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Tech Bytes: Printers Still Necessary, but Remain Problematic for Businesses 

A women printing a document with a printer.

Despite calls for a paperless society, printers are still an essential piece of office equipment for every company. Businesses need printers to produce contracts, estimates, reports, human resources forms and other documents. 

Although artificial intelligence, mobile capabilities and other forms of technology are rapidly changing, the tech behind printers is essentially unchanged. A typical printer setup involves a power cord that connects from the wall to the printer, and a USB cable that connects the printer to the computer. 

Setting up printers seems like it should be an easy task. However, one of the most requested IT service calls at CRS Technology Consultants is assistance with printers. That fact surprised the news team at ABC7 when CRS co-owner John Joyce visited for a recent Tech Bytes segment. 

“You would think it would be viruses, cybersecurity or slow internet speeds,” John said. “We’ve looked back through the years, decades at this point, and it’s printers.” 

One Challenge with Printers 

John noted the challenge with printers is not always about connecting cords and cables. Rather, it is the driver, which references software that enables a printer to communicate with the computer. 

“We unbox the printer and plug it in, and just expect it to work,” John said. “Sometimes, magically, it does.” 

As for the other times… that’s the challenge. Updating the operating system is a must. That not only protects a computer against viruses and helps it run smoothly, but it also contains important software updates. Those updates allow your computer to find the driver, and thus, find the printer. 

When Printers Fail 

At the turn of the century, many companies adopted “green” practices in the office. Recycling plastic bottles and paper products was a logical step. Many businesses, though, advised employees to think twice BEFORE they print. 

Today, employees are more prudent about what they choose to print. That practice carried over to the home, too. 

“When you sit down at your computer, that’s when you’re doing the most important work,” John said. “You’ve got boarding passes you have to print for a flight tomorrow or you’ve got to get a tax return in the mail by midnight… that’s when it’s not going to work. The one thing that never seems to work, especially when you need it to, is that printer.” 

Manufacturers and retailers continually discount the price of printers. There is a strategy behind those great sales. 

Why the Price of Printers has Dropped 

“You can go out and buy a printer today for $50,” John said. “To go buy toner or ink for that printer, it’s going to be even more expensive. They are likely taking a loss on that piece of hardware, or at best breaking even, because they want to get those dollars from you down the road.” 

Ink and toner cartridges provide a recurring revenue stream for manufacturers. That’s why, in many cases, printers are designed and engineered to only work with one specific type of ink or toner cartridge – the one made by the same company that manufactured your printer. 

John advises CRS’ partners to avoid looking for a bargain while shopping for a printer. 

“It may work great out of the box, but what is it going to work like six months down the road?” John said. “The cheapest option, especially in technology, is rarely the best.” 

The Future of Printers 

Printers will always have their place in the office and in the home. Rather than companies or individuals buying printers and ink, though, John envisions that printers will follow a similar path to copy machines and water coolers. With those items, businesses often pay a monthly fee to essentially lease the equipment, as well as cover upkeep. For printers, a contract could include ink refills, paper and maintenance. 

“They are looking for ways to sell you something, and then make iterative dollars from you over time,” John said. 

Manufacturers of printers, along with third-party providers specializing in printers, can promote subscription services in addition to traditional sales. This allows businesses to determine if they want to invest in a printer or take a pay-as-you-go approach. 


Would your business benefit from the expertise of a technology consultant? Contact us to schedule a consultation! Complete our online form, drop us an email, at info@CRSTC.com, or give us a call, 239-542-8450.