You’re finally ready to take the plunge. To outsource the headache of looking after printers and buying ink cartridges in bulk. Of managing the paper flow and spending your lunch hour analyzing and assessing the monthly print budget. You’re ready for a managed print service to make all that hassle go away so you can focus on business.

But how do you choose the right managed print service? With multiple managed print companies offering a variety of services, how do you know which one is right for you and your company?

To help make the decision a little easier, we’ve come up with a useful list of services you can expect from a Managed Print Service (MPS).

Your relationship should start with a print audit

A print audit is a fantastic way to figure out precisely what printing services your business needs. It’s also a great way to gently test your potential partners. Think about it: Have you ever sat down and figured out exactly how much you spend on printing – and printing-related goods and services- per week, per month, per employee or per department?

You probably have a good idea about the overall cost, but what about when you’re busiest? Which departments print most in your organization? What is your busiest time of year? How often are there errors or duplicates?

A great Managed Print Service will take a forensic approach to your company’s printing needs. Their team will help you figure out the answers to the questions above. You’ll discover who does most of the printing, how much it all costs and what you can do to become more efficient. Plus, the MPS team will come up with a budget-friendly solution that fits your use patterns. Look for a company that asks a lot of questions and offers a custom solution.

A top-tier MPS will not skimp out on educating your team

An a-class MPS will be able to reduce your printing costs by ensuring that you get the best price per page. But they shouldn’t stop there. A top-tier Managed Print Service will also help you address the root cause behind high printing costs: waste.

Employee education is a huge factor in cost savings in any area of your company. This is especially true when it comes to looking after your printers. A great MPS will help you come up with a management plan that helps make the most of your new service and limits errors.

Look for a Managed Print Service that’s passionate about your employees and not just your equipment. Ask about their employee training programs and how they implement new strategies with your staff. Your bank account and your team will be glad that you did.

What’s the repair schedule like?

A great Managed Print Service should offer excellent technical support. While equipment maintenance and repair are typically standard services, not every MPS provides the same services.

While we doubt that an MPS will leave you high and dry with defective equipment, it’s worth asking everyone on your shortlist about their service lifecycle. Ask them when they choose to replace a unit rather than repair it and how long replacements usually take.

You want printers that you don’t have to worry about, so make sure whoever you choose to look after your company takes your printing equipment as seriously as you do.

How transparent are they when it comes to cost and service quality?

Some of the top best companies in the world can stumble when faced with this critical hurdle. It doesn’t matter how good the product is if your MPS team isn’t clear about what things cost and why. Your business is transparent with your customers, so you need an MPS that’s transparent with you; otherwise, calculating on-going costs becomes an administrative nightmare.

Pricing is an essential consideration, and it should be a big part of who you consider to partner with when it comes to your printing needs. If the price is unclear – if it’s based on a convoluted equation that changes every month – there’s a good chance the deal will shortly turn into a disaster.

Make sure you work with a company that’s upfront with pricing and gives you real answers about the actual costs involved in a managed print service.

Choose a compatible partner

Compatibility is one of the last things to look for in a partner firm because it is so difficult to define. You might not even know if a service is compatible with your company until they’ve run an audit and created a proposal.

Business compatibility isn’t a nice to have – it’s essential. A Managed Print Service should work well with what you already have without needing much additional investment, but compatibility goes beyond that. How well your MPS works with you and your team is just as important as how well your tech stack fits with the hardware.

A company can be transparent, cost-friendly, and have excellent training programs for your team. But if they aren’t getting through to your organization or don’t line up with how you want to do business, then they may not be the best fit.

The key to compatibility is communication. If you don’t ask for what you want from a service partner, you’re unlikely to get what you need. So come up with a list of questions and go through them during the proposal phase.

Talk to a provider

Hopefully, this guide has given you a few key points to consider when selecting an MPS. Cost is a significant factor. So is reliability and consistency when it comes to fees and service. These factors can help you determine if a managed printer service is the wrong fit for your business. If you’re ready to take the next step, the best way to find the right solution for you is to talk to an MPS provider and see for yourself.