Return on investment



This article is a bit longer than our usual, but we want to make sure you get a complete understanding, as well as an accurate estimate on your return on investment (ROI).

Wide format printers are considered to have the fastest return on investment than any other office machines. To help figure out how long it would take to get your ROI, you’ll have to figure out some calculations first. If you run into any terms you are unclear about or need more elaboration, use this article as a resource or contact your local authorized wide format printer dealer. Let’s get started!





Selling Price Per Square Foot:

Regardless of buying a wide format printer or not, you still need your prints to be produced. This selling price per square foot is what you would be paying if you were to outsource your prints and have it done by a print shop.

Pricing may be different depending on where you live, so to get a better idea of how much each print is worth, call around to local print shops to get pricing like a regular customer would.


Hours Printing Per day
These calculations may require more work to figure out. You can easily locate the speed by looking at the specification section for your wide format printer.

Most manufacturers offers the fastest print speeds possible. So, if you’re looking to get a more accurate number of how long it would take for the machines to print jobs related to your business, you will have to time the start to end production process.

Also, if you are just going to use the manufacturer’s quoted print speed, it is important to keep in mind, that it was calculated using the entire print area. If you are printing a two-foot-wide job on a 4-foot-wide printer, your optimization is going to be 50% of the quoted speed.


Work Days Per Month
Will your wide format printer be running a full work day or just partial days? Will production continue on weekends? How about holidays?

Calculate the hours per day your machine will actually be running to get a better idea of the days in the month your printer will be working. Keeping your printer busy near maximum capacity is generally a good thing. That means you are utilizing it efficiently, and getting a faster return on investment.


Print Speed
When it comes to wide format printers, print speed is calculated in square feet per hour. This will be determined by how fast you can print without sacrificing quality. Speeds may vary, depending on what type of print jobs your business will need to perform.

Production mode will get you faster speeds, compared to quality mode, such as fine art, will slow down production time to ensure quality in details. It is important to consider the entire workflow to determine the actual maximum speed.


Chargeable/Wastage Ratio
This ratio is the percent of printed media that is usable, and is used to compensate for wastage from trimming, reprints, etc..


Total Printed Media Per Day
This is the gross square footage of printed material per day, which will include waste.


Monthly Gross Value
This is the amount your business could expect to save every month compared to outsourcing print jobs based on the estimated factors described and inserted above.





Media Cost Per Square Foot
The cost of your paper material will vary depending on the type that you purchase.  Other factors to consider would be the brand, size, where you purchased it from, etc.. Maybe one of your jobs will require a coated material, which may impact your overall cost.


Total Media Cost Per Month
This is the cost of paper material including waste, required to produce jobs per month.


Ink Cost Per Month
You will need to find out the typical milliliter per square foot of ink usage for the printer and multiply that by the square footage printed. Projects and jobs may change depending on the month, but getting a rough estimate would get you a better idea after calculations are computed.


UV Lamp Cost
This is only applicable for flatbed printers





Labor Rate Per Hour
This is the amount that you are paying someone to operate the wide-format printer per hour. These hours may not have to be constant time operating the machine and could just be minutes added up to accommodate for the amount of time that had to be utilized.


Labor Ratio
This is the total amount of man hours spend per one printing hour. This labor amount includes any additional time that was spend allocated to printing, such as preparing files, loading and unloading paper materials, etc..


Daily Additional Overhead
Overhead costs are additional expenses that are associated with having the printer, such as daily maintenance, the energy requirements to operate the machine, or the per-square-foot cost of your floor space. You can also include any building modification to accommodate having the machine in your office.

Don’t overlook routine maintenance such as periodic cleaning or replacement of the belt system when needed.


Monthly Labor Cost
This is the total cost of labor per month to have someone operate the machine on a day to day basis. Calculations should adjust based on the total amount of hours spend in the month.


Total Monthly Production Costs
The total monthly production cost is the combined monthly material and labor costs.


Gross Profit
This is the total amount of profit before deducting expenses.

Monthly Maintenance Payments
If you are on a maintenance contract to protect and maintain your wide format printer, this is the amount you pay per month. If you aren’t on one, I highly recommend you refer to our previous article, to learn why you should be on one.


Lease Payments
To keep this ROI simple, we recommend you leave this blank to determine just how many months before the Adjusted Monthly Gross Profit would cover the printer investment. Otherwise, this field could be used to factor in other fixed monthly expenses such as equipment leases or apportioned building leases, insurance, and so on to help determine what your remaining cash flow would be per month.



These are some of the basic terms used in calculating return on investment, if you would like help calculating your return on investment contact us @ 410-766-0200!