The Battle of Efficiency: Exploring the Pros, Cons, and Hidden Costs of Managed Print vs. In-House Solutions

Are you tired of dealing with printer malfunctions, running out of ink at the most inconvenient times, and constantly managing your office’s printing needs? If so, you’re not alone. Many businesses face these challenges every day, and they often wonder if there’s a better way to handle their printing needs. That’s where managed print services come in. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of managed print services versus in-house printing, and uncover the true cost of the “do-it-yourself” approach.

Managed print services (MPS) have become increasingly popular in recent years as businesses seek to streamline their printing processes and reduce costs. With MPS, a third-party provider takes over the management of your company’s printing infrastructure, including printers, copiers, and supplies. They monitor usage, provide regular maintenance, and ensure that your office always has the necessary supplies on hand. On the other hand, in-house printing involves handling all printing needs internally, from purchasing printers and supplies to managing maintenance and troubleshooting. While this approach gives businesses more control over their printing processes, it also comes with its own set of challenges and costs. In this article, we’ll compare the benefits and drawbacks of both options, and dive into the hidden costs that may make the “do-it-yourself” approach less cost-effective than it initially seems.

Key Takeaway 1: Managed Print offers cost savings and efficiency

One of the main advantages of opting for a Managed Print service is the potential cost savings it can bring. By outsourcing print management to a specialized provider, businesses can reduce their printing costs significantly. Additionally, Managed Print services can streamline print workflows, improve document security, and provide proactive maintenance, leading to increased efficiency and productivity.

Key Takeaway 2: In-House printing provides more control but comes with hidden costs

While managing printing in-house may provide businesses with more control over their print operations, it often comes with hidden costs. These costs include the need to invest in expensive printing equipment, maintenance, supplies, and dedicated staff. Additionally, businesses may face challenges in keeping up with technological advancements and managing complex print networks.

Key Takeaway 3: DIY printing can lead to higher long-term costs

Opting for a DIY approach to printing may seem cost-effective initially, but it can result in higher long-term costs. Businesses may underestimate the expenses associated with printer maintenance, repairs, and supplies. Moreover, the time spent by employees on print-related tasks can take away from their core responsibilities, impacting overall productivity.

Key Takeaway 4: Managed Print offers scalability and flexibility

Managed Print services can adapt to the changing needs of businesses, providing scalability and flexibility. As businesses grow or downsize, a Managed Print provider can adjust the print infrastructure accordingly, ensuring optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness. This scalability also extends to technology upgrades and advancements, allowing businesses to stay up-to-date without incurring additional expenses.

Key Takeaway 5: Consider the true cost of “DIY” printing

Before deciding between Managed Print and in-house printing, businesses should carefully consider the true cost of the DIY approach. This includes evaluating the expenses of equipment, supplies, maintenance, staff, and productivity loss. By conducting a thorough cost analysis, businesses can make an informed decision that aligns with their budget and goals.

The Rise of Managed Print Services

Managed print services (MPS) have been gaining popularity in recent years as businesses look for more efficient and cost-effective ways to manage their printing needs. MPS providers offer comprehensive print management solutions, taking care of everything from printer maintenance to supply replenishment. This trend is driven by several key factors.

Firstly, businesses are realizing the hidden costs associated with in-house printing. Maintaining a fleet of printers requires regular maintenance, troubleshooting, and supply management, all of which can be time-consuming and costly. By outsourcing print management to MPS providers, businesses can reduce their administrative burden and focus on core competencies.

Secondly, MPS providers leverage their expertise to optimize print infrastructure and workflows. They conduct thorough assessments to identify areas of improvement, such as consolidating printers, implementing print policies, and reducing waste. These measures not only improve efficiency but also contribute to sustainability goals, as fewer resources are consumed.

Lastly, the rise of remote work and the need for flexible printing solutions have further fueled the demand for managed print services. MPS providers offer cloud-based printing solutions that enable employees to print securely from any location, eliminating the need for VPNs or complex network setups. This flexibility is particularly valuable in today’s hybrid work environments.

