Calculate TCO in 4 Easy Steps

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The New Year is a time to consider your business and redefine your success. Part of this review is identifying costs in the office. Aside from finances, income, and profit, we ask that you consider the cost of your equipment as well. Have you heard of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)? This is an easy tool that can help you calculate the total cost of your printer.

With some help, CopyLady is breaking down the math into bite-sized pieces so you can easily manage your TCO.

1. Multiply # of Pages by Ownership Time

The first step is to multiply the number of pages your business prints per month, by the number of months you will own the machine. This should be calculated twice: First, for the total number of pages, with a second calculation solely for the number of color pages. For example, if your business prints 750 pages per month (ppm) for a contractual lease or ownership of 2 years (48 months) that results in 36,000 pages.

Second, you calculate the cost for color pages. Calculating the cost of color is to anticipate the extra cost of color. While every page uses black ink, not every piece you print will use color.

2. Subtract “In the Box”

The second step is to subtract the “In the Box” pages from the total lifetime pages. “In the box” pages refer to the pages that come with the machine. For example, if 2,000 pages come with the machine, you will subtract that with the 36,000 pages from above. This changers your total number of pages to 34,000.

3. Divide Pages by Toner Cartridges

Thirdly, divide the number of remaining pages by the replacement toner cartridges capacity. For example, if a black and white toner cartridge can print 5,000 pages, then you will divide this by the total number of pages (remember not to include “In the Box” pages).

Example: 34,000 ÷ 5,000 = 6.8

Round up the number to a whole number, as you cannot buy a portion of the cartridge.

When you determine the color cartridges, pay attention to the three toners; magenta, yellow and cyan (blue)—to produce color images.

4. Calculate Toner Cartridge Cost

Nearly done! The second to last calculation is determining the cost for the toner cartridges. This includes the rough estimate of the toner cartridge capacity. For example, a standard black cartridge costs $55, multiplied by 7 equals a total cost of $385. Calculate twice for black cartridges and color cartridges.

5. Time to Add

The time has come! Everyone’s favorite part of Elementary school math class; time to add everything up! Add the price of the printer, the cost of the toner, and don’t forget the warranty! All of this will equal the Total Cost of Ownership.


Math doesn’t have to be daunting. We’re here to help. If you have any questions about the future of your business, or are thinking of upgrading your current equipment, contact us!

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