The Battle of Efficiency: Unveiling the True Costs of Managed Print Services and In-House Printing

Are you tired of dealing with the never-ending costs and headaches of managing your company’s printing needs? If so, you’re not alone. Many businesses are faced with the decision of whether to outsource their printing needs to a managed print service provider or handle everything in-house. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of both options and delve into the true cost of the “do-it-yourself” approach.

Managed print services (MPS) have gained popularity in recent years as a cost-effective and efficient solution for businesses of all sizes. By partnering with an MPS provider, companies can offload the burden of managing their printing infrastructure, supplies, and maintenance. This allows them to focus on their core business activities while benefiting from streamlined processes, reduced costs, and improved productivity.

Key Takeaways:

1. Managed Print offers convenience and cost savings: By outsourcing print management to a professional service provider, businesses can reduce the burden on their internal resources and achieve significant cost savings. Managed Print providers handle everything from printer maintenance to supply replenishment, ensuring smooth operations and freeing up valuable time for employees.

2. In-house printing provides greater control but comes with hidden costs: While in-house printing allows for more control over the printing process, it often involves hidden costs that can add up quickly. These include the expenses of printer maintenance, supplies, and the time spent by employees on troubleshooting and managing print-related issues.

3. The true cost of “DIY” extends beyond hardware and supplies: Many businesses underestimate the true cost of managing their print infrastructure in-house. In addition to the cost of printers and supplies, they must consider the expenses associated with IT support, training, and the potential for productivity loss due to print-related downtime.

4. Managed Print offers scalability and flexibility: As businesses grow or experience fluctuations in printing needs, Managed Print services can easily adapt to these changes. Providers offer flexible plans that can be adjusted to accommodate varying print volumes, ensuring that businesses only pay for the services they actually need.

5. In-house printing can lead to security risks and compliance challenges: Maintaining the security of sensitive information is crucial for businesses. In-house printing may pose security risks, such as unauthorized access to confidential documents or unsecured printer networks. Managed Print providers have robust security measures in place to protect sensitive data and ensure compliance with industry regulations.

The True Cost of “DIY” Printing

One of the most controversial aspects of the debate between managed print services and in-house printing is the true cost of “DIY” printing. While it may initially seem like a cost-effective option, there are several hidden expenses that need to be considered.

Firstly, there is the cost of maintaining and repairing in-house printing equipment. Printers and copiers require regular maintenance and occasional repairs, which can be quite costly. Additionally, if a printer breaks down and needs to be replaced, the expense can quickly add up.

Furthermore, there is the cost of supplies such as ink and paper. In-house printing often leads to wasteful practices, with employees printing unnecessary documents or using excessive amounts of ink and paper. These costs can go unnoticed but can significantly impact the overall budget.

Another factor to consider is the time and effort spent by employees on printing-related tasks. In-house printing requires someone to manage the equipment, troubleshoot issues, and order supplies. This takes valuable time away from their primary responsibilities and can affect productivity.

On the other hand, managed print services offer a fixed monthly fee that covers all printing costs, including equipment maintenance, repairs, and supplies. This predictable cost structure allows businesses to budget more effectively and eliminates the worry of unexpected expenses.

Security and Data Privacy Concerns

Security and data privacy are significant concerns in today’s digital age, and they also come into play when considering managed print services versus in-house printing.

With in-house printing, businesses have more control over their sensitive documents. They can implement security measures such as restricted access to printers, secure printing options, and document encryption. This level of control can provide peace of mind, especially for companies dealing with highly confidential information.

However, managing security in-house can be challenging and time-consuming. It requires ongoing monitoring, updates to security protocols, and employee training to ensure compliance. Any lapses in security can lead to data breaches, which can be detrimental to a company’s reputation and result in legal consequences.

Managed print services, on the other hand, specialize in secure printing solutions. They have robust security measures in place, including encrypted data transmission and storage, secure print release, and document tracking. These services are often compliant with industry regulations, providing an added layer of protection for sensitive information.

While outsourcing printing to a third-party provider may raise concerns about data privacy, reputable managed print service providers prioritize data security and have stringent protocols in place to safeguard confidential information.