Implications for the Future

The future of managed print services looks promising, with several implications for businesses and the print industry as a whole. Firstly, as businesses continue to prioritize cost savings and efficiency, the adoption of MPS is expected to increase. According to a report by Quocirca, the MPS market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.4% between 2021 and 2026.

Furthermore, advancements in technology, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), will further enhance the capabilities of MPS providers. IoT-enabled printers can automatically order supplies when they are running low or alert technicians when maintenance is required. AI algorithms can analyze printing patterns to identify opportunities for optimization and suggest cost-saving measures.

Another future implication is the integration of MPS with digital transformation initiatives. As businesses increasingly digitize their processes, MPS providers are expanding their offerings to include document management solutions, workflow automation, and cloud-based storage. This integration allows for seamless collaboration, improved data security, and enhanced productivity.

The Appeal of In-House Printing

While managed print services offer compelling benefits, in-house printing still has its appeal for certain businesses. In-house printing refers to the practice of purchasing and maintaining printers within the organization, with employees taking care of print management tasks.

One of the main advantages of in-house printing is greater control and customization. Businesses can choose the specific printers and supplies that best suit their needs, ensuring compatibility with existing systems and workflows. This level of control is particularly important for industries with specific printing requirements, such as graphic design or engineering.

In-house printing also offers immediate access to printing capabilities. There is no reliance on external providers, which can be advantageous in situations where quick turnaround times are essential. Additionally, businesses with sensitive data may prefer to keep printing activities in-house to maintain tighter control over security.

However, in-house printing comes with its own set of challenges and costs. Businesses must invest in printer hardware, supplies, and maintenance, which can be expensive, especially for larger organizations. The responsibility of managing printers falls on employees, taking time away from their primary tasks and potentially leading to inefficiencies.

Implications for the Future

Looking ahead, the future of in-house printing will likely depend on the specific needs and priorities of businesses. While MPS is gaining traction, some organizations may still find value in maintaining in-house printing capabilities.

One potential future trend is the hybrid approach, where businesses combine elements of both managed print services and in-house printing. This approach allows businesses to leverage the expertise of MPS providers for complex print management tasks while maintaining control over certain aspects, such as specialized printing requirements or sensitive data.

Another future implication is the increasing integration of in-house printing with digital workflows. As businesses continue to digitize their processes, in-house printers can be seamlessly connected to document management systems, enabling automated printing and streamlined workflows. This integration can enhance productivity and reduce manual errors.

Furthermore, advancements in printer technology, such as faster printing speeds and improved print quality, may continue to make in-house printing a viable option for businesses that require high volumes or specialized printing capabilities.

The True Cost of “DIY” Printing

When comparing managed print services and in-house printing, it is essential to consider the true cost of the “do-it-yourself” (DIY) approach. While it may seem cost-effective initially, DIY printing can incur hidden expenses that businesses often overlook.

Firstly, DIY printing involves purchasing and maintaining printer hardware, which can be a significant upfront investment. Additionally, businesses must budget for ongoing supply costs, including ink or toner cartridges, paper, and other consumables. Over time, these expenses can add up, especially for organizations with high printing volumes.

Secondly, the time spent by employees managing printers and troubleshooting issues can have a significant impact on productivity. When employees are responsible for print management tasks, they are diverted from their core responsibilities, leading to potential inefficiencies and decreased overall output.

Moreover, DIY printing can result in higher energy consumption and environmental impact. Older printers may not be as energy-efficient as newer models, leading to increased electricity costs. Inefficient print workflows and lack of print policies can also contribute to unnecessary waste and resource consumption.

Implications for the Future

As businesses become more aware of the true cost of DIY printing, the trend towards managed print services is likely to continue. The comprehensive print management solutions offered by MPS providers can help businesses reduce costs, improve efficiency, and minimize environmental impact.

