Updated May 13, 2020

Where to Make Copies: 11 Stores that Charge Less than UPS

Save on Bills

Money Done Right does not run display ads or accept sponsorships to promote particular products or services. However, we may receive a commission if you purchase or sign up through links on this page. Here's more information about how we make money.

You might be used to going to UPS or a similar store for copies and printing. While UPS continues to represent a large market share, there are more options for these services than ever. In many cases, you can find a better deal than paying UPS printing prices.

This article will cover a few of the top options to consider if you’re looking for a place to make affordable copies and access other common services.

Keep in mind that some stores are only available in certain areas. If you need these services regularly, you could save a lot of money by switching to a more affordable location.

1. Work

  • Work: Best for Convenience
    • Basics: Every workplace has its own printing and copying policies. If your boss allows it, you could run small-scale jobs at no cost directly from your office. On the other hand, most companies won't appreciate overusing their resources.
    • Pros: Work is one of the only places that gives you the opportunity to copy and print for free. Additionally, you won't have to drive to a store or take time out of your day to make copies.
    • Cons: There's always a chance that your employer won't let you use office equipment for personal projects. Printing and copying too often could lead your boss to change the relevant policies.

Every business has its own policies, but most managers won’t have a problem with you making a few copies. Of course, you should let them know what you need rather than assuming it’s ok.

Additionally, you shouldn’t use their resources for anything more than a handful of copies.

If you need a large-scale printing or copying job, you should go to a conventional store rather than trying to get it done at work. That said, the office is often the easiest place to make copies in a pinch.

Remember that overusing perks like these can lead to them being taken away.

2. Leasing Offices

  • Leasing Office: Best for Printing at Home
    • Basics: If you live in an apartment complex, you may have access to a business center with copies and printing. The cost is included in your rent, so you won’t pay anything extra for these services in most cases.
    • Pros: Free copies at home is a great perk, and you’re already paying for them through the rent. Some complexes offer larger shipping orders at a reduced cost compared to commercial vendors.
    • Cons: People who live outside of apartment complexes will need to find another option. In most cases, business centers are less professional and reliable than print shops and similar businesses.

In addition to your own workplace, you should be able to make copies in your apartment complex’ leasing office. Of course, this isn’t a feasible option if you don’t live in an apartment complex.

If you are a resident, you’ll probably have access to a few free black and white copies. They may offer a lower rate than for-profit businesses on color copies or larger jobs.

These benefits are commonly provided as part of your rent, so don’t feel bad about taking advantage.

3. Libraries

  • Libraries: Best for Saving Money
    • Basics: Many public libraries offer printing and other office services. As publicly available institutions, they generally only charge for upkeep rather than attempting to make a profit.
    • Pros: You should be able to find much lower prices at libraries than stores. Depending on the library’s popularity, it may also have a wider variety of services.
    • Cons: On the other hand, smaller libraries may be less reliable or have fewer options. You’ll probably need to call to confirm that they have printing services and to learn more about pricing.

Public libraries are available almost anywhere, and most libraries offer printing services at very low prices.

In contrast to private businesses, libraries are publicly funded and don’t need to gouge you for copies. While you’ll probably have to pay something, you’ll still save a significant amount of money.

The downside of public libraries is that their facilities are less predictable than those of businesses. Libraries in smaller towns, for example, may not have color printing or copies for large documents.

You should check in advance before assuming your local library has what you need.

4. FedEx Office

  • FedEx Office: Best for All Office Needs
    • Basics: FedEx Office (formerly Kinko’s) is one of the top office and printing chains in the United States. They cover a variety of office needs and work on orders of all sizes.
    • Pros: FedEx Office focuses entirely on copying and similar tasks. The staff is likely to be more knowledgeable and helpful than someone working at the library or in a business center. You’ll be able to take care of other projects while you’re there.
    • Cons: As a private business, FedEx Office is designed to make money. While their prices are competitive, you’ll almost always spend more by choosing to print at a commercial location.

Formerly known as Kinko’s, FedEx Office provides printing and copying along with a variety of additional services.

There are more than 2000 locations across the country, so there should be at least one in your area. With so many functions available, you can complete a variety of office tasks at the same time and place.

FedEx Office works with both individual and corporate clients, so no order is too big or small. In addition to printing and copies, you can pack and ship parcels, scan, fax, copy discs, and more.