Flexibility and Customization

Another controversial aspect of the managed print versus in-house printing debate is the level of flexibility and customization offered by each option.

In-house printing allows businesses to have complete control over their printing processes. They can customize print settings, choose specific paper types, and have immediate access to printed documents. This level of control can be beneficial for companies with unique printing requirements or those that need quick turnaround times.

However, in-house printing may lack the scalability needed for growing businesses. As printing needs increase, additional equipment and supplies may be required, leading to higher costs and increased maintenance. This can be a significant drawback for companies experiencing rapid expansion.

Managed print services, on the other hand, offer scalability and flexibility. They can adapt to changing printing needs and provide customized solutions to meet specific requirements. With access to a wide range of printing equipment and technologies, managed print service providers can offer more advanced printing capabilities that may not be feasible for in-house printing.

However, some businesses may feel that outsourcing their printing needs limits their control and ability to make immediate changes. They may prefer the hands-on approach of in-house printing, even if it means sacrificing some flexibility and customization options.

Ultimately, the decision between managed print services and in-house printing depends on a company’s unique needs, budget, and priorities. Both options have their pros and cons, and it is crucial for businesses to carefully evaluate these controversial aspects before making a choice.

Section 1: What is Managed Print?

Managed Print is a comprehensive solution offered by third-party providers that takes care of all aspects of a company’s printing infrastructure. This includes managing and optimizing the fleet of printers, providing regular maintenance and repairs, supplying consumables like ink and toner, and monitoring usage and costs. With Managed Print, companies can outsource the entire print management process, allowing them to focus on their core business activities.

Section 2: The Benefits of Managed Print

One of the key advantages of Managed Print is cost savings. By outsourcing print management, companies can reduce their overall printing costs significantly. Managed Print providers analyze print usage patterns and suggest strategies to optimize printing, such as implementing duplex printing or setting print quotas. This leads to reduced paper and ink consumption, resulting in lower expenses.

Another benefit is improved efficiency. Managed Print providers ensure that printers are functioning optimally, reducing downtime and increasing productivity. They also handle maintenance and repairs promptly, minimizing disruptions in the workflow. Additionally, Managed Print solutions often include software that streamlines print workflows and enables secure printing, further enhancing efficiency.

Section 3: Potential Drawbacks of Managed Print

While Managed Print offers numerous advantages, it may not be suitable for every organization. One potential drawback is the loss of control. By outsourcing print management, companies relinquish direct control over their printing infrastructure. This can be a concern for organizations that require strict control over their printing processes, such as those handling sensitive or confidential information.

Another consideration is the reliance on a third-party provider. If the Managed Print provider experiences any issues or disruptions, it can impact the company’s printing capabilities. It is crucial to choose a reputable provider with a track record of reliable service to mitigate this risk.

Section 4: In-House Printing: Pros and Cons

Many companies opt to handle their printing needs in-house, believing it offers greater control and cost savings. While this approach has its advantages, it also comes with its own set of challenges.

One benefit of in-house printing is direct control over the printing process. Companies can customize their printing workflows, prioritize tasks, and make immediate adjustments as needed. This level of control can be particularly valuable for organizations with unique printing requirements.

However, in-house printing can be costly. Companies need to invest in printers, maintenance, and supplies, which can add up to significant expenses. Additionally, managing the printing infrastructure internally requires dedicated resources and expertise, diverting attention from core business activities.

Section 5: The True Cost of “DIY” Printing

When considering in-house printing, it is essential to evaluate the true cost beyond the initial investment. While the upfront expenses may seem lower, hidden costs can quickly accumulate.

Firstly, there are ongoing maintenance and repair costs. Printers require regular servicing, and if not properly maintained, they can break down, leading to costly repairs or replacements. In contrast, Managed Print providers include maintenance and repairs as part of their service, reducing these unexpected expenses.

Secondly, there is the cost of supplies. In-house printing requires companies to purchase ink, toner, and paper regularly. Managed Print providers, on the other hand, often offer cost-effective supply plans, ensuring a steady supply of consumables at competitive prices.

Lastly, there is the issue of waste. Inefficient in-house printing can result in excessive paper and ink usage. Managed Print providers specialize in optimizing printing workflows, reducing waste, and promoting sustainability, which can lead to significant cost savings in the long run.

