How Color Coverage Can Empty Your Wallet (If You’re Not Careful)

What is color coverage? Most people don’t really understand what coverage is or how it’s calculated, but they understand how it affects their bottom line. However, copier reps tend to keep you in the dark about this very important topic. This article will help you clear up what color coverage is, how it’s calculated, and how it directly impacts your monthly bill.

What Is Color Coverage?

Color coverage, in its most basic form, is the amount of color toner that covers a page. However, with the way that color coverage is calculated, the highest percentage doesn’t come out to 100%. Instead, the maximum percentage is 380%.

Every color copier has four cartridges, each with a different color: black, cyan, magenta, and yellow. Each of these cartridges can cover 95% of a page.

If you have a page that you cover in all black, you would have 95% color coverage. However, if you print a page that’s orange, the copier would calculate the color coverage as 160%, since the copier is mixing colors from two cartridges (magenta and yellow) to make that color.

How Does Color Coverage Affect Your Monthly Copier Bill?

Most contracts will have a provision in them that state that you can only have a monthly historical average of 20% color coverage. If you go over this percentage, the leasing company will charge you for the extra toner you used.

Also, remember that 20% color coverage doesn’t mean 20% of the page is covered; it means that 5% of each cartridge covers the page making a total of 20% coverage. Forgetting this can cause your monthly bill to jump up by hundreds of dollars.

Follow These Steps to Put More Money Back in Your Pocket.

Follow these four steps to keep your leasing company from overcharging you in regards to color coverage:

  1. Get rid of the provision that limits you to 20% color coverage. If you end up allowing this provision to stay in your contract, make sure you keep your historical averages under 5% for black and white prints and 20% for your color prints.
  2. Compile a test print file your copier rep can run. Once that file is printed, get an analytics tool to get an accurate assessment as to how much color coverage is on that page.
  3. If you do have to print high color coverage prints, run those prints through an inexpensive printer.
  4. If you run tabloid sheets, realize that they are twice the size of normal sheets. You will need to cut your coverage percentage in half (which usually comes to 10%) to stay under the 20% coverage limit.

Color prints are already quite pricey, and going over your color coverage can empty your wallet quickly. If you follow these steps, you will save up to thousands of dollars over the life of  your copier lease.