Printers, running costs and life expectancy

Our main A4 colour printer just reached the end of it’s life and is not worth repairing so I turned to my spreadsheet of printer costs to work out what to replace it with. We buy the printers and don’t lease them as this has always been a lot cheaper in the long term. This is our main daily use printer, we also have an A3 printer/scanner which gets less use. I like having 2 printers for when one goes wrong or I forgot to order toner, we can use the other until I get around to fixing it.

Interesting observations from looking back at my workings:

  • I started the spreadsheet when buying a printer in 2010 and bought a new printer in 2014,2018 and now 2022. So that’s 4 years per printer
  • I assume we only use original toner cartridges even though they are more expensive
  • I work out the total cost of ownership for a printer and all consumables assuming it lasts us for 50,000 pages
  • The current printer has made it to 80,000 pages, the previous one I think around 75,000 pages, so I might have to increase my assumed working life total page prints when comparing TCOs
YearModelPrinter costTotal Cost of Ownership 50,000 pages Total Cost of Ownership 75,000 pages
2018P6035CDN£362£2,702£3,510
2014FS-C5350DN£442£2,442£3,000
2010FS-C5300DN£766£2956£3,285

So although inflation has been increasing through that time, our printing costs have remained similar. Also of interest is the hardware cost of the printer has been decreasing. Before 2010 I also remember having to buy more trays for a printer but now we print letterheads on demand for free using ubuntu as a print server and a PDF template document

We have always bought Kyocera printers because they always seem to have the lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Many other printers cost less to buy but have much more expensive toner or maintenance needs. From my workings in 2018 you can see from models I compared;
the £362 Kyocera printer forecast a cost of £2,702 but
the £185 Xerox C400N forecast £4,872
so the up front machine cost is not a good indicator of the total cost of using a printer. Likewise you can also see that at 25,000 pages for a working life, the Lexmark CS727 had a lower TCO than the SC827. Summary: Knowing how many thinks you’re likely to print is important to optimise the total cost of printing.

Here’s an extract from spreadsheet from 2018 I used to choose a printer. Assumptions that may not apply to you:
We print lots of kitchen and bathroom photos at Roots, so I’ve assumed our average page has 15% coverage of ink (3 x each colour at 5%).
My prices were all excluding VAT
I suspect the prices I get for HP are high compared to what larger businesses can get, we’re small so I generally get prices online with no volume or scale discounts.

PrinterMachine costColour Toner single colour costpages coverage at 5%cost per page @ 5% using 3 coloursColour cost per 1000 pages (1 month)TCO 25KTCO 50K
ECOSYS P6035cdn£362£15610000£0.0468£47£1,532£2,702
Lexmark CS827de A4 Colour Laser Printer£405£23915000£0.0478£48£1,600£2,795
CS727de Lexmark£185£18010000£0.0540£54£1,535£2,885
ECOSYS P6130cdn£242£1005000£0.0600£60£1,742£3,242
Xerox versalink C600NW£730£19810100£0.0588£59£2,200£3,671
Xerox Phaser 6600DN£330£1456000£0.0725£73£2,143£3,955
Xerox ColorQube 8580DN£350£1124400£0.0764£76£2,259£4,168
ECOSYS P5026cdn£195£803000£0.0800£80£2,195£4,195
ECOSYS M5521cdn£163£802600£0.0923£92£2,471£4,778
Xerox Versalink C400N£185£1504800£0.0938£94£2,529£4,873
HP LaserJet Pro 500 color M570dn A4 Colour £516£1936000£0.0965£97£2,929£5,341

Setting up Google Workspace for a small business – part 8

Telling everyone about our new email address

It’s been about 2 weeks and everything is working well. We’ve told a few people about our new email addresses but now I need to get organised and tell everyone, but how?

Option 1 – Email everyone in my address book

Google keeps 2 address books by default.

First is the contacts you choose to save into your contacts. You can create those manually, save them from an email, create them when you add a new phone number into your phone. You can see from my contacts here I have 218 contacts though not all of them have email addresses (one of those contacts is a shortcut to dial voicemail). Truth be told there’s a couple of contacts I can spot straight away that don’t really need to be in my contacts book any more as we haven’t been in touch with each other for many years.

Further down the options is another section called “Other Contacts”. These are the contacts Google assumes from emails you’ve sent and received. They’re used with auto complete suggestions. I have 4,796 contacts there. A quick scan shows many are out of date or no longer needed but also shows a large number of fairly regular contacts that have never found their way to being saved specifically into contacts (friends from various clubs, where I don’t have or need a phone number for them and I email them simply from the autocompleted address).

If I was to try and email all 5,000 or so old contacts to advise of my new email address it would

  • take a long time (by hand, only about 90 addresses fit into the gmail BCC space)
  • take a long time (to write a small script to send emails one at a time)
  • exceed the send mail quota (2000 emails per day max )
  • generate a lot of bounces (old invalid addresses)
  • waste peoples time (support@old-company-I-once-used.net don’t really care to know I have a new email address).

So, I need a better option!

Option 2 – Use the out of office auto responder to tell people our email address has changed

When you go on holiday and wont reply to emails you can use the “Out Of Office” auto reply to let people know. The out of office message will only be sent once every 4 days.

I’m going to use this system to send a friendly message to let the sender know their email was automatically forwarded (so they don’t need to resend) and that we have a new email address.

There are options to only send out of office messages to your contacts but I’m going to let every sender get the message. I think the only downside will be that spammers will also know our new email address, but it will only be a week or so before they scrape it from our web site and start sending to both addresses anyway.

I’ve done this for our shared email address but for my own email address I’m going to wait a while before doing this. Partly that’s because I have a lot of newsletter subscriptions and some might see the constant out-of-office messages as a reason to stop sending emails. If you do this too, remember to keep checking the old email account from time to time as spam isn’t forwarded and if the mail box becomes full you won’t be getting the forwarded emails.

Setting up Google Workspace for a small business – part 7

Email for the servers and scanners

As well as user accounts we have emails being sent from servers and scanners. Google have a help page that says how to do this through SMTP relay. However, I also want to be able to see what has been sent. Up until now we’ve set the scanner to use the shared email account which means if someone replies to a scanned email we see the reply – useful for when we send orders to suppliers. (yes, we still scan paper. I’ve yet to work out an all electronic process that works as well. Maybe when I replace our MS Access database).

I’m not sure if the SMTP relay service will keep the sent email in the shared mailbox but I’ve time to experiment so I’ll try SMTP relay first, and if that fails I’ll have to setup the scanner to used the shared email with an app password.

Solved – activate Comprehensive mail storage “When you have the SMTP Relay service enabled, user mailboxes will keep a copy of the message in the sent folder  (for example, when sending mail from a scanner) if comprehensive mail storage is enabled. This might cause accounts to exceed storage limits if your account’s edition has storage limits”

SMTP relay needs a static IP Address, which we have. When we change ISPs (maybe once every 5 years) I’ll have to remember to update the IP address here.

This took me about 1 hour to get the scanner working. It was a typical error of one setting being wrong – I forgot to change the “sender address” from @rkbb.co.uk to @roots.uk on the scanner.

After that, another hour setting and testing the various servers that send emails.