In the future, businesses may prioritize sustainability and environmental responsibility when choosing print management solutions. MPS providers can play a crucial role in helping organizations achieve their sustainability goals by implementing print policies, reducing waste, and offering eco-friendly alternatives, such as recycled paper and energy-efficient printers.

Furthermore, the ongoing advancements in MPS technology, such as cloud-based printing and AI-powered optimization, will further enhance the value proposition of managed print services. Businesses will increasingly see MPS as a strategic investment that not only saves costs but also improves productivity, security, and sustainability.

Section 1: The Basics of Managed Print Services

Managed Print Services (MPS) is a comprehensive solution offered by third-party providers to manage an organization’s printing infrastructure. This involves assessing the current print environment, optimizing it for efficiency, and providing ongoing support and maintenance. MPS providers typically offer services such as device management, supplies replenishment, proactive maintenance, and cost tracking.

Section 2: Benefits of Managed Print Services

One of the key advantages of MPS is cost savings. By outsourcing the management of print devices, companies can reduce their printing expenses significantly. MPS providers can help optimize the print environment, eliminate unnecessary devices, and implement print policies that reduce waste. This leads to lower supply costs, reduced energy consumption, and improved overall efficiency.

Another benefit is improved productivity. MPS providers ensure that devices are always operational and well-maintained, minimizing downtime. They also offer remote monitoring and proactive maintenance, which helps identify and resolve issues before they impact productivity. This allows employees to focus on their core tasks instead of dealing with printer-related problems.

MPS also provides enhanced security. With the increasing number of cyber threats, it is crucial to protect sensitive information. MPS providers implement security measures such as user authentication, data encryption, and secure printing. They also help organizations comply with industry regulations and maintain data privacy.

Section 3: Drawbacks of Managed Print Services

While there are many advantages to MPS, it is essential to consider the potential drawbacks. One common concern is the loss of control. By outsourcing print management, organizations may feel that they have less control over their print environment. However, reputable MPS providers work closely with clients to understand their needs and ensure that the service aligns with their goals.

Another drawback is the reliance on a third-party provider. If there are any issues with the MPS provider, it could impact the organization’s print operations. Therefore, it is crucial to choose a reliable and experienced provider with a proven track record.

Section 4: In-House Printing: The DIY Approach

In-house printing refers to the practice of managing the print environment internally, without the involvement of third-party providers. This approach gives organizations full control over their print infrastructure, allowing them to make decisions based on their specific needs and preferences.

With in-house printing, organizations have the flexibility to choose their own devices, supplies, and maintenance schedules. They can also customize printing policies to align with their workflows and security requirements. Additionally, in-house printing allows for immediate response to any issues or changes, as there is no reliance on external providers.

Section 5: The Hidden Costs of In-House Printing

While in-house printing may seem cost-effective at first glance, there are hidden costs that organizations often overlook. One of these costs is the burden on IT resources. Managing a print environment requires IT staff to handle device setup, maintenance, and troubleshooting. This diverts their attention from other critical tasks and can result in increased operational costs.

Another hidden cost is the lack of visibility into print usage and expenses. Without proper tracking and reporting tools, it becomes challenging to monitor print volumes, identify cost-saving opportunities, and allocate expenses accurately. This can lead to unnecessary waste and inflated printing costs.

In-house printing also requires organizations to invest in hardware, software, and supplies. These upfront costs can be significant, especially for larger organizations with multiple locations. Additionally, ongoing maintenance and repairs can add to the overall expenses.

Section 6: Case Study: Cost Comparison

To illustrate the true cost of “DIY” printing, let’s consider a case study. Company A decided to manage their print environment in-house, while Company B opted for a managed print services solution.

After six months, Company A realized that their printing costs were much higher than expected. They had to invest in additional devices, deal with frequent breakdowns, and struggle with supply management. On the other hand, Company B enjoyed predictable monthly costs, reduced waste, and improved productivity. The cost comparison clearly demonstrated the advantages of managed print services.

