Veterinary IT Expert
April 14, 2021
If your veterinary practice is looking to purchase printer then before you begin to look at specific brands and models, we suggest you read this article.
The issue here is that often we find that when we begin to work with practices, that some of there issues are being caused by equipment they have purchased that simply just does not or cannot do the job they want it to. This is why it’s so important then when you are sourcing equipment that you really take the time to make the best decisions for what you need.
There is a lot more to buying a printer than just the price or whether or not it’s on special offer. As part of our team of Veterinary IT Experts we actually have people dedicated to ensure that you get the exact equipment that suits your specifics requirements, they then source, buy and install it for you – and trust us, it’s a full time job!
So, to save you time, money and a lot of frustration, I recently tracked down one of our IT experts and asked him for his top tips for vets who are looking at buying a printer for their practice. Here they are:
Do your research!
Don’t just opt for the first printer you see in the price bracket you want. It might sound obvious, but always take some time to look at the reviews for the printer or printers you are considering. This can give you some insight from others who have already purchased the printer and help you to understand how the printer functions with use. Another reason for doing this is that it is also a great way to highlight any common issues or faults that may develop over time.
Consider your Consumables
Through experience, one of the areas that many veterinary practices forget to consider is how much consumables will cost for a printer throughout its lifetime. Printers can be expensive pieces of equipment, so not only could you end up paying a chunk of money to purchase the actual printer, but you could also end up paying through the nose for compatible ink and toner. We’d suggest that you always review sites like Cartridge Save who will give you a breakdown of the cost per page for ink cartridges and toners as well as how many pages each cartridge or toner can produce.
It’s also worth noting here that printer consumables such as Toner and Inks can be a minefield. We always recommend using the original manufacturer consumables and not the temptingly priced non-branded consumables. If you do use the non-branded options then this can cause issues if you need to contact the manufacturer for support as most manufacturer's standard operating procedure is to blame non-branded consumables for most issues, so they don’t have to pay the costs of fixing the printer. A way of using the original manufacturer consumables and remaining cost effective is to sign up for Ink and Toner monthly subscription for example hp instant ink.
Understand the Support Included
As standard, most printers will have a warranty of one year, once past this time any repairs or faults that incur costs will be chargeable. In some cases we have seen, vets have been passed to a local repair center and not the vendor directly. Unfortunately, in many cases you will then be expected to ship or drop-off the printer at the repair center. This all adds up and often the cost of the repairs can be near the full value of the printer when it was first purchased! So, if you’ll be printing large volumes it might be worth considering a printer management contract. The contract would cover you for repairs and can also cover replacement consumables included as part of the contract. If this is something you are interested in, check out 1st Office who we use for our office printers.
Importance of Print Quality
The quality of print that you will require will depend on the printer’s function in your veterinary practice and the volume of prints you will require. As a quick rule of thumb, Laser printers will always provide the best quality prints but at a higher running cost whereas Inkjet printers will provide a decent quality print but at the fraction of the cost of the laser printer.
If you are looking at purchasing more than one printer for your practice, then it might be worth having a think about what you need each printer for. An example of this is that you might want a laser printer in the reception area if you are using it to produce materials for your clients, and having an Inkjet for the use of your office and accounts team who have no need of high quality prints. We can help guide you through making the correct choice for your practice if you wish.
Do the printers that you are considering have all the features you will require? These days, most printers come with Wi-Fi inbuilt, but it is always worth checking. It might be that you’ll require an ethernet or USB connection, which could be an issue when positioning the printer in its new home.
Multi-Function Centers (MFC – fax, printer, scanner, copier etc) and All-in-One printers will include scanning, but some models may have limited features. An example of this is that many are able to scan to folder or computer but have no option to scan to email which can be a useful and time saving feature. Additionally, if you use SharePoint or OneDrive in your practice, most printers do not have the ability to scan to these platforms, again adding another layer of inconvenience for the end user.
Our IT Expert also wanted me to mention Fax to you as well. Fax machines are old technology, and it’s rare that we come across a Veterinary Practice that still uses one, but they are out there. If your practice does still use an analogue fax feature we’re sorry to tell you that this is not a GDPR compliant method of communication any more. However, if Fax is still an important method of communication for your practice then you should know that this feature is being replaced with digital fax which is GDPR compliant but this would be an additional service and would not be included with the printer as standard.
When it comes to purchasing equipment for your Veterinary Practice, you will want to make sure that you are getting the most from your money, and that you are buying something that will last a long time. As with all things tech, the more thought and consideration you put into the process the better return you will get on your investment.
We hope that you have found this article helpful in your quest for a new practice printer, if you have any questions or would like some guidance then please do get in touch or book a consultation with one of our Veterinary IT Experts.