Print & Copy Meters 101

Better understand what a print meter is and HOW it impacts your business.

What is a print meter and why it is important to understand copier impression rates?

If you’ve ever worked in an office, you’ve likely heard the term “print meter” before. But what exactly is a print or copy meter and why are they so important for budgeting managers to understand?

What is a print meter & why do they matter?

A print meter is a mechanism within your device that tracks the volume of paper and type of print made (mono or color). To make it easy, think of a meter as a turn-style at an amusement park. Each person (or in this case, piece of paper) that passes through is counted, so management can understand volume.

However, it is important to understand that the METHOD a meter uses to count can fluctuate by brand, model and application.

For instance, color prints are often more costly to run then a mono print. Additionally, the SIZE of paper being utilized can also influence the meter. For instance an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, printed single sided may count as a unit of one (1). However, if duplexed, the document would now report as a unit of two, due to passing twice in the device to apply toner to both sides.

Now, if that SAME job was ran on XL paper sizes, such as 12×18, the device may record the single sided pass as TWO impressions. This is why when working with your print provider, it is important to ask the following questions:

1) What is the MONO (black only) impression rate?
2) What is the COLOR impression rate?
3) What is the max paper dimensions for a single impression?
4) Is there a base (or included number) of mono & color impressions built into my monthly payment?
5) What is the overage rate, per copy, for mono & color prints?

By asking and understanding these targeted question, you will then be able to arm yourself to calculate a total cost of ownership and create contingencies for overages.


Why is a print strategy and meters important for your team to manage?

Since meters are financial in nature, it’s important for small business owners and financial mangers to understand HOW impressions are made and the rate that EACH style is billed. Once the perimeters of the contract are clear, your team can take steps to ensure everyone stays within budget.


What can my organization do to mitigate surprise overages and reduce general waste?

This is a common goal for many small businesses in 2019 and Integrity One is here to help! To monitor and reduce fluctuations in print expenses, as well as to improve data security, our team recommend organizations implement the Xerox’s Secure Print Feature. 

A standard feature on most Xerox devices, the implementation of this program simply requires the user to enter a pin number BEFORE a job will print. This not only helps to mitigate overages, but it also improves security  by not allowing documents to sit on the output tray for prying eyes.

Finally, Xerox’s Secure Print also acts as a waste filter for organizations, helping to you avoid overage fees. It works a a filter, because end-users don’t typically release documents that are obsolete or no longer needed. This results in less paper waste and can positively impact your operations budget.

Learn more about the security and reduced waste advantages of pin-released printing here.


What is an estimated meter and why is it important for our team to report meters on time?

The answer to this can vary with provider. However, with Integrity One, meters may be estimated if current data cannot be obtained. In this situation, our billing team works to review your account and makes an educated guess as to what your current meter is, based on previous use.

The danger with estimated meters is that they can quickly become a run away train if stacked on top of each other without verification. Additionally, they use PAST data to predict CURRENT use, which is not always accurate.

That is why the best way to avoid billing errors and fluctuating print expenses is by having someone on your team responsible for turning in the meters either monthly, quarterly or annually. This keeps the organization on track AND removes room for error that comes with meter estimations.


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