Section 7: Making the Decision: Managed Print vs. In-House

When deciding between managed print services and in-house printing, organizations should consider their specific needs, budget, and resources. It is essential to evaluate the long-term costs, benefits, and risks associated with each option. Consulting with MPS providers and conducting a thorough cost analysis can help make an informed decision.

The decision between managed print services and in-house printing is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each approach has its own pros and cons, and organizations must carefully assess their unique requirements. By considering factors such as cost, control, productivity, and security, organizations can make an informed decision that aligns with their goals and ultimately leads to a more efficient and cost-effective print environment.

The Rise of In-House Printing

In the early days of printing, businesses relied heavily on in-house printing. This was primarily due to the limited availability of professional printing services and the high costs associated with outsourcing. In-house printing allowed companies to have greater control over their printing needs and timelines.

During this time, the main focus was on acquiring and maintaining printing equipment, such as printers, copiers, and fax machines. Companies had dedicated staff members who were responsible for managing the printing process, including maintenance, supply ordering, and troubleshooting.

The Emergence of Managed Print Services

As technology advanced and the demand for printing increased, businesses started to realize the limitations of in-house printing. The costs associated with equipment maintenance, supplies, and staffing began to outweigh the benefits of control.

This led to the emergence of managed print services (MPS), where businesses outsourced their printing needs to specialized providers. MPS providers offered a range of services, including equipment leasing, supply management, maintenance, and document workflow optimization.

The adoption of MPS allowed businesses to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and focus on their core competencies. It also provided access to the latest printing technologies and expertise, which were often too expensive for individual companies to invest in.

The Pros and Cons of In-House Printing

Despite the rise of MPS, many businesses still choose to maintain in-house printing capabilities. There are several reasons for this, including:

Control:In-house printing allows businesses to have full control over their printing process, from design to production. This can be especially important for companies that require strict quality control or have unique printing requirements.

Confidentiality:Some businesses deal with sensitive information that cannot be entrusted to third-party providers. In-house printing provides an added layer of security and confidentiality.

Immediate access:In-house printing allows businesses to have immediate access to printing capabilities, without relying on external providers or facing potential delays.

However, there are also drawbacks to in-house printing, including:

Costs:In-house printing requires significant upfront investment in equipment, supplies, and staff. Ongoing maintenance and supply costs can also add up over time.

Technology limitations:With the rapid advancement of printing technologies, in-house printing may struggle to keep up with the latest innovations. This can result in outdated equipment and subpar print quality.

The True Cost of “DIY” Printing

When comparing the costs of in-house printing to managed print services, it is essential to consider the true cost of “DIY” printing. While in-house printing may seem cost-effective on the surface, there are hidden expenses that businesses often overlook.

These hidden costs include:

Equipment depreciation:Printing equipment depreciates over time and requires regular upgrades to maintain optimal performance. The cost of replacing outdated equipment can be substantial.

Supply waste:In-house printing often leads to excessive supply waste, as businesses tend to order more supplies than necessary to avoid running out. This can result in unnecessary expenses and environmental impact.

Staffing costs:In-house printing requires dedicated staff members to manage the printing process, including maintenance, troubleshooting, and supply management. The salaries and benefits of these employees should be factored into the overall cost.

Downtime and productivity loss:In-house printing can result in downtime due to equipment failures or maintenance needs. This can disrupt workflow and lead to productivity loss, impacting the bottom line.

The Evolution to the Current State

Over time, the printing landscape has continued to evolve. Managed print services have become more sophisticated, offering advanced document management solutions, cloud-based printing, and mobile printing capabilities.

Businesses are increasingly recognizing the benefits of outsourcing their printing needs to managed print service providers. The cost savings, improved efficiency, and access to cutting-edge technologies have made MPS an attractive option for many organizations.

However, in-house printing still holds its ground in certain industries and scenarios. Businesses with unique printing requirements or strict confidentiality needs may prefer to maintain control over their printing process.

