Best Printer for Your Coworking Space: a Guide for Workspace Operators
What’s the best printer for a coworking space?
There are lots of choices, but the most important thing is to have a printer that is sturdy, intuitive and easy to operate.
A workspace community that generates a handful of prints each week will have different needs than one whose printer is in high demand every day. Generally, though, unless your needs are very small, be sure to purchase a commercial printer, not a home office model.
And yes, you do need a multifunction printer (MFP) that can scan, copy, fax and print in black and white and color. It needs to handle letter paper size (8.5 x 11 in), as well as legal paper size (8.5 x 14 in).
The Best Printer for Your Coworking Space
The best commercial printer for your space will have two essential features:
1. The ability to give each person a printer code so you know what they’ve printed. Members of your coworking space will use their code when they make a copy or scan . This code is also embedded when members download drivers so they don’t have to enter their printer code manually each time they print.
The code will also let you pull a usage history report for billing purposes to determine how many prints, scans or copies a member has made and whether they’re black and white or color.
2 – The printer needs to be dead easy to use, for anyone who walks up and needs prints, whether a member, a daypasser or a drop-in.
As a space operator, you can’t expect people to have to learn how to use the printer. They’re busy and on-the-move. They want to print, copy, fax or scan and get on with it.
Keep it Simple: Get a Workspace Printer that is Easy and Reliable
Most commercial printers have a customizable front panel. Simplify this as much as possible. You can get rid of all the extraneous stuff. Just display the basic functions: print, scan to email, copy, and maybe fax.
When there are too many buttons, it’s easy to overlook the basic functions. You don’t need “scan to workflow” or other confusing functions.
Printer Drivers and Updates
The biggest pain with a new printer in your coworking space is loading the drivers.
Deskworks workspace software, however, helps to simplify loading drivers. Operators simply put the driver links in the sidebar where members can grab them at any time. You can also put instructions in the sidebar under a “Member Resources” tab.
This also allows for easy driver updates for your staff and members, as operating systems and print drivers change. Just change the link to the drivers in the sidebar.
Printer Integrations for Coworking Spaces
To simplify printing for your team and members, you may want to use a cloud-based print server program, such as ezeep, which Deskworks is fully integrated with. When you create a new member in Deskworks, they can automatically be given permissions in ezeep—which means one less thing you have to do in onboarding.
This way, members don’t have to download drivers, they simply print directly to ezeep, or email their document to the print server. ezeep takes care of the rest. They can even print from home and have the document ready when they arrive.
Some printers have a print server built directly in, as Sharp does. Some of them, such as Kyocera, require an inexpensive stand-alone print server that you purchase separately.
Printer Billing Made Easy
With Deskworks, you map from the printer’s usage report to Deskworks billing, without leaving the program. You also map to your products and pricing in Deskworks, so the system knows how you want to charge and bill for prints and copies.
For example, you can set the rate at x amount for 100 copies, then y amount for any additional pages. You can charge different amounts for scans or faxes, and you can choose to give a number of free copies, prints or scans based on a membership plan.
It’s important to note that most cloud-based print server programs only count prints fromcomputers—not copies or scans made directly on the device. Deskworks lets you post both the report from the print server program (for prints) and the one directly from your MFP (for copies, scans and faxes), so you can capture all of the usage into our workspace management software
Printer for Coworking Daypass Users and Walk-ins
Giving people one-off access to a printer can be problematic.
The Satellite Centers workaround for this is to have daypass users and guests email their print job to the designated email address for the printer. They receive a code back by email, which they enter at the printer to retrieve their print job.
Choosing the Right Printer Model for Your Workspace
Deskworks founder and CEO Barbara Sprenger advises getting the least expensive commercial multifunction printer for most coworking applications. At the commercial tier, all the printers will have what you need. There’s no need to pay for all the bells and whistles when you simply need a sturdy printer that can copy, scan to email, print and perhaps fax.
Faxing is certainly becoming older technology, but we do find it used a lot in some of our locations. We also find it important to be able to print 11 x 17 jobs, which almost any of these MFPs can do.
The cheapest printers will be about 25 pages per minute. That’s fine in a coworking space. Don’t spend the money on 50 or 100 page per minute printers.
The printer should have two drawers for paper and be wifi enabled.
Don’t try to use a home office printer. It will cost you a fortune in toner and it’s not built to withstand the use it will be put through in a coworking space.
Leasing a Printer for Your Coworking Space
Lastly, when you buy a commercial printer, buy it on a five-year lease. Printer technology changes fast. You can get the lease down to about $100 per month.
Be sure to get a service plan. It’s expensive to have a technician come out as a one-off call.
Most printer providers will have you pay a flat amount for a mix of black and white and color, then pay for any overages. Your rate for this should be around one cent for black and white and 7-8 cents for color.
When you lease a printer, you keep it for five years. Once it’s paid off, you can do a one dollar buyout or a fair market buyout.
Then you get another one.
The Satellite Deskworks team is here to help you open and grow your coworking space.
Our workspace management software was created by space operators for space operators. We know what works and how to build a scalable, sustainable workspace business.