Section 6: Case Study: Company X’s Transition to Managed Print

Company X, a medium-sized manufacturing firm, recently made the switch from in-house printing to Managed Print. Prior to the transition, they faced several challenges, including high printing costs, frequent breakdowns, and inconsistent print quality.

After implementing Managed Print, Company X experienced significant improvements. Their printing costs decreased by 30% within the first year due to optimized print workflows and reduced waste. The Managed Print provider also ensured regular maintenance, resulting in fewer printer breakdowns and increased uptime. Moreover, the improved print quality enhanced the company’s professional image.

Section 7: Factors to Consider when Choosing between Managed Print and In-House

When deciding between Managed Print and in-house printing, several factors should be considered:

  • Printing volume: Companies with high printing volumes may benefit more from Managed Print due to economies of scale.
  • Printing requirements: Organizations with unique or specialized printing needs may prefer in-house printing for greater customization.
  • Control and security: Companies handling sensitive information may prioritize in-house printing to maintain strict control over their print processes.
  • Resource availability: In-house printing requires dedicated resources and expertise, which may not be feasible for all organizations.
  • Cost analysis: It is crucial to evaluate the true cost of in-house printing, including ongoing maintenance, supplies, and waste, to make an informed decision.

Managed Print and in-house printing both have their merits and drawbacks. While Managed Print offers cost savings, improved efficiency, and hassle-free maintenance, it requires relinquishing control and relying on a third-party provider. In-house printing provides greater customization and control but can be costly and time-consuming to manage. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on a company’s specific needs, printing volume, and available resources.

Print Management Software

One of the key aspects to consider when comparing managed print services (MPS) and in-house print management is the software used to control and monitor print activities. Managed print services typically come with advanced print management software that provides comprehensive visibility and control over the entire print environment.

This software allows organizations to track print volumes, monitor printer usage, and identify cost-saving opportunities. It can generate detailed reports on print usage, enabling businesses to make data-driven decisions to optimize their print infrastructure.

In contrast, in-house print management often relies on basic printer drivers and built-in monitoring tools provided by the printer manufacturer. While these tools can provide some level of control, they lack the advanced features and analytics offered by dedicated print management software.

Cost Analysis and Predictability

Another critical factor to consider is the cost analysis and predictability offered by managed print services versus in-house print management.

With managed print services, organizations typically pay a fixed monthly fee based on their print volume and requirements. This predictable cost structure allows businesses to budget more effectively and eliminates unexpected expenses associated with printer maintenance, supplies, and repairs.

In contrast, in-house print management often involves separate costs for printer hardware, maintenance, supplies, and repairs. These costs can vary significantly depending on factors such as printer usage, consumables replacement, and unexpected breakdowns. This lack of cost predictability can make it challenging for organizations to accurately budget for their print-related expenses.

Printer Fleet Optimization

Managed print services excel in optimizing printer fleets to improve efficiency and reduce costs. MPS providers conduct a thorough assessment of an organization’s print infrastructure and recommend the most suitable devices based on their requirements.

By consolidating and right-sizing the printer fleet, businesses can eliminate underutilized devices and replace them with more efficient and cost-effective alternatives. This optimization can lead to significant cost savings in terms of energy consumption, supplies, and maintenance.

In-house print management often lacks the expertise and resources to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the printer fleet. As a result, organizations may end up with an inefficient and costly mix of printers that do not align with their actual needs.

Security and Compliance

Security and compliance are critical considerations when it comes to print management. Managed print services offer robust security features to protect sensitive information and ensure compliance with industry regulations.

These services often include features such as secure print release, user authentication, and encrypted transmission of print jobs. They also provide audit trails and activity logs to track and monitor print activities, reducing the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches.

In-house print management may lack the same level of security features and compliance measures. Printer drivers and basic monitoring tools may not offer the necessary encryption or user authentication capabilities, leaving organizations vulnerable to security threats and compliance violations.

Service and Support

Lastly, the level of service and support provided by managed print services and in-house print management can significantly differ.

Managed print services typically come with dedicated support teams that handle printer maintenance, repairs, and supplies replenishment. These teams ensure that printers are always functioning optimally, reducing downtime and productivity loss.

