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Just The Fax?

Purchasing a fax machine is just the beginning of its cost to you.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You own a fax machine and probably thought carefully about how much you spent when you bought it, but do you ever think about how much each transmission costs? The price tag on the machine itself is only about 14 percent of what you'll spend to operate it, says Deborah Sauer, vice president of marketing with Pitney Bowes Office Systems in Trumbull, Connecticut. Here's how to keep other costs down:

Understand your fax traffic. How heavy is your volume? Is it incoming or outgoing? Local or long distance?

Consider your modem speed. The faster the modem, the faster the transmissions, meaning lower telephone costs.

Look at your printing system. Tony Rogerson, facsimile sales manager with Les Olson Co., a Salt Lake City office equipment dealer, says laser printing has the lowest per-copy cost, ink jet is next, and thermal transfer (film) is the most expensive.

Consider designating a key operator. Labor is the biggest fax operating cost you pay, says Sauer. It doesn't make sense for senior managers to be spending their time hovering over the fax machine. Assign the task of sending outgoing faxes and distributing incoming ones to a single person.

Demand training-and train your employees. The company that sold you the machine should provide training on all its time- and money-saving features. You, in turn, should remind employees to use those features. Get a free poster with efficiency tips from Pitney Bowes by faxing your company name and address to (800) 446-0760.