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DIY Printing – It Could Cost More Than You Realize

When it comes time to have a print job run, some companies will try to skimp and save by printing the project in-house.

This is fine for smaller jobs, such as printing 25 copies for the upcoming meeting in the conference room at 2pm on Thursday. But when the print jobs start running into the hundreds or thousands of copies – that’s when things tend to not work out as planned. A metaphorical guy named “Murphy” inevitably pops his head up from inside the printer and starts to apply the law that’s aptly named after him. Most people don’t realize that it winds up costing more to print in-house than to have the job printed at a professional printing office. Let’s take a look at the factors that contribute to the high cost of printing in-office:


Unless you’re the owner of a printer ink company you’re most likely going to wind up paying full retail (or very close to it) for printer ink.  While the $25,000 printer you have in your mailroom may work for smaller jobs – every time you run it, it’s consuming expensive ink. Professional printing shops such as AlphaGraphics buy our ink in bulk. We get deep discounts and pass those cost savings onto our customers. The cost of ink and toner for an office printer (no matter how expensive it is) is going to far outweigh taking the project to a professional printer.


Office printers tend to break down at the most unexpected (and unwelcome) times. Inevitably, you’ll set the office printer up to run an important print job at 9am thinking that you’ll have more than enough time to print out the materials before the 10am meeting tomorrow morning. Two hours into the print job, something breaks, and the printer starts ringing alarm bells and displaying “Error code 0x610004a.” As you frantically head to Google to perform a search on that error code, you realize that this error can only be fixed by a printer repair shop. No worries,” you think to yourself – the company that sold you the $10,000 printer also offers in-office print repairs. You thank your lucky stars and confidently pick up the phone to call the company that sold you the printer and ask them how quickly they can get to your office to perform the necessary repairs. As you hear the words “How does sometime next Tuesday work for you?” your heart starts to sink into your stomach. The truth about printer repairs is that it can take a few days to a week or so to get a technician out to your office.  Unless you have a printer repair technician on retainer, you’re going to be frantically searching Google for the nearest print shop to complete the job.

Unintended Cost of Diminished Reputation

Poor document presentation can lead to a diminished reputation – especially if you’re giving them to customers or clients. Missing or non-properly collated pages, ink streaks on the document due to the wrong printer settings, poor quality bindings and/or paper, and the final print project not quality-checked for accuracy are just some of the technical issues that many DIY print jobs can suffer from. The image that’s presented to your clients and/or customers is 10x worse. As good as your administrative staff is – they’re not trained printing experts. Honest mistakes can and do occur and they’re often unnoticeable to the untrained eye, or worse yet, thought of as “acceptable.”

Professional Printing in Raleigh, NC

Printing in-office does have its benefits. They’re great for small jobs that don’t have the reputation of your company hinging upon the quality of the print job. If you print in-office because you think you’re going to save money, there’s a good chance you’ll wind up paying upwards of 3x or more for the print job in terms of materials (ink and paper bought at retail store prices), wear and tear on your printer, and the intangible cost of a diminished reputation due to low print job quality. To learn more about how AlphaGraphics of Downtown Raleigh can produce and design your next project, you may email us, request a quote or call us at (919) 832-2828.

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