In contrast, in-house print management often relies on internal IT resources to handle printer-related issues. This can divert IT staff from other critical tasks and may not provide the same level of expertise and response time as dedicated support teams.

When comparing managed print services and in-house print management, it becomes evident that managed print services offer several advantages in terms of software capabilities, cost predictability, printer fleet optimization, security, and support. While in-house print management may be suitable for smaller organizations with minimal print requirements, larger businesses can benefit greatly from the comprehensive solutions and expertise provided by managed print services.

Case Study 1: Company A’s Costly In-House Printing Solution

In an effort to reduce printing costs and maintain control over their print environment, Company A decided to handle their printing needs in-house. They invested in high-quality printers, hired a dedicated print team, and purchased all the necessary supplies. Initially, this seemed like a cost-effective solution, but they soon realized the hidden costs and inefficiencies.

Firstly, the upfront investment in printers and supplies was substantial, putting a strain on their budget. Additionally, the ongoing maintenance and repair costs added up quickly. Company A also faced challenges in managing their print fleet, as multiple printers required different supplies and troubleshooting. This led to wasted time and increased frustration for their employees.

Furthermore, the lack of centralized control made it difficult to track printing usage and costs accurately. Without proper monitoring, employees often printed unnecessary documents, resulting in excessive paper waste and increased expenses. The in-house print team struggled to implement cost-saving measures, as they lacked the expertise and tools to analyze print data effectively.

Overall, Company A’s decision to handle printing in-house resulted in higher costs, increased complexity, and a lack of visibility into their printing environment.

Case Study 2: Company B’s Streamlined Managed Print Solution

Contrasting with Company A, Company B opted for a managed print solution to address their printing needs. By partnering with a managed print services provider, they were able to streamline their print environment and achieve significant cost savings.

The managed print services provider assessed Company B’s printing requirements and implemented a fleet of high-quality, efficient printers strategically placed throughout their office. This reduced the need for multiple devices and ensured that employees had easy access to printing resources.

Additionally, the provider implemented print management software that allowed Company B to monitor and control their printing usage effectively. Through detailed reporting and analytics, they gained insights into their print habits, enabling them to identify areas for improvement and implement cost-saving measures. With the provider’s expertise, they were able to optimize their print environment, reducing unnecessary printing and paper waste.

The managed print services provider also took care of maintenance, repairs, and supplies, eliminating the burden from Company B’s IT department. This freed up their IT staff to focus on more strategic initiatives, improving overall efficiency and productivity.

By partnering with a managed print services provider, Company B not only achieved cost savings but also gained better control, increased visibility, and improved productivity in their print environment.

Case Study 3: Company C’s Hybrid Approach for Optimal Results

Company C recognized the benefits of both in-house printing and managed print services and decided to adopt a hybrid approach. They strategically allocated their printing needs based on cost-effectiveness and efficiency.

For high-volume and critical printing requirements, such as marketing materials and legal documents, Company C invested in high-quality printers and an in-house print team. This allowed them to have full control over these crucial print jobs, ensuring quality and confidentiality.

However, for routine printing needs like internal documents and general office use, they relied on a managed print services provider. This allowed them to leverage the provider’s expertise, technology, and cost-saving measures while reducing the burden on their IT staff.

By adopting a hybrid approach, Company C achieved a balance between cost control, quality, and convenience. They were able to optimize their print environment to suit their specific needs while minimizing costs and maximizing efficiency.

Overall, Company C’s hybrid approach showcases the flexibility and customization options available when considering both in-house printing and managed print services.


1. What is managed print?

Managed print refers to the outsourcing of print management to a third-party provider. This provider takes care of all aspects of the print environment, including printer maintenance, supplies management, and document workflow optimization.

2. What are the advantages of managed print?

Managed print offers several benefits, such as cost savings, improved efficiency, and reduced environmental impact. By outsourcing print management, organizations can save on printing costs, streamline their print processes, and free up internal resources for other important tasks.

3. How does managed print help reduce costs?

Managed print providers analyze print usage and implement strategies to reduce unnecessary printing. They also negotiate better pricing for supplies and maintenance contracts, resulting in significant cost savings over time.

