Get a Multi-Function Printer.
You want to look for a Multi-Function Printer versus a regular printer because like I said before, you will have limited space. You want it to have a “Flatbed” because you will be scanning paperwork. You also want it to be able to “Feed” a lot of papers through the scanner at once because you will be faxing a lot of paperwork. In fact, the feed is one of the most important features to look at… don’t skimp here. A wimpy feed will mean lots of paper jams, lots of frustration, a few choice curse words, a whole lot of equipment violence, and eventually, a whole lot of time wasted manually feeding your pages one at a time. (Which sucks, believe me!) Save yourself the headache and pony up the extra $50-$150 for a better feeding option.
- Features to Look for in a Multifunction Printer:
- Laser Printers versus Inkjet Printers:
* Laser printers mean toner cartridges. That is a lot more expensive then Inkjet cartridges, and usually larger in size, but they print faster, and they print more copies before they have to be replaced. In addition, the printer costs more money, especially if you go for the Color Laser printer, but the print quality is excellent, and if you don’t mind pony-ing up $100 every time you have to buy replacement cartridges, then a laser printer is a great option.
* Inkjet Printers: Both the printer and the cartridges cost less….period. The quality can be really good, but you will buy cartridges more often (although the prices can be as low as $10 each). You will probably also have to do a “head cleaning” more often on an Inkjet Printer, but this is the more affordable choice when starting any new business.
- Replacement Cartridges: Before you buy any printer, always pop over to the cartridge aisle and see how much the replacement cartridges are. Just the cost of the cartridges alone could be a reason NOT to buy whatever printer you’re looking at, no matter how cheap the printer is. For example, Lexmarks are generally the cheapest printers you can find, but their cartridges cost just a little less than the printer itself. On top of that, the cartridges don’t print a whole lot of documents before the cartridge has to be replaced – so these are only good deals for people who don’t print a lot. You…as a VIRTUAL bookkeeper… ARE going to print – a lot. So take the price of the cartridges seriously.
iii. A Good Feeder: This is a must-have for a bookkeeper. You are going to be faxing, scanning and copying a lot of documents at once. If you have a wimpy feeder, then you can expect paper jams or an early death to your MFC printer. Therefore, make sure you look at how many papers you can feed at once. This information will be listed in the printer’s details or on the box itself.
- A Flatbed Scanner: A lot of Business Owners think that having a machine with only a feeder (like a fax machine) is a great low-cost option, but the truth is, it’s a bad option for bookkeeping. Bookkeepers need to make copies of checks, bills, tax forms, books, and all sorts of odd-shaped papers. It’s a whole heck of a lot easier to have a flatbed that can handle odd shapes and sizes so you can scan portions, if necessary, and put the scans back together on a computer. Therefore, get both the feeder and the scanner model.
- A Fax Machine: You’d be amazed how many multi-function printers are still made without a fax machine, but the truth is, a fax machine is a Virtual Bookkeeper’s best friend. You will be sending a lot of paperwork to your clients via email or fax, and having a fax machine lets you do both. Be smart and check for this feature right from the beginning.
- All in all, we prefer the Brother printers. The cartridges are cheap (at least in comparison to other toner and inkjet cartridges), it feeds paper fairly quickly, and it prints an excellent quality at a good speed. However, keep in mind that not all Brother Printers are created equally. The cheap ones don’t feed a lot of paper at once. so, look for something that looks like these (notice the feeds are angled upward to hold more pages
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