The High Cost of Printing Your Own Labels

by Maverick Label | July 13, 2020

You probably have an inexpensive inkjet printer in your office right now. You might think running labels through it can help you save money. There is, however, a hidden (and high) print cost to this. Printer manufacturers often sell these printers below cost, which sounds like a bad deal for them. It might, instead, be a bad deal for you.

Black Ink is One of the Top 10 Most Expensive Liquids

High cost of ink illustratedYou can get a brand new ink jet printer with great print quality for an incredibly low price. However, replacing the cartridges for that printer will cost you almost as much as the printer itself, and sometimes more.

Black inkjet ink is consistently rated as one of the most expensive liquids in the world, right up there with insulin and human blood. According to Consumer Reports, in 2018, you could buy 2,250 gallons of regular gas or 2,254 gallons of whole milk for the same price as one gallon of printer ink (at an average cost of $6,400).

A Sales Strategy

King C. Gillette, whose last name now adorns items in men's grooming kits around the world, stumbled upon the idea of the disposable razor when he was a traveling salesman in the late 1890s. His plan was to craft a razor handle of good quality, and to sell the handle at a small loss. Customers would love the handle, and buy replacement blades in order to keep using it. The blades could be sold at a profit to these customers, who returned on a regular basis.

This type of sales strategy became known as the "razor and blades" business model, and many companies have employed it. When Standard Oil wanted to move into China, they gave away 8 million kerosene lamps in order to create a market for their lamp oil. Apple didn't make much money from iPod sales; they profited when consumers bought music from iTunes. And, of course, there are the printer companies, whose use of this tactic is notorious.

Cut This High Print Cost

As business owners can quickly find out, when you print color labels and tags on a regular basis, the cost of ink can really add up. This makes a do-it-yourself solution only feasible when printing is done infrequently or uses little ink. You could save ink by printing at lower quality, but do you really want to do that for product labels or other items?

Identifying what you print over and over again on regular basis allows you to outsource those printing jobs. Need to find out how much you can save? There are a number of printing cost calculators available online. You might find out that it makes sense to order from a professional label printer rather than try to do it yourself.

Let Us Print the Expensive Part

In addition to fully printing custom labels, we also can help you reduce your label printing costs by partially printing your shipping, integrated, or product labels. We can print your logo, artwork, and other "static" information, and you save by only printing the addresses, ingredient list, or other variable data. Most of our product lines have low minimums, so you don't have to overstock your labels or worry about not being able to use them all.

And, of course, if you still want blank labels to print yourself, you can get those from us as well!