Calculating the Cost of Flex Printing

Flex printing is a popular choice for large-scale printing projects, but it's important to understand the true cost of flex printing before you commit. To get a clear idea of the total costs of your project, you need to consider the cost of equipment, supplies, and service. True printing costs also include the soft costs, such as employee burden rates and the equipment's useful life. Let's take a look at each of these factors and how they influence your overall cost.

Equipment Costs

The cost of getting the equipment can vary depending on whether you purchase it outright, lease it, or enter into a cost-per-page agreement. If you're leasing or entering into a cost-per-page agreement, make sure to read the fine print and understand all of the terms before signing.

Printer Running Costs

To roughly calculate the cost per page, divide the price of an ink or toner cartridge by the number of pages the manufacturer indicates it should cover. However, these numbers may be unrealistic. Printer manufacturers base their numbers on 5% of every printed page being covered in ink. The cost per page (CPP) is determined by dividing the cost of that printer cartridge by the page yield of the printer cartridge.

Paper Costs

Here's how to figure out how much each sheet of paper costs: Price per ream (500 sheets) divided by the number of sheets = cost per sheet. A ream of 20lb stock printer paper, which has 500 sheets, costs about $5.

Cost Per Print

To figure out the cost per black-and-white print, you only need to know how much the black toner cartridge costs. To figure out the cost per color print, use this formula: (Price per page for black cartridge + ((Price per page for color cartridge) x 3) + Paper cost = cost per page to print in color.

Inkjet Printing Costs

In general, inkjet printers have a higher average cost per page, which is about 20 cents for a colored print and 7.5 cents for a black-and-white print.

Service/Maintenance Costs

Service and maintenance costs can vary depending on whether you have a monthly service contract or a one-time maintenance fee. Taking care of printers can take a lot of time for a company, what with paper jams, connection problems, replacing toner, and everything else. Working with a print provider and installing real-time print tracking software on your network is the easiest way to figure out your cost per print.

Burden Rates

Burden rates are an important factor to consider when calculating your true printing costs. Burden rates refer to the time spent for employees to fix equipment, order supplies, schedule maintenance, etc. Gathering this information can take time, but it's important if you want to know how much you spend each month on printing.


Flex printing is an excellent choice for large-scale projects, but it's important to understand all of the costs associated with it before committing. By taking into account all of these factors - equipment costs, printer running costs, paper costs, service/maintenance costs, and burden rates - you can get an accurate picture of your true printing costs.

Eric Zaremski
Eric Zaremski

Incurable pop culture guru. Typical bacon evangelist. Hipster-friendly zombie enthusiast. General travel lover. Hardcore zombie guru.