultimately be the best MPS partner for your company.

4. What to Look for in an MPS Service

Many different qualities make up a managed print company with a high level of service. Here are some of the most important ones:

Credibility: How are their online reviews? Today, we have instant access to insider knowledge about virtually any organization out there. Before signing on with a managed print partner, be sure to look at what others are saying about them first. 

Or, if you prefer the old-fashioned way, ask around to those at other companies who use a managed print service. Are they happy with their MPS? Do they find the costs reasonable? If so, they might also be the right partner for you.

Flexibility: Not only are printers and copiers unpredictable—so is the way your company uses them. This makes it essential to pick a managed print service that knows how to be flexible.

Be leery of any MPS that wants to lock you into a fixed-price contract. Since print needs vary from month to month, your contract needs to reflect that. Instead, choose an MPS that offers a more flexible cost-per-page, or CPP, pricing model. With CPP, you pay for exactly what you use per month. No more. No less.

Also, a great print service team should be happy to adjust for your future needs. Are you moving towards more digital formats? Or, maybe your company’s expanding. Change is inevitable in the business world, and your MPS partner should be ready for anything.

5. Do They Get Your Print Needs

We’ve said it more than once, and we’ll say it again—working with a print management program should feel like a partnership! They should be asking plenty of questions designed to determine your specific print needs. That way, the team can assuredly provide wonderful, customized service.

If a company genuinely takes this time to learn what’s important to you and your company, chances are they’ll also be genuine in providing great managed print service for years to come.

Ready to start the search for your perfect MPS partner? Schedule a free, 15-minute consultation with an imageOne expert to see if we’re the right match for you.imageone_CTA_7-ways-to-reduce-print-costs