Select the right copy paper for your office
Even in today's digital world, your business still relies on copy paper. The wrong paper can jam up your printer or result in a smeared document. It can produce crisp professional reports and respect your budget.
When choosing copy paper for your workplace, you have to consider its different features. These specs will make it more or less compatible with your needs.
How much does copy paper cost?
On average, you should expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $60 for a case of copy paper, depending on the different levels of quality, service, and delivery options you choose.
The cheapest way to buy copy paper is by the tractor-trailer load, which includes 840 cases. However, for this to be an effective solution, you need to include the price of having a climate-controlled warehouse, a forklift, and employee wages and benefits to move copy paper from storage to near your copy machines in your analysis. If you go through a truck-load of paper per month, this may be an effective approach. If not, you should also factor in your interest carrying cost on a $20,000+ purchase.
Another effective way to get low priced copy paper is to purchase by the pallet with a dock delivery where your employees can fork it right off the back of our truck. Again, this pricing analysis has some additional costs but not as much as an entire truck. This can be an effective approach for you if you have the room to store the paper in a climate-controlled facility and you also have a dock. The biggest additional cost you need to include in your analysis is the wages it takes to move the paper around your office. Many times it's cheaper for us to do the moving even though you are buying it in "bulk" by the pallet.
Still, the most effective way for most organizations to purchase copy paper is by the lot of 10 cartons at a time. You get the advantage of the paper placed closer to the copy machine and you don't need any additional tools such as a warehouse or forklift.
Do we offer coupons or sales on copy paper?
You will find specials, deals, and low ball offers on copy paper pretty easily with a google search. The goal of these "sales" on copy paper is to get you regularly ordering the paper from that vendor. These are typically must-buy-now opportunities and there is no expectation of the price being the same in 90 days. Many times these offers are only good for a limited amount of cartons each order (you have to read the fine print to find that one).
Perhaps you have experienced this with these offers, where you buy it the first time at $25/carton for the first 30 days, then it slowly starts creeping up, and before you know it you are paying $50/carton for the same exact item. Our approach to paper price is fundamentally different, our goal (and should be your goal as well) is to get you a consistent paper price and not have this yo-yo effect so that each time you order you have a price that meets your budget, not just this month but every month.
Types of copy paper specs
Brightness ranges on a scale of 88 to 104, with most falling between 92-98. Don’t get too hung up on this feature. There’s no standard scale so each manufacturer will have its own grading system. Some will even use small print to make their paper seem brighter than it actually is.
Is the paper pure white or more ivory (yellowish tone)? Look for labels reading "cool white" and "warm white" respectively.
Weight can be misleading because it refers specifically to the thickness of the copy paper. The more it weighs, the stiffer it will be. The thicker the individual piece of paper, the more the overall weight of the package will be. Reams typically range from 18-90lbs.
When you purchase copy paper, how much paper are you getting? Packaging options vary from ream, partial carton, full carton, pallet, or even truckload depending on the size of your operation.
Depending on how environmentally conscious your office is, you can choose copy paper made from different percentages of recycled products. The amount of recycled content can vary from 30% to 100%.
Is the copy paper made in America or is it foreign-produced? Domestic paper has stricter guidelines to ethically control manufacturing aspects. This includes where the pulp is sourced and the number of chemicals used in paper production. Domestic paper is typically higher quality than foreign paper.
Bad paper can jam your printer and cause costly malfunctions. Most paper is sold without a warranty, but some manufacturers recognize this issue and provide 99.9% jam-free expectation. Manufacturers who offer this will replace or refund on bad batches of paper.
Sometimes you think you're ordering the same paper, but what you receive is entirely different quality. Many low-cost manufacturers put paper from multiple sources into the same packaging. The product from two different batches can be different in color and reliability.
Inkjet vs. Laserjet printers
Matching copy paper to your printer is extremely important. Paper explicitly designed for inkjet printers absorbs the ink at a different rate compared to the laserjet. Using the wrong paper can result in smearing or worse. Some manufacturers produce multi-purpose that accommodates both.
Copy paper can create lint, which isn't something you've probably heard of because no manufacturer will put it on the packaging. The fact is that very low-quality paper will have more dust or lint that builds up inside of your printer or copier. Ink and toner won't adhere to the paper well, and at worst, the build-up of lint will cause printer jams and malfunctions.
Curling is exactly as it sounds. If you expose copy paper to high humidity, it will curl up and cause printer jams.
How to choose the right copy paper?
Once you know the different specs for your copy paper can have, you should determine how you will use it, which depends on your procurement partner's capabilities. Ultimately, it drives the final decision as you filter through the many possibilities.
It's important to choose a copy paper that is both reliable and meets your budget needs. Keep in mind the many features and stats of copy paper— not all copy paper is made equal. Choosing low quality for the sake of price can ultimately be more costly in the long run.
Printer malfunction caused by unreliable paper can include a hefty IT bill. Plus, the technician will likely toss all "problem paper" you purchased.
Internal vs. External use
Is the material you're printing being used primarily by your internal staff, or do you hand it off to customers and clients? If internal, it's acceptable to purchase paper with lower specs.
If the printed material is for customer-facing interaction, you might want to select a higher quality paper with more stringent specs of color, weight, and brightness. These will make your product look and feel better in the person's hand.
If your workplace is an operation of 200+ employees, you likely need a high volume of copy paper and should buy in bulk by the pallet or truckload. Cartons of paper weigh at a minimum of 50 lbs. each, so the question then becomes whether or not your procurement partner will go the extra mile to assist you with such heavy products.
(Note: If the answer is “No,” then you may want to reconsider your vendor. See this checklist to gauge your procurement partner’s fit for your business.)
Humidity can cause copy paper to curl as well as running issues. A climate-controlled storage facility is best to avoid these problems, especially if you are acquiring your copy paper in bulk. Even so, it's important to make sure that you are turning the inventory of your paper over enough to prevent damage from environmental factors.
If you have a high-speed copier, you'll need a paper that can glide smoothly and reliably through the machine. We recommend looking at a paper that comes with a jam-free warranty to minimize downtime and service calls.