Printing has been a commonly discussed topic in the coworking industry—not only by operators but also by coworking members—as it’s a significant aspect of everyday work life. Choosing the right printing equipment and technology will help you simplify the process, will ease your life as an operator and will significantly improve member experience.
We invited our partners at ezeep to share tips and advice about a commonly asked question – “What printer should I get for my coworking space?”.
ezeep, the market-leading software for print management in coworking spaces worldwide, simplifies the printing process, by moving it to the cloud so that organizations no longer have to worry about drivers, operating systems and end devices while users just print – anytime, anywhere.
Bonus tip: ezeep integrates with our coworking software management solution 😉
Find below what Christoph Hammer, CEO of ezeep Inc., shared when asked how to find the right printer for your coworking space or managed office.
Printing is one of a few ways to get information from the digital world into the physical world. For as long as we will be interacting as physical beings, some form of printing will be required and will be expected from coworking and managed-offices operators.
The big challenge with printing is that it costs real money. It is not just the printer that has to be paid. Paper, toner, ink, fuser, maintenance, repairs and electric energy add up. Some operators decide to avoid the hassle, don’t provide printing as service to tenants and members and call it “going green”.
Printing doesn’t have to be an administrative or cost nightmare. Here are 5 rules to find the right printer for coworking and managed offices.
1. It’s not about pages per minute, it’s about the time it takes for the first page to print
Based on ezeep’s work with coworking operators, we know that on average people print 6 pages per print job. Therefore, a printer producing 20, 40 or even 60 pages per minute will have little impact on the time most users have to wait.
However, a printer that only needs 5 seconds instead of 15 seconds from standby to printing will improve the users’ experience. Pages per Minute (PPM) is one of the big cost drivers in printers, a quick first page print time is not.
2. Don’t buy a cabinet that can print, buy a printer that fits on a cabinet
Just because you host 1000 people at your space doesn’t mean you need a printer that is designed for 1000 users. ezeep’s numbers show pretty consistently that in an average coworking space 1/3 of the people print in a given month.
That means instead of a printer designed for the load of 1000 users, a printer that is recommended for 300 users all of a sudden is perfectly fine. Buying printers for larger volumes than needed, means paying more than needed. And when one big and expensive printer is not needed, maybe several smaller printers can be placed throughout the location, increasing convenience for tenants.
3. Bells and Whistles create mostly noise
In an effort to differentiate, every printer manufacturer adds features to their lineup. That leads to a slew of features with no or very limited benefits to typical office users. However, more features mean higher prices. Knowing what kind of printing you want to offer to your members and prioritizing printer features accordingly can make a huge price difference.
The vast majority of office workers is sufficiently covered with A4/Letter printing in Black & White and Color with the option to print on both sides of a sheet (Duplex printing). There might be other features you would like to offer, however, start with what you want and look for the printer supporting that feature next.
4. Consider the environment
Printing is by far not the environmental killer it is sometimes made out to be. The paper industry in Europe, for example, is with 54% the largest user of renewable energy. Paper itself is biodegradable and a vast amount of paper doesn’t come from killing trees but from recycling.
In 2017 74% of all paper produced in Germany was from recycled paper. Still, there are ways to support environmentally conscious tenants. Providing printing on recycled or non-coated papers and placing recycling bin visible throughout the location are simple and visible steps.
Less visible but impactful nonetheless are deciding on a printer based on its power consumption. Inkjet printers, for example, need roughly 20-50 watts during printing. Laser printers, on the other hand, require 10-20 times more energy during printing. However, most energy is spent when the printer is not printing. A printer with efficient sleep mode settings will use less energy during all the hours of the day when it is not printing.
5. Money spent is money gone
If after careful consideration a printer worth several thousand dollars is the right one for you, go ahead and lease it. You will have the peace of mind that a service partner of the manufacturer will take care of it. It will likely cost you more over time but there is no big capital expense.
Keep in mind that print services contracts are usually designed around the number of printouts (or impressions or clicks which are similar in concept) you commit yourself to. Similar to leasing a car where you get a certain amount of kilometers or miles included with your monthly lease payment, you will pay for a certain amount of included printed pages.
If you don’t use them, it’s your loss. If you use more than what was agreed, you occur overage costs. A large number of coworking and managed office space operators have had great printer salespeople talk to them and now operate oversized and (therefore likely) overpriced printers.
Unless you know your print volume or have specific requirements, look for a mid-market printer to buy. For less than $1000 you can get good color laser printers with duplex support, copying, and scanning. Ask yourself, how often it would have to break before just buying a new one is more expensive than leasing an oversized printer?”
If you want to know how different spaces print and monetize printing take a look at ezeep’s free 30-minute webinar recording: How Other Coworking Operators Make Money With Printing.
If you want to know how to use OfficeRnD and ezeep, take a look at the OfficeRnD<>ezeep integration page or check ezeep’s video tutorial.