Of course, you’ll pay more for these services than libraries and similar institutions would charge.

5. Print Shops

  • Print Shops: Best for Supporting Independent Businesses
    • Basics: Individual print shops offer their own services and set their own prices. A reliable print shop can help you save money compared to FedEx or UPS prices while supporting local businesses. Every print shop is different, so you’ll need to check the details at each location.
    • Pros: Print shops are generally independent businesses, while stores like FedEx and UPS are large corporations. You may be able to save money depending on the specific store.
    • Cons: Most print shops are in major cities or near colleges and universities. You may have trouble finding a print shop if you don’t live in either of those locations. They may or may not charge more than larger businesses that can afford to cut costs.

While nationwide giants like FedEx and UPS dominate the marketplace, there’s still room for independent print shops. If you have a local print shop, you can print and make copies while supporting local businesses.

Depending on the store, they may also provide a wider range of services similar to what’s available at FedEx.

Print shops are often concentrated in high-density areas, although some are near colleges and universities. Call or check their website for more information about what they offer.

You should also compare prices against any other shops in your area that provide printing services.

6. Office Max/Depot

  • Office Max and Office Depot: Best for Offfice Supplies
    • Basics: Office Max and Office Depot recently merged, although each brand is retaining its own name. Each store provides a variety of office services and supplies including printing and copying.
    • Pros: Copy prices are publicly available, and copies are 9 cents per side for black and white and 42 cents per side for color. Office Max and Office Depot are prevalent in most areas of the United States, so you should be able to find one.
    • Cons: Their copy prices are higher than what many other stores charge. For example, you can get color copies for under 10 cents per side from certain online vendors.

Office Max and Office Depot were once two discrete companies, but they recently merged into a larger organization. That said, they plan to retain each brand in order to avoid confusing customers or losing established audiences.

In other words, you’ll pay the same amount for the same service at both stores.

As their names imply, these stores offer something for virtually all office needs. You can buy office supplies, print, make copies, and more.

Copies currently start at just 9 cents per page for black and white and 42 cents per page for color. Like FedEx, Office Max and Office Depot probably charge more than publicly accountable institutions.

7. Costco

  • Costco: Best for Large-Scale Jobs in Person
    • Basics: Costco offers copying, printing, and other office services for much lower prices than many of its competitors. You can print, bind, and laminate books or make large copies such as posters or banners.
    • Pros: Costco’s prices are significantly better than costs at stores like FedEx and Office Depot. For example, black and white copies drop to 2.5 cents per side once you reach a minimum order size.
    • Cons: While Costco’s prices are lower than direct competitors, they can’t undercut online stores. Color copies are roughly twice as expensive as what you can find at websites like Docucopies and Best Value Copies.

Unlike most of the other stores on this list, Costco isn’t known for its printing services. Surprisingly, it offers reliable printing and copying at extremely affordable prices relative to the competition.

It’s arguably the best place to go if you have large-scale copying or printing needs.

As long as you make at least 1000 copies, you’ll pay just 2.5 cents per page for black and white. Similarly, color copies drop to 15 cents per page once you make at least 50.

These prices are significantly lower than what companies like FedEx and Office Max charge for the same thing.

Beyond printing and copying, you can also stop at Costco for other office needs. For example, they can print, bind, and laminate a booklet with a professional appearance.

Costco also prints business cards along with larger printing jobs like posters and other displays.

8. Grocery Stores

  • Grocery Stores: Best if You Don’t Have a Local Print Shop
    • Basics: Virtually all grocery stores have printers and other office equipment onsite. Some stores will let you use the equipment for a small fee, although this varies widely depending on the specific location.
    • Pros: You may get a good deal, particularly if you’re on good terms with the owner or manager. Some stores may even let you print and make a small number of copies for free.
    • Cons: Printing at a grocery store is completely unpredictable, and they may not have much of an incentive to let you make copies. You’ll need to take time out of your day to check the store’s policy and prices against any other options.

Grocery stores are another unlikely candidate for copying jobs that are often just as good as conventional printing businesses. Of course, you’ll first need to confirm that your local grocery store offers these services.

Most stores already have the necessary equipment for their own printing needs, so it’s just a question of whether they’re willing to let customers use them.

Depending on the store, you may be able to find information about print services online.

Every store has its own policies, so it’s difficult to generalize about printing at grocery stores in general. That said, they’re a great option to consider if you don’t live close to a dedicated print shop.

