When you own or manage a business, one of the worst things that can happen is experiencing downtime in the office. Whether it is because of a power outage, computer crash, or malfunctioning printers, it puts the brakes on every aspect of work. During these downtimes, your competition is still working, still producing, and satisfying customers. This impacts your brand negatively.

You would think with all of the many advances made in technology, there would never be a downtime – that everything would just continue on seamlessly, but there are some realities, thus far, that not even technology can change. However, you can curtail problems by being proactive and solving problems before they have a chance to advance. This is especially true with printer downtime. Printer downtime does not only include the time when the printer malfunctions, but involves such issues like running out of toner or ink, paper jams, cartridge installation, and printer maintenance. All of these tasks take time and that equals time when your business is not at optimum efficiency. When printers are out of commission, even temporarily, it results in these 3 problems:

Employee downtime

You will lose a certain amount of employee labor when your printer is down, for whatever reason. Either you take employees away from the job they were working on to tend to the printer, or if that was their job, then they must tend to the printer rather than doing actual printing. Printer downtime may affect multiple employees while they attempt to solve the issue and printing must be halted for a time. As a manager, you know how important it is to have your employees working at all times.

This is also bad for morale. If you’re trying to have an engaged workforce, malfunctioning and inefficient equipment can be a detriment to their motivation.


The cost of downtime involves many factors. How many employees were slowed down because of the issue? How long did the problem last? What was the extent of the problem? Not only will costs include the parts and labor to fix, maintain, or replace the printer or its parts, but there are costs associated with employees not working. In Business Information Solutions, we read how the cost of employees not working for only a few minutes every day adds up to quite a bit!

A recent Bell and Howard report discovered that the majority of downtime incidents lasted two to six hours, and this was considered a low estimate. 13.04% reported more than 12 hours of downtime. This can have a drastic impact on operations. 54.17% of their respondents said they had had more than three incidents of downtime in the past 12 months.

Novitex highlights the costs well:

“Print and mail costs – materials, operations, consumables and more – easily reach 3% of total operating budgets for any given business, roughly the same amount of budget allotted to the entire IT department.

And of those costs, enterprises will spend 50% of its budget for print and mail on support initiatives, ironically enough, often performed by the IT department. As with operational costs, support is more than just maintenance. Calls to the help desk for printer jams, ‘out of toner’ messages and broken machines are adding to the cost of running these devices. Service calls for devices without a managed print service arrangement in place can easily cost more than $100 per call, when factoring in downtime for all employees involved in the fix, and the ones delayed in the first place.”

Customer dissatisfaction

Customers are the foundation of your business. If they are not satisfied with your product, speed, efficiency, and customer service, then your revenue decreases. Another result of customer dissatisfaction is a negative brand image, which could mean the loss of return customers. Customers expect service and efficiency to be top-rate. If your printer downtime is slowing your response time to customers, then you must take steps to curtail that.