Printers for Startups: Should You Make the Investment?

3 November 2016
 Categories: Business, Articles

The hardest decisions for startups usually involve spending: Should you sink money into something that may not have the immediate payoff your new business needs? Are you better off waiting until profits start flowing before you commit funding in even the more crucial elements of the business? These difficult decisions could mean the difference between surviving your first year in business or not, though, so they must be handled with caution. Printers are one example of having to choose between spending now and reaping the benefits or holding off on the expense as long as possible in order to facilitate other areas of business operations.

Here's a brief analysis of owning a printer versus using a service that should help you reach a conclusion with this one aspect of your startup.


Money is a huge factor for startups, and unfortunately, money is also a major reason for failure with budding companies. Despite the fact that your business needs a printer, deciding whether you can absorb the cost as a startup is a major question. Since you want to minimize spending while your company is in its infancy, using a print service in the meantime may be wise; you might also consider different purchase options, such as leasing or getting a gently used printer.

Estimate your average usage for an in-house printer and compare it to the cost of using a print service, at least for the first year. Using a print service could also give you a good idea of the exact type of machine that will best service your startup, including optional features that give your presentations and documents the professional edge you're looking for.


Because you are a startup, time could be your most valuable asset, especially if you're still hanging onto your 9–5 job as you launch the new business. While owning a printer and having it at the ready in your office could be a considerable time-saver, if you're not a whiz on the machine, hammering out a job yourself could actually consume more time than a visit to a print shop. Preparing documents or any kind of special presentation requires a basic finesse with the printer. Otherwise, you're likely to go through the trial-and-error process a few times before coming up with perfectly polished professional results.

If you plan on buying a printer for your startup, spend time looking at the various models and making sure you or your staff can make quick and efficient use of it. If the machine is going to tie you up for hours on end, consider using a print service, with which you can order what you want and have it completed in short order.


Any new printer you buy for your business should come with a warranty, meaning that if it breaks down, it won't cost you anything to repair it; however, if you're unable to put the printer back in working order within a reasonable amount of time, that could prevent you from producing the documents you need immediately. Many modern printers are smooth operators that don't typically get caught up in paper jams and other mishaps that their older counterparts may have been prone to, but you and your startup staff are still going to need to keep the printer up and running.

Ask yourself if your company has the ability to maintain a printer, considering how frequently it will be used. Printing services have in-house repair personnel and multiple printers to avoid downtime in production.

Foreseeing problems is one way to avoid them, and that's a key component to the long-term success of your startup. Weigh the benefits of purchase or leasing a printer versus having a service take care of your printing needs for right now. One major bonus for your decision-making dilemma as a startup is that if you decide to opt for using a service for the time being, you'll avail yourself to a lot of beneficial information about printers and the process and then be able to move on to ownership with a lot more confidence when the time is right to make that commitment.

Look at companies such as Lafayette Business Machines Inc to learn more.