Ultimately, the decision between managed print services and in-house printing depends on the specific needs and priorities of each business. It is crucial for organizations to carefully evaluate the pros and cons, as well as the true cost, before making a decision.


1. What is Managed Print?

Managed Print is a service offered by third-party providers that oversees all aspects of a company’s printing needs. This includes monitoring and managing the printing devices, supplies, maintenance, and support.

2. What does “DIY” refer to in this context?

“DIY” stands for “Do-It-Yourself” and refers to handling all printing needs in-house, without the assistance of a Managed Print service provider.

3. What are the pros of Managed Print?

The pros of Managed Print include:

  • Cost savings: Managed Print can help reduce printing costs by optimizing device usage and streamlining supply management.
  • Increased productivity: With Managed Print, employees can focus on core tasks instead of dealing with printer issues or supply replenishment.
  • Expert support: Managed Print providers offer technical expertise and quick resolution of printing problems.
  • Environmental sustainability: Managed Print promotes eco-friendly practices by optimizing printing resources and reducing waste.

4. What are the cons of Managed Print?

Some potential cons of Managed Print include:

  • Dependency on a third-party provider: Companies relying on Managed Print need to ensure the provider offers reliable and responsive service.
  • Less control: With Managed Print, companies may have limited control over certain aspects, such as the choice of printing devices or software.
  • Potential for additional costs: While Managed Print can save money, there may be additional costs associated with the service itself.

5. What are the pros of in-house printing?

The pros of in-house printing include:

  • Greater control: Companies have full control over all aspects of their printing operations, including device selection and customization.
  • Flexibility: In-house printing allows for immediate adjustments and changes to printing requirements without relying on external providers.
  • Potential cost savings: Depending on the volume and nature of printing needs, in-house printing may be more cost-effective for some organizations.

6. What are the cons of in-house printing?

The cons of in-house printing include:

  • Higher upfront costs: Setting up an in-house printing infrastructure can require significant investment in equipment, software, and maintenance.
  • Increased workload: In-house printing places additional responsibilities on employees, requiring them to manage supplies, troubleshoot issues, and handle maintenance.
  • Limited expertise: Without dedicated printing specialists, companies may struggle to optimize printing processes and troubleshoot complex problems.
  • Environmental impact: In-house printing may contribute to higher energy consumption and waste generation if not managed efficiently.

7. How does the true cost of “DIY” compare to Managed Print?

The true cost of “DIY” printing is often higher than expected. While in-house printing may seem cost-effective initially, it often fails to account for hidden expenses such as maintenance, supplies, and employee time spent on printer-related tasks. Managed Print providers can help optimize printing processes, reduce waste, and negotiate better supply prices, ultimately leading to long-term cost savings.

8. Is Managed Print suitable for all types of businesses?

Managed Print can benefit businesses of all sizes, but the suitability may vary depending on specific needs. Small to medium-sized businesses, in particular, can benefit from Managed Print as it allows them to focus on core operations while leaving printing management to experts. Larger organizations with complex printing requirements may also find value in Managed Print’s ability to streamline processes and provide cost savings.

9. How can I choose the right Managed Print provider?

When selecting a Managed Print provider, consider factors such as their experience, reputation, customer reviews, and range of services offered. Evaluate their ability to meet your specific printing needs, their responsiveness to support requests, and their commitment to environmental sustainability. Requesting references and comparing multiple providers can help you make an informed decision.

10. Can I transition from in-house printing to Managed Print?

Absolutely! Transitioning from in-house printing to Managed Print is possible and can be a smooth process. Managed Print providers typically offer assistance in evaluating existing printing infrastructure, devising a transition plan, and implementing the necessary changes. They can help optimize printing operations, provide training to employees, and ensure a seamless transition to the new service.

Common Misconception: Managed Print is More Expensive Than In-House Printing

One of the most common misconceptions about managed print services is that they are more expensive than in-house printing. However, this is not necessarily true. While there are upfront costs associated with implementing a managed print solution, the long-term savings can often outweigh these initial expenses.

