Service Options for Your Label Printer

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Service Options for Your Label Printer

Here we bring together all the options you have for looking after your thermal label printer.

  • Onsite maintenance services
  • Return to workshop repairs
  • Hot-swap services
  • Our recommendations on supporting your printers
You need to weigh up the various costs of a repair strategy against a damaging stoppage.

On-Site Maintenance Services

Thermal printer repair

If printing labels critical to your organisation (for example you need to print shipping or pallet labels every day) then you’ll need to  consider on-site support. 

Coverage
 
Brand coverage.  Repair coverage is available for all the major brands of thermal label printers – Zebra, Toshiba TEC, Sato and Datamax – O’Neil (now Honeywell).  Support can also be provided for the lesser known brands such as Godex and TSC.
 
Geographical coverage.  Levels of printer support are provided across the country – including Scotland and Northern Ireland – although this is not as easy as England and Wales –  there may be a delay and increased costs providing an engineer. 
 
On-site service looks like this:
 

Annual Contracts

  • You pay for an annual support contract.
  • Costs depend on the make and model of printer, with wider printers costing more than smaller ones.
  • If your printer is more than a few months old then you pay for an engineer to visit and make a pre-contract inspection.  This inspection includes a basic service.
  • If your printer develops a fault then you call the helpline and a technician will try and get your printer up and running over the phone.  If the printer needs a visit then a visit is booked same day or next day. 
  • The contract covers the engineers time (including travel) and parts, but won’t cover parts damaged maliciously.  It won’t cover consumable parts – i.e. printheads and platen rollers. 
  • There are different levels of cover.  Some cover includes the engineer’s time replacing a printhead, other levels would see you pay the engineers time replacing consumable parts.
  • Some cover includes support for label design software such as Nicelabel and BarTender. 
  • Premium cover also includes an annual maintenance visit where the printers are checked over and any parts that are causing a problem are replaced.

‘Ad hoc’ service

Out of contract support is called adhoc printer support.

  • In the case of an adhoc repair, you call us and we quote you an hourly rate (usually around £80-100 per hour) and give an estimate on the cost of the parts. 
  • The engineer is booked to attend as soon as possible, but with no guarantees.  Contract customers come first.
  • You are invoiced for the cost of parts and the number of hours the engineer spent on the job.
  • If you are located in Scotland – you may need to pay for the engineer’s accommodation.

Return to Workshop Repairs

Mobile Printer Repair Centre

Return-to-workshop or return-to-base repair is, as the name suggests, where a thermal label printer is shipped back to a central repair centre (usually in the UK) where the printer is fixed.

You pay for the workshop time (at a lower rate than on-site service) and parts.

This is the most economic repair option – especially if it’s repaired under a contract bought at the time of buying the printer.

Obviously, returning the printer for repair is going to take longer than an on-site repair. 

Add in the time the courier takes to return the printer and you can find yourself without a printer for seven working days.

If you use a Return to Workshop or Return to Base (RTB) service, you will need an alternative way to print labels whilst the printer is away.

When you have a spare label printer, a return to workshop service is the best option.

Printer Hot Swap Repair Services for Thermal Printers

A hot swap repair is a service where you notify us that you have a faulty printer.  We immeadiately send you a replacement substitute printer that you can plug in and use the moment you receive it.

For this to work,  printer features need to be similar – the ribbons and labels need to be the same dimensions so they fit in the replacement printer.  The interface and the printer operating language need to be 100% compatible otherwise you will need to devote precious time making the new printer work.

What’s usually a problem is if you have an unusual printer.  A printer wider than 110mm wide, a higher resolution printhead or an Radio Frequency ID label encoder. 

Hot swap service needs to be planned in advance so that we can check compatibility and have hardware available.  Contact us for hot swap label printer service for you.

Our Recommendation for Supporting Label Printers

Where Labels are Critical to Your Organisation

Where label printing is business critical – buy a second label printer – but don’t keep it as a standby printer.

Don’t pack the printer away and forget about it. We have clients who do that.

Have both printers in use.  You don’t want to find the printer hasn’t been updated or has a problem when you come to use it.  Two printers working side-by-side will halve the wear and tear on the printers – so they’re less likely to fail.

Make sure your second printer is the same as the first.

Why? Because then it’s interchangeable. The printer operators know how to operate both, the ribbons and labels are compatible and if one printer breaks down, you can switch over in minutes.

Take out extended cover as it’s usually cheapest and includes a printhead – which – if bought separately – would be half the cost of the service contract.

Try this service hack with your thermal label printer

Take out extended (and enhanced) warranty when you buy your new thermal label printer.

When (if) the printer breaks down, order an identical printer for next day delivery.

You only buy a new printer if the first one breaks (they are generally very reliable).

Let’s look at some example costings:

On-site Maintenance

Original Printer Price £900
3 x annual contract £1,000

Total cost £1,900

Benefits

Lower cost if you have an unreliable printer.  More convenient – you call and an engineer comes to fix the printer.

Extended Warranty

Original Printer Price £900
Extended 3-year warranty £290

If your printer breaks down:

A new printer £900

Total cost £2,090

Benefits

You only buy a spare printer if you need it.
You have a spare printer.
If your printhead fails it’s repaired free of charge.

Risks

You might find there isn’t a replacement printer available next day.

Updated: 12 Feb 2021

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