9. Best Value Copy

  • Best Value Copy: Best for Cheap Color Copies
    • Basics: Best Value Copy is one of the top online print shops. You can configure orders quickly and get an immediate estimate on orders of all sizes.
    • Pros: Prices are extremely low, particularly if you order enough to trigger free shipping ($125). That said, prices are constant regardless of scale aside from shipping costs. 2.7 cents per black and white copy is less than any physical store aside from Costco.
    • Cons: You have to order at least $125 in order to receive free shipping, which could add costs to small copy jobs. You’ll also need to wait for the order to ship, so this isn’t a good choice for short-notice copies.

Best Value Copy is one of a number of online print shops gaining momentum compared to traditional options. Without the need for a physical storefront, these locations can charge less without sacrificing margins.

The key downside with online copies is that you’ll have to wait for your documents to ship.

Furthermore, Best Value Copy is highly transparent and has extremely low prices. Black and white copies are just 2.7 cents, while color copies are 9 cents.

There are no order minimums, although you’ll need to spend at least $125 to unlock free shipping.

Like many other online print shops, Best Value Copy does far more than just traditional copies. They work on everything from postcards, calendars, and catalogs to brochures, business cards, and menus.

You can find virtually anything at Best Value Copy for a highly competitive price.

10. Color Copies Today

  • Color Copies Today: Best for Large Online Orders
    • Basics: Another online vendor, Color Copies Today reduces prices significantly for smaller orders. This is balanced out by shipping costs, as you’ll be responsible for shipping on all orders.
    • Pros: The marginal cost of adding more copies goes down over time. For example, you’ll spend more on color copies compared to Best Value Copy for small orders, but much less on large orders.
    • Cons: Small orders are substantially more expensive in terms of cost per unit. You have to order hundreds or thousands of copies in order to minimize costs. Similarly, shipping costs will continue to increase as the order gets larger.

Similar to Best Value Copy, Color Copies Today is an online print vendor covering a variety of office services. Depending on what you’re looking for, you may find a lower price at Color Copies Today.

Unfortunately, prices vary by order size, so you’ll need to buy a significant number of copies to access the best deals.

For example, 150 double-sided color pages cost a total of $30, or 10 cents per side. 1000 double-sided color pages, on the other hand, drop to just 6 cents per side or $120 total.

With Best Value Copy at 9 cents per side regardless of order size, Color Copies Today is cheaper for color copies once you get to 500 or more pages.

The counter to these benefits is that Color Copies Today doesn’t offer any free shipping. Instead, they add the cost of shipping and pass it on to you after calculating the cost of your order.

All things considered, the best online option depends on the details and shipping costs associated with your unique order.

11. Docucopies

  • Docucopies: Best for Detailed Orders
    • Basics: Docucopies is an online print shop giving you full control over every order. You can select details such as paper size, paper type, and margins. Like Best Value Copy, you’ll get free shipping above $125.
    • Pros: Control over the details of your order can be helpful if you have specific needs. Prices scale significantly as orders grow, so you can save money on large orders. Free shipping above $125 is another nice perk.
    • Cons: You’ll have to pay for shipping on all orders totaling less than $125, so this may not be the best choice for small orders. Best Value Copy, for example, charges the same rate on all orders, although it has the same shipping policy.

A third online option, Docucopies offers many of the same services as the other two. Like Best Value Copy, Docucopies provides free shipping on all orders above $125.

Its prices drop dramatically as your order scales, so you should try to get everything done in the same order.

500 single-sided color copies, for example, costs a total of $81.75, or 16.35 cents per side.

Doubling the order to 1000 copies only brings the total to $87 (8.7 cents per side). That’s just $5.25 more for twice as many copies.

Docucopies also has a diverse set of options such as paper type, lamination, folding, and more. These additions can slightly affect the final price.

Upgrading the paper, for example, could lead to a more professional final product. Switching from 20/50# bond to 28/70# text smooth brought the 1000-page order from $87 to $109.50.

Finding an affordable way to make copies can be complicated, but there are numerous reliable and affordable print services. This is just a small selection of the best options if you’re looking for a way to beat UPS printing prices.

Alex McOmie

Alex McOmie is a writer focused on providing insightful, actionable content that can truly change the way readers approach their finances. He joined the Money Done Right editorial team in summer 2019. Learn more about Alex.

Back to top  

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published.