4. What are the disadvantages of managed print?

One potential disadvantage of managed print is the loss of control over the print environment. Some organizations may prefer to have full control over their printing infrastructure, including the choice of equipment and software.

5. What is in-house printing?

In-house printing refers to the practice of managing all printing needs internally, without outsourcing to a managed print provider. This involves purchasing and maintaining printers, managing supplies, and handling print-related issues.

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

In-house printing provides organizations with greater control over their print environment. It allows for customization and flexibility in choosing printers, software, and supplies that best suit their specific needs. It can also be more cost-effective for organizations with low print volumes.

7. How does in-house printing impact costs?

In-house printing can be cost-effective for organizations with low print volumes, as they can avoid monthly service fees associated with managed print. However, it is important to consider the hidden costs of in-house printing, such as maintenance, supplies, and the time spent managing the print environment.

8. What are the challenges of in-house printing?

In-house printing can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. Organizations need to invest in printer maintenance, supplies management, and troubleshooting. Additionally, they may face challenges in optimizing print workflows and ensuring security and compliance.

9. How do I determine which option is best for my organization?

The decision between managed print and in-house printing depends on various factors, such as print volume, budget, and the need for control. Conduct a thorough analysis of your organization’s print environment, including current costs and pain points, to make an informed decision.

10. What is the true cost of “DIY” printing?

The true cost of in-house printing goes beyond the initial investment in printers. It includes ongoing maintenance, supplies, and the time spent managing the print environment. Organizations often underestimate these costs, which can add up significantly over time.

Common Misconception 1: 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. Many businesses believe that by handling their printing needs internally, they can save money on outsourcing costs. However, this assumption fails to consider the true cost of “DIY” printing.

When businesses handle printing in-house, they often overlook the hidden expenses associated with it. These costs include equipment maintenance, repairs, and upgrades, as well as the need to hire and train staff to manage the printing infrastructure. Additionally, businesses must account for the cost of supplies such as ink, toner, and paper, which can quickly add up.

On the other hand, managed print services offer a more cost-effective solution. Providers of managed print services have the expertise and resources to optimize printing infrastructure, reduce waste, and streamline workflows. By leveraging their economies of scale, they can negotiate better pricing for equipment, supplies, and maintenance contracts, resulting in significant cost savings for businesses.

Furthermore, managed print services typically operate on a pay-per-page model, where businesses only pay for the actual printing they do. This eliminates the need for upfront investments in equipment and allows businesses to accurately budget their printing expenses. In contrast, in-house printing often involves high upfront costs for purchasing or leasing equipment, which can be a strain on a business’s finances.

Common Misconception 2: In-House Printing Offers More Control and Security

Another misconception is that in-house printing provides businesses with greater control over their printing processes and enhances document security. While it is true that in-house printing allows for immediate access to printed materials, it does not necessarily equate to better control or security.

When businesses handle printing internally, they may face challenges in managing and monitoring print volumes, usage patterns, and costs. Without proper oversight, printing can become inefficient and wasteful, leading to unnecessary expenses. In contrast, managed print services provide businesses with comprehensive print management software that enables them to monitor and control printing activities effectively. This software can track usage, set print quotas, and implement rules to reduce unnecessary printing, ultimately leading to cost savings.

Moreover, managed print services offer enhanced document security compared to in-house printing. Providers of managed print services employ advanced security measures such as secure print release, user authentication, and data encryption to protect sensitive information. They also ensure compliance with industry regulations, such as HIPAA or GDPR, which may be challenging for businesses to achieve on their own.

Common Misconception 3: Managed Print Services Lack Flexibility and Customization

Many businesses mistakenly believe that managed print services lack flexibility and customization options. They fear that by outsourcing their printing needs, they will lose control over design choices, print quality, and other personalized requirements.

This misconception is far from the truth. Managed print service providers understand that businesses have unique printing needs and requirements. They work closely with their clients to tailor solutions that align with their specific goals and preferences.

Managed print services offer a wide range of customization options, including choices in print quality, paper types, finishing options, and more. Providers can also integrate with existing software systems, allowing seamless integration with business processes and workflows.

