I received this question/comment from Dena:
Im considering buying a color laser printer from Dell but have also successfully used VistaPrint. However, I use a lot of flyers for promotional purposes and the cost at VistaPrint for those are expensive. What do you think the cost comparison is for a color laser printer versus using VistaPrint?
Dena, I'm glad to do some analysis on this question with ya. I see several components involved in this: Printer, Ink, Paper and the alternative (Vista Print or other printing source).
For brochure-quality prints, you would need something like this Dell Laser Color Printer that starts at $299. We have never printed anything that needed this level of quality, but that Dell color printer can do that. And, it prints up to 12 color pages a minute (which helps with my impatience).
You get the following cartridges with the new printer: Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. All are required to print at a high quality. If these were purchased new (and through Dell), the total of the four cartridges would be $195 (as a bundle). Dell states these cartridges will print 1,000 pages.
However, if you purchase remanufactured through 4inkjets.com the total price for the same four cartridges $64. These remanufactured cartridges will print up to 2,000. So, you are essentially getting double the prints with the remanufactured cartridge alone.
Total: $195 (for Dell cartridges) or $64 (for remanufactured cartridges)
I use remanufactured cartridges as I shared in Saving Money on Printer Ink.
It all depends on what type of paper you want to use. I would think for a brochure, you would want a Matte Card Stock. Staples has a pack of 250 sheets for $15. Higher grades would cost more, of course.
Total: $60 (for 1000 sheets)
That's always a factor in anything you do to save. If the printer can print 12 color copies in 1 minute, and you are looking at 1000 total brochures, that would take 84 minutes or about an hour and a half. Printing these yourself with your printer, ink and dealing with any printer jam issues are your time and that equates to some dollar figure. I constantly tell my DH I'm underpaid too. I'm still waiting on a pay raise :)
Total: add your rate in here
You can see that the total cost to purchase from Vista Print is $285. The initial cost for you to do your own brochures at home would be $360. That gives us a difference of $75 (minus the time cost).
If you go with purchasing the printer, you now have something you can use time and time again for other projects, as well. And, any future printing you would need to do would only require that you pay $124 (plus time cost) out of pocket to print those same brochures again. That would then be a savings of $164 over purchasing through Vista Prints again. Multiply that amount by as many as you print in a year. That's your true savings with this option.
I would say if this were something I would be doing on a consistent basis and I didn't mind doing a tri-fold of the brochure myself, I would get the printer and supplies. In the long run, you can save more money that way. In saying that, there is something about professionally printed documents that make a statement. Once you've seen a machine that will fold something for you, folding it yourself just doesn't seem as efficient, but I'm weird like that :) And, I worked in the paper industry for years where we had some mac daddy presses with folding capabilities.. and 3-hole punch capabilities…seriously, I was in Heaven!
That's my analysis for ya. I would say the same thing can be related to anything that you would want printed on a fast, high-quality color printer: business cards, labels, letterhead, cover letters. Don't forget that by shopping online you can further reduce that cost as you receive cash back. That makes me lean even more towards buying the printer, personally.
Readers: what do you think?
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