Flat Rate for the Managed Print Industry?
You may not be up on the latest trends in managed print. One such trend that has gained some traction is the idea of a flat rate managed print for the printers or the fleet a managed print company is supporting. This idea can technically be good for both parties if it is done correctly, but we have seen a lot of examples where it wasn’t done well and therefore failed.
If you have considered being on a flat rate managed print program, we would love to help you out. There is, like in all things, a good, a bad and an ugly to be thinking about before you sign an agreement with a managed print provider.
We have managed print for over 15 years and would love to help you gain a small insight into our field so you can make informed decisions.
The Argument for a Flat Rate Program
The biggest argument for a flat rate managed print program is simplicity. As the print management client, you know exact printing costs and you can even break it into even monthly payments. This gives you control over accounting as well as allowing you to cap a cost of printing for your company. The burden of doing a good job managing the devices falls to the print company who is a professional and who knows the models and the weaknesses of different printers and copiers better than a standard IT support person or business owner.
We have seen this approach be desired, like it is in the cell phone world, but we have seen it lack the real adoption we would have expected years ago. The main reason is this approach creates risk on the dealer side (and more profit potential), but they have to be quite good and strict to pull this off.
If a small business customer gets 20 toners for a site and then loses these toners, who pays. That is a big concern. As the customer, if you are on such a program, it is nice because now you are not on the hook for the toner, you are paying your monthly bill. It becomes the job of the print provider to ensure they maintain the correct margins. Obviously, if you straight up lose toner, there will be a charge back on that, but the bigger benefit is the managed print company doesn’t want to load your shelf with toner because that is expensive.
The Argument Against a Flat Rate Program
The biggest argument you can make against a flat rate is because of the exposure we mentioned above. If you have the risk of overextending yourself because of lost toners or using the toners with too high of a print yield, then the printer/copier dealer has to bake in some wiggle room to ensure they cover situations which used to fall on the clients.
The other reason dealers get nervous about offering a flat rate plan is because they are nervous a client will print a ton more, because they can. If you signed up when you were doing 5000 black and white prints per month and it was costing $100 per month each, there is a known baseline.
Let’s say the managed print service provider decides to to slightly higher than $500 and makes it $550 to cover potential overages, etc. Now if the client prints 10000 per printer per month, the deal loses money and they are nervous. Once people have a blank check, they will use them!
If your company is awesome at tracking and keeping their usage disciplined, then you are paying, to some degree, a penalty to help ensure the financial safety of the responsible dealer.
When is a Flat Rate a Good Idea?
A flat rate program could be awesome for your company, especially if you want one price each month without constantly having to provide meters for the printers (because you pay the same no matter what you print.) We work with teams to help them make the right decisions on what managed print contract to sign up for.
We would love to help you decide on the best managed print support agreement for your company! We will help you determine your baseline printing costs and toner utilization, so the goals of saving money over time are achievable. The business relationship you have should help your print environment as well as have a tangible cost-saving aspect.
We are able to do managed print nationwide and thrive with plans which we work out cooperatively with our clients, taking into account their business processes and printing goals. We would love to help you with a standard managed print or a one-rate plan anywhere in the USA!