What is the true cost of the “free” Xerox printer?

August 5, 2010

The Xerox “Free” Color Printer program states that they will give a customer either a “Free” Xerox Phaser 8560 DN Printer or a Xerox Phaser 8560 MFP/D IF they will do the following:

They must buy the supplies, and maintenance kits (at a higher price) for their “Free” Xerox Printer from http://www.freexeroxprinter.xerox.com and if they fall below the monthly minimum of 2,000 color pages (for the 8560 DN Printer) or 3,500 color pages (for the 8560 MFP/D) they will have to pay a “under usage fee” of $100/ month for the Printer or $200/month for the MFP\D. This is a 3 year agreement that includes service.

The Xerox web site where customers must buy their supplies states that the cost for a color page is “about 9 cents”  http://www.freecolorprinters.xerox.com/free-color-printer-supplies.jsp but when you divide the # of pages into the cost of the suppliesit comes out to be around 12 cents.

According to http://www.office.xerox.com/latest/SUPGL-01.pdf on page 4 it says that the ink coverage is “just below 5%”. While I understand that every manufacturer has traditionally used a 5 – 6% coverage for comparison purposes, we also know that the industry standard for color coverage on a typical page is 21%. Using these figures we can determine the TRUE cost of Xerox’s Free Printer.

The true monthly cost of a Xerox Phaser 8560 DN Printer:

2,000 (minimum color pages) x .12 (cost of supplies @ 5% coverage) = $240/month
2,000 (minimum color pages) x .24 (cost of supplies @ 10% coverage) = $480/month
2,000 (minimum color pages) x .48 (cost of supplies @ 20% coverage) = $960/month

The true monthly cost of a Xerox Phaser 8560 MFP\D

3,500 (minimum color pages) x .12 (cost of supplies @ 5% coverage) = $420/month
3,500 (minimum color pages) x .24 (cost of supplies @ 10% coverage) = $840/month
3,500 (minimum color pages) x .48 (cost of supplies @ 20% coverage) = $1,680/month

If a customer is printing the industry standard of 21% toner\ink coverage on their color pages than they will be paying about 50 cents a page. No wonder Xerox is “giving them a free printer”.

When I worked for RBS\Boston we had a customer who came in that was printing 5,000 pages a month to a Xerox Phaser (mostly Powerpoint). They started the conversation by saying what a GREAT DEAL they got from Xerox, because they got a FREE PRINTER. They were good enough to give us all of their bills that they paid for supplies and maintenance kits. Based on the actual numbers that they gave us, We were able to show them that they were paying 52 cents a page!!! I told them that for that price I could install a Color MFD the size of the Conference table and I would save them money the first month and every month there after. You can do the math, they were paying $2,600 a month for 5,000 prints a month, but whoohoo who cares they got a free printer. We sold them a 55 page a minute Color MFD and saved them money.

The problem is you don’t want to make the customer to feel foolish for falling for this “free” printer program.Technically the printer IS free, but Xerox more than makes up for it on your supplies & maintenance costs.

That’s my $0.02
Vince McHugh



  1. Vince,

    I fell for it! Do you know how I can get shipping materials to return it? Xerox wants to charge me $150 because I got rid of the box!

    ColorQube™ 8570/DN

    The latest innovative solid ink printer from Xerox is now available through the FreeColorPrinters program! At 40 pages/minute it’s the fastest printer in its class, has improved color controls and is ENERGY STAR® qualified.

    • Jonathan,

      Unfortunately I don’t know where to get that box or shipping material. I am guessing that the Xerox sales person didn’t tell you that you had to keep the box and packing material in case you decide to return it, but it was written somewhere in the fine print of the agreement.

      That is their final parting shot, to add insult to injury. If you have other Xerox equipment, especially MFDs (Digital copiers) from them, you can threaten them that they will never get to bid on your business again if they charge you to return this printer. If this is your only printer from them that won’t work. You could call the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the consumer affairs division of the Attorney Generals office and report this as an unfair business practice. Let Xerox know that you intend to do this.

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