Giving print costs its walking papers

Brett Abson from ABS UK offers his 10 top tips for saving on print expenditure

For many budget-conscious schools and colleges, mounting costs for paper, ink, toner, and printer maintenance can be worrying. It’s not always easy to balance the needs for legitimate printing access for academic needs, whilst weeding out wasteful and costly printing abuse.

Few schools and colleges realise the extent that out-of-control printing costs are stressing the budget and most don’t know how the school’s printers are really being used so can’t control printing costs.

There are 10 ways to save on printing costs in your school:

1. Save money by avoiding branded cartridges

Branded cartridges can be expensive, but any compatible cartridge will do the same job. An excellent way to save money on your printing costs is to switch to non-branded cartridges, although do check the quality of the product before making your purchase.

2. Use your printer less

Educate your staff and pupils on helping to save paper and ink by only printing when necessary – it may sound simple but this is the easiest way to save money on your printing costs. We would also advise using cheaper paper for internal documents.

3. Tinker with your fonts

Did you know that certain fonts use less ink than others?

Times New Roman uses less ink than Arial and will save you money on your printing costs. Try reducing your font size to 10 or 11 and only use bold type face if necessary.

4. Don’t forget to use print preview

Remember to check documents before you print to ensure you only print off the pages you need. For internal office documents, you can also print more than one page per sheet. Most printers have facilities to do this automatically and printing even two pages per sheet, where for instance you print two A5 page images on an A4 page, is a useful saving over time.

5. Print using draft mode

To reduce the amount of ink and toner you use, make sure to set your printers to print in draft or rough settings when printing standard documents or straight from a webpage. This is good way to save money on your printing and you can always adjust the settings when you require better photo quality.

6. Print in black and white

It sounds simple and it is. You can set your printers to default to only print in black and white. Black ink or toner is significantly cheaper to replace than colour and if you require a document in colour it’s easy to switch back.  

7. Implement default double-sided printing

You can set up your computers to print in default under certain settings. One of these settings will be automatic double-sided printing. Implementing this with default black and white printing will save you a small fortune on paper and ink. 

8. Buy your ink and toner in bulk

Many online printer retailers offer discounts for bulk purchases offering your ink or toner cartridges at a lower cost per unit than buying individually.

9. Consider investing in new printing systems

It is really worth considering installing new printing systems in your schools as a way to save money on your printing costs. Technology is advancing and more efficient printers are now available. Old printers use more ink and toner and the cost of their cartridges increase as demand declines. Consider the actual cost per page as the cheaper your unit, the higher the cost per page will be.

10. Consider entering into a managed print agreement

Depending on the volume you are printing, print managed agreements can be an excellent way to save money on your printing costs and reduce your school’s impact on the environment. It’s a bit like entering into a new phone contract as you get a certain number of prints per month at a fixed cost. If you run over, there is a pay as you go tariff and you get a warranty with your printer meaning if anything were to go wrong, an experienced engineer would be on-hand to come and fix the issue immediately.

Brett Abson is sales director at ABS UK Ltd