When considering the true cost of in-house printing, it is important to take into account not only the cost of the printers themselves but also the ongoing expenses of supplies, maintenance, and repairs. These costs can quickly add up, especially for businesses that rely heavily on printing. Managed print services, on the other hand, typically include all of these expenses in a fixed monthly fee, making it easier to budget and predict costs.

Additionally, managed print services can help optimize printing practices, reducing waste and unnecessary printing. This can lead to further cost savings by minimizing paper and ink usage. By analyzing printing habits and implementing print policies, managed print providers can help businesses streamline their printing processes and reduce unnecessary expenses.

It is also worth noting that managed print services often provide additional benefits beyond cost savings. These can include improved security measures, enhanced document management, and increased efficiency. By outsourcing print management to experts, businesses can focus on their core operations while leaving the printing needs in capable hands.

Common Misconception: In-House Printing Offers More Control

Another misconception about managed print services is that they limit control over printing processes. Some businesses believe that by keeping printing in-house, they have more control over the quality and timing of print jobs. However, this is not necessarily the case.

Managed print services can actually provide businesses with greater control and visibility over their printing activities. With advanced print management software, businesses can monitor and track printing usage, set print quotas, and implement print policies. This level of control can help businesses identify areas of inefficiency, reduce waste, and enforce printing guidelines.

Furthermore, managed print services often offer proactive monitoring and maintenance of printers. This means that any issues or malfunctions can be detected and resolved quickly, minimizing downtime and ensuring optimal printer performance. In contrast, in-house printing may require businesses to handle maintenance and repairs themselves, which can be time-consuming and costly.

By partnering with a managed print service provider, businesses can leverage their expertise and resources to optimize printing processes, improve control, and enhance overall efficiency.

Common Misconception: Managed Print is Only Suitable for Large Businesses

Many small and medium-sized businesses may assume that managed print services are only suitable for larger organizations. However, this is a misconception that can prevent smaller businesses from reaping the benefits of managed print.

In reality, managed print services can be tailored to meet the specific needs and budgets of businesses of all sizes. Whether a business has a single printer or a fleet of devices, a managed print service provider can assess the printing requirements and develop a customized solution.

For smaller businesses, managed print services can provide significant advantages. By outsourcing print management, these businesses can free up valuable time and resources that can be better utilized for core business activities. Additionally, managed print services can help smaller businesses improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance document security.

Furthermore, managed print services often offer scalability, allowing businesses to easily adjust their printing infrastructure as their needs change. This flexibility can be particularly beneficial for growing small businesses that may experience fluctuations in printing demand.

Ultimately, the size of a business should not be a deterrent to considering managed print services. By exploring the options available and partnering with the right provider, businesses of all sizes can benefit from the cost savings, control, and efficiency offered by managed print solutions.


After examining the pros, cons, and the true cost of “DIY” in the managed print vs. in-house debate, it is clear that both options have their merits and drawbacks. In-house printing provides organizations with a sense of control and customization, allowing them to tailor their printing processes to their specific needs. However, it also comes with significant hidden costs, including maintenance, supplies, and the risk of obsolescence.

On the other hand, managed print services offer numerous benefits, such as cost savings, improved efficiency, and reduced environmental impact. By outsourcing their printing needs to experts, organizations can focus on their core competencies while enjoying the advantages of a streamlined and optimized print environment. However, it is crucial for businesses to carefully evaluate potential providers and ensure they align with their goals and requirements.

The decision between managed print and in-house printing ultimately depends on the unique circumstances and priorities of each organization. While in-house printing may be suitable for small businesses with minimal printing needs, larger enterprises can benefit greatly from the expertise and cost savings offered by managed print services. By thoroughly assessing the pros, cons, and true cost of “DIY,” organizations can make an informed choice that aligns with their long-term objectives and maximizes their printing efficiency.