Calculating Your Price Per Label

Cost-per-label calculation helps illustrate how much it costs each color label. If you want to calculate the true cost-per-label for your printer, you should consider the following factors: cost of ink cartridges, cost of the label rolls, electrical power consumption, maintenance kits, and labor costs. However, for the simplest cost-per-label analysis you can consider from the cost of ink cartridges.

Calculating Cost Per Label

A color label printer typically uses several ink cartridges to print a color label. To estimate cost per color label, you must calculate the cost per label of each color cartridges, then combine that number with the black and white cost per label to get the final cost per color label.

When it comes to printing your own labels Color label printers are available in all price ranges, but there’s more than purchase price alone. Ink cartridges can be expensive and it’s frustrating to throw away a full ink cartridge because all the cyan ran out. You will find that an entry-level line label printer is far more expensive to own and operate than one costing much more upfront.


For example, if you buy a printer and the cost of its color ink cartridges (cyan, magenta, and yellow) is $20 each, and can handle up to 2100 labels. Meanwhile, the cost of a black ink cartridge is $45 and can print up to 1850 labels. The final ink cost per color label calculation is equal to 5.2 cents per label (($20/2100) + ($20/2100) + ($20/2100) + ($45/1850) = $0.052).

Depending on your labels printer’s ink cost, the annual cost can vary wildly. If your volumes are high enough, a cheaper printer can use enough ink that, over time, it costs you more than a high tier label printer.

Additional Factors that Impact Cost Per Print

At first, you may believe all expenses are obvious: printers, labels rolls and inks. However, these expenses only paint part of the picture. True print costs also include other factors likes employee resources and lifecycle of the equipment.

Printers & Supplies

The price of your printer is one of the expenses that makes up your cost of printing. Usually in the form of an initial purchase price or lease payment.

Label Rolls and Ink cartridges make up a significant business expense. When print supplies disappear surprisingly fast, the cause can be anything from inefficient use of inks optimization or misplaced supplies.

Employee Resources

Employee burden rate is the cost of paying your employees. Between printer jams, connectivity problems, monitoring print jobs and everything else, a color label printer care takes a lot of company time. If your employees are tied up with printer issues, that means they’re unavailable with other stuff.

Exploring the options

If a business prints 5,000 labels per month with a lower-end printer and prints at 10 cents a label. The label printer might seem ‘cheaper’ at a cost of $2,000, but given their volumes, the label cost per year would be another $6,000. After 3 years, the investment is $20,000.

The same company can invests $8,000 in a higher-quality printer, which only uses 1.5¢ of ink per print. Their label cost per year drops to $1,500 and in just over one year that ‘more expensive’ system has paid for the difference. After 3 years, the total spend is $12,500.