Furthermore, managed print services provide businesses with the flexibility to scale their printing infrastructure as needed. Whether a business experiences growth or downsizing, a managed print service can adapt to changing demands quickly. This scalability ensures that businesses can efficiently manage their printing needs without the burden of investing in additional equipment or dealing with excess capacity.

The misconceptions surrounding managed print services versus in-house printing can hinder businesses from making informed decisions. By understanding the true cost, control and security benefits, and flexibility offered by managed print services, businesses can make strategic choices that optimize their printing operations and ultimately save costs.

Concept 1: Managed Print Services

Managed Print Services (MPS) is a concept where a company hires an external provider to take care of all their printing needs. This includes things like managing the printers, ordering supplies, and handling repairs. The provider charges a fee for these services, usually based on the number of pages printed.

Concept 2: In-House Printing

In-house printing, on the other hand, means that a company handles all its printing needs internally. They purchase the printers, ink or toner cartridges, paper, and other supplies themselves. They are also responsible for maintaining and repairing the printers when needed.

Concept 3: Pros and Cons

Both managed print services and in-house printing have their pros and cons. Let’s take a look at each:

Pros of Managed Print Services

1. Cost Savings: MPS providers often have better deals with suppliers, allowing them to purchase supplies at a lower cost. They can pass on these savings to their clients, resulting in lower printing costs for the company.

2. Efficiency: By outsourcing print management, companies can free up their internal resources and focus on their core business activities. The MPS provider takes care of all the printing-related tasks, ensuring smooth operations and minimizing downtime.

3. Expertise: Managed print service providers are specialists in their field. They have the knowledge and experience to optimize printing processes, reduce waste, and improve efficiency. They can also provide valuable insights and recommendations to help companies make informed decisions.

Cons of Managed Print Services

1. Loss of Control: When a company relies on an external provider, they may have less control over the printing process. They might not have direct access to the printers or be able to make immediate changes or adjustments as needed.

2. Dependency: Companies that opt for managed print services become dependent on the provider for their printing needs. If there are any issues or delays in service, it can impact the company’s operations and productivity.

3. Cost: While managed print services can save costs in some areas, there is also a fee associated with hiring an external provider. Companies need to carefully evaluate the cost-benefit ratio to determine if it is financially viable for them.

Pros of In-House Printing

1. Control: With in-house printing, companies have full control over the printing process. They can make immediate changes, prioritize certain print jobs, and have direct access to the printers and supplies.

2. Flexibility: In-house printing allows for greater flexibility in terms of printing schedules and priorities. Companies can adjust their printing needs based on their specific requirements and deadlines.

3. Confidentiality: Some companies deal with sensitive or confidential information that they prefer to keep in-house. By handling printing internally, they can ensure the security and confidentiality of their documents.

Cons of In-House Printing

1. Higher Costs: In-house printing can be more expensive due to the upfront costs of purchasing printers, supplies, and maintenance. Companies also need to consider the ongoing costs of ink or toner cartridges and paper.

2. Maintenance and Repairs: When printers break down, companies are responsible for the repairs or replacements. This can result in additional costs and potential downtime if the printer is out of service.

3. Time and Resources: Managing printing internally requires time and resources from the company’s staff. They need to handle tasks like ordering supplies, troubleshooting printer issues, and maintaining inventory.


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 advantages and disadvantages. In-house printing offers greater control and customization, allowing businesses to tailor their printing processes to their specific needs. However, it comes with higher upfront costs, ongoing maintenance expenses, and the burden of managing the entire print infrastructure. On the other hand, managed print services provide businesses with cost savings, increased efficiency, and access to the latest technology. While relinquishing control may be a concern for some, the convenience, expertise, and support offered by managed print providers make it a compelling option.

Furthermore, the true cost of “DIY” printing extends beyond monetary considerations. In-house printing requires significant time and resources, diverting valuable manpower away from core business activities. Additionally, the environmental impact of in-house printing, including energy consumption and waste generation, cannot be ignored. Managed print services, with their focus on sustainability and waste reduction, offer a more environmentally friendly solution. Ultimately, the decision between managed print and in-house printing depends on the unique needs and priorities of each business. It is essential for organizations to carefully evaluate their requirements, weigh the pros and cons, and consider the long-term implications before making a choice.