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From the Trenches: Printing in Today?s Home and Small Offices
February 27, 2016
At Castle Ink, we have had a lot of success in using HARO to solicit sources for our various stories. While the many experts we interview as part of our Expert Interviews series provide great insights and information as to what is going on in printing from their perspective, it is only one half of the equation. Thus, back to HARO it was for us to get a report on how people are actually using printers in their homes, home offices, and small businesses. In this first segment of the series, we focus on the small/micro office environments.
One thing that was somewhat surprising was the low volume of printing that some offices reported. Granted, we had a small group of respondents, but high volume printing was certainly not part of their average work week. Another important thing to note here is that for our quotes and the data we gathered, it was from those that self-identified as being part of a small business or office. At any rate, according to Rob Bruin, owner of PopNet Media in Huntsville, AL, between himself and the people in his office they are printing only what they need, which averages roughly about 20 pages per week. Likewise, Cathy Tibbles, founder and owner of WordPress Barista, typically prints as little as 2-5 pages each week, and no more than 20 pages in a month. Both Mr. Bruin and Ms. Tibbles agreed, and what accounts for such low volumes, is printing only what they need to file or sign.
Tibbles states, "I only print things that I want to a) display or b) file" Similarly, between the larger number of people at Bruin’s PopNet Media, he says , "We usually only like to print things that we need to sign and need to give to another party. Others would be worksheets that we use for meetings. "
Not surprisingly, another key technology of importance to users in home office environments is the convenience of wireless printing. As with other technologies that have developed over the years, people expect them to align with their needs and behaviors. Providing access to a printer from almost anywhere is critical, and a primary factor for Bruin who, when asked about their use of wireless connectivity, states, "Wi-Fi is a must. Typically there are around 8-10 people connecting to the printer."
Another factor ever on the minds of printer owners, the cost of consumables, also appears to play a role in the minds of home office users. Cathy Tibbles reported that when consider ink, the number one factor for her and her business is not the cost of the ink, but the overall value. Because of this, she opts for high-capacity, non-OEM brands she purchases online. This, combined with her desire to go as paperless as possible allows her to run a more eco-friendly business. Similarly, one of the factors influencing printing for Mr. Boirun and PopNet Media is the overall cost per page (after the ability to network and share a printer).
As we move forward in the series, we will also take a look at the needs of other small offices/business, so please check back in to get further reports from the trenches of printing.