The Greatest Threat to Your MSP Clients: Managed Print Providers

MSPs serve as invaluable partners to companies of all sizes and industries. And in a world that has become increasingly reliant on technology, reliable MSPs are needed now more than ever before in history.

Demand for IT services has not gone unnoticed by the rest of the world, and competitors have picked up on the tremendous success MSPs have been able to achieve. MSPs like you have likely observed a new, ominous shift in your space.

Unsurprisingly, others want a slice of the MSP pie. Companies outside of the MSP-sphere have begun slapping on services to meet the growing demand. And arguably the biggest offenders of this have been managed print services.

Having facilitated hundreds of relationships with MSPs throughout the country, Print Partner has seen this market shift first-hand.

In this article, we're breaking down the rising tensions in MSP-print relations while also covering what can be done to protect your MSP from being just another statistic in a faceless print vendor’s book of business.

Why Are Print Companies Turning Into MSPs?

Businesses that may not specialize or focus on MSP are now diving into the field in hopes of capitalizing on a previously untapped market. A survey from CompTIA shows that of the companies examined, all of which offer managed service on some level, only 37% are considered pure-play MSPs (meaning that over 75% of their revenue comes from managed service)

The other two-thirds of the companies surveyed (63%) were considered hybrid MSP companies, with the bulk of their income coming from “non-recurring revenue streams of work” like projects and product sales.

Managed print companies are among the largest groups of these hybrid service companies, with 23% of the surveyed MSPs offering print. Whether you’ve noticed your printing competitors or not, the numbers do not lie.

Shifting MSP and Print Markets

The technology industry has been rapidly changing over the last few years, forcing companies like print vendors to adapt.

The two main reasons print vendors are moving into the MSP space are a lower demand for print and rising demand for MSP.

1. Drop in Print Demand

It’s no secret that the pandemic has cleared out many traditional office spaces. A Pew Research study shows that only about 23% of workers were remote before the pandemic, while 59% of workers are remote as of 2022.

This massive industry shift to remote work has crippled the print market, an industry that relies heavily on large, physical office locations. A study from QuoCirca surveyed 114 print industry executives and found that 68% witnessed a significant decline in print volume since the pandemic began.

“There will be no rapid return to pre-Covid-19 print volumes,” says Quocirca director Louella Fernandes. “Businesses are planning office consolidation, capacity reduction and, in some cases, closure.”

An article published on Microscope reveals that prior to the pandemic, 79% of business owners surveyed in 2019 expected their print spend would increase over the next year. When surveyed again last year, only 53% of these same industry leaders expected growth in print spend, a massive drop-off from 2019.

Companies that once only relied on managed print are seeking ways to expand their territory into new markets.

2. Rise in MSP Demand

With the printer market in free fall, it’s no wonder that print vendors have turned their attention to MSP, an industry currently thriving under remote conditions. 

The exodus to remote work has forced companies to rely on IT services more than ever. According to IT Growth Expert Richard Tubb, “With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing a work-from-home setup for nearly all small and medium-sized businesses, the role of an MSP is growing beyond being the ‘IT guys’ into a true, trusted advisor to SMBs in the same way they view their accountant or solicitor.”

This newly-recognized level of legitimacy is something to be celebrated in the MSP community. That being said, it should come as no surprise that others outside the MSP community, like managed print vendors, would take notice and want a slice of the action.

How You Can Take Back the MSP Space

You don’t need to face this issue lying down. Here are some ways you can fight back against print vendors expanding into MSP territory:

1. Offer Print Service

Business owners wear many hats and juggle many responsibilities. When they look for service providers, they want as few headaches and moving parts as possible.

The main appeal print companies offering MSP have over you is that they wrap up two different services into one deal with your clients. This means fewer phone calls and fewer partnerships to manage.

If you want to compete with these companies, you can start offering your own print services. There are many pros to doing so, including an additional revenue stream and a better-equipped in-house service team that can function as MSP and as MPS (managed print service). How many times has a client called you asking printer questions you couldn't answer?

However, adding managed print services to your arsenal is no small feat. Transitioning your company requires a massive realignment in your resources and labor, a shift many MSPs are not capable of without years of gradual transition. So while this could be a lucrative option, be prepared for a gargantuan undertaking upfront.

2. Partner With a Print Services Provider

If you are not prepared to conquer the print industry on top of your MSP business, the better alternative is partnering with a print company. 

By working side-by-side with a reliable managed print provider, you can eliminate a major burden to your company while providing your clients with a better user experience.

Not all print companies operate in the MSP space, and finding one that collaborates with you can create a well-rounded service experience for your customers.

For more tips on how to retain your MSP's clients beyond print, read: Top 4 Tips for Retaining Your MSP's Clients

A Print Partner You Can Trust

The industry is changing, and the line between print providers and MSP has become more blurred than ever before.

For a solution to your MSP’s print-related worries, Print Partner offers a solution.

Print Partner specializes in working with MSPs. We provide your clients with a quality managed print service and leave the IT support to the experts like you. 

Instead of your clients making phone calls back and forth between print vendors and MSPs, we collaborate with your MSP directly, streamlining service and saving your clients from print-induced headaches.

And the best part? We pay you! For every referral you feed us, we’ll pay you $250, plus $1000 for each sale closed.

Stop worrying about your clients’ faceless print vendors, lurking in the shadows, waiting to poach them from you. Instead, partner with a Print Partner you can trust.

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