Cost of service on a copier

One of the most common questions we get in our industry is “How much does service cost for my copier?” Talk about a loaded question!

There are so many variables involved in having a Service Contract or Equipment Maintenance Agreement (EMA) that there is no definitive answer. When discussing EMAs for copiers, also known as Multi-Functional Printers (MFPs) or Multi-Functional Devices (MFDs), there is no “one size fits all” service plan.

What is an Equipment Maintenance Agreement?

To start, let’s look at what an Equipment Maintenance Agreement covers when referring to MFPs and printers. A typical EMA includes labor, parts, travel and toner. Additional supplies such as staples and paper are rarely covered and will increase your monthly cost if you choose to add them to your contract.

There are some important terms to note when dealing with an EMA:

  • Cost Per Page – the charge rate per page (single-sided) that comes out of the machine
  • Base – a pre-determined number of pages you pay for each month or quarter
  • Overage – the number of pages printed/copied in excess of the base

For a full list of copier terms visit our blog covering print industry terms.

What will your cost per page be?

The cost of an EMA is based on the cost per page rate. There are three main criteria that affect cost per page:


One of the biggest determining factors in EMA cost is the volume of pages you produce. Obviously, the more pages you print/copy, the higher your total cost is going to be. However, monthly volume affects the rate you are paying per page. The more pages you run, the lower your cost per page is going to be.

For example, if you produce over 40,000 pages per month, your cost per page for black & white pages can drop down to fractions of a penny.


Another factor to consider when discussing EMA pricing is the speed of your device. Generally, the faster your copier is, the lower your cost per page is going to be. A machine designed for higher speeds is also designed for higher volume. In this case, the parts and supplies for the machine are going to have a much higher yield and their costs will be spread out over many more thousands of pages.

B&W versus Color

The third factor that plays into your cost per page is whether you are printing/copying black & white (B&W) pages or color pages. B&W pages will have a different cost per page than color pages. If your machine has the capability to print B&W and color, you will have a separate charge for each type.

The cost per page will be much higher for color pages. Color pages can be anywhere in the range of 1 cent ($ 0.01) per copy up to 20 cents ($0.20) per copy.

Overall Cost of Service

So, what will your cost of service be? Well, it all depends. Every situation is unique when it comes to the cost of Equipment Maintenance Agreements. A small, private-owned business might spend $400.00 per year for an EMA, whereas a large nationwide company could spend over $10,000 a month.

The best way to get your actual cost of service is to contact your local service provider and ask them to perform a full assessment of your printing and copying needs.

Advanced Imaging Solutions can offer you a free print assessment to discuss what your cost for service would be. Contact us to schedule your free assessment.