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Barcode Labels and Barcode Printers

Barcode labelling used to be the preserve of printing companies but nowadays a business needs to decide whether it would be more cost efficient to print the labels themselves. This is dependent on a few factors.

Hiring Professional Printers

There are certain situations where it would make more sense to employ the services of a printing company rather than printing the barcode labels yourself.

Printing Large Numbers Of Barcode Labels

The first thing to deliberate on is the size of the job. If you only need to print a small number of barcode labels then it should work out cheaper to print them yourself. Ultimately over time it will pay for itself. If the amount of labels needed runs into the thousands or even tens of thousands then securing the services of a professional printing company is a lot less of a risk and ensures the job will be done properly.

Specialised Barcode Labels

When printing specialised barcode labels, things can get a little complicated and, at times, entail a lot of specific equipment. For these types of printing it is definitely recommended to use a professional printing business.

There are several types of specialised barcode labels that might fall under this bracket such as:

  • Ensuring each label is 100% identical
  • Weather Proofing
  • Specific Label Materials (Such as metal)
  • Security Labels (Such as those with company holograms)

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Buying A Barcode Printer

On the other hand there are many reasons why you might want to purchase a barcode printer and print the labels yourself.

Printing Small Numbers Of Barcode Labels

If you only need to print a handful of barcode labels regularly (up to a few hundred at a time) then it makes sense to print the labels yourself. Barcode Printers are capable of coping with relatively large jobs so as long as it does not run into the tens of thousands, you can be confident that printing your own labels will be worthwhile and cost efficient.

Printing Customer Information On To Barcode Labels

If you need to print individual information, such as names and addresses, then purchasing a barcode printer would be the best option for you. This also would be the case should you need to print details such as weight, order numbers and quantity. These kinds of specific information are not suitable for outsourcing.


Should you need to change the barcode information regularly then printing your own labels is also a must. In short, fixed data is well suited to outsourcing but variable data is best printed in house.

Printing Images

For various reasons, such as security, you may need to print an image on the barcode label. A person’s image on a security pass, for example, only makes sense if you are using and printing your own labels.

Whichever type of barcode label and quantity would be relevant to your operation, a barcode printer and it’s software requires some level of knowledge. In the long run, however, it can be a welcomed addition to your business.

Which Industries Are Better Suited To In House Barcode Printing?

Firstly it shouldn’t be assumed this is an either or decision, some companies print their own labels yet outsource other parts of the business.

There are some industries, however, that are simply better suited to printing their own barcode labels. These include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • Retail
  • Distribution

Calculating Costs

As you might expect, there is no hard and fast rule in calculating the relevant costs of outsourcing or buying the equipment and software to use in house. If you are printing a small number of labels then a desktop printer would suit best but for larger numbers an industrial sized printer would be needed.

You must then calculate whatever on site costs need to be added to the process, such as materials. In general, however, if the printing of barcode labels is going to be an ongoing practise in your business it is a fair assumption to make that printing your own barcode labels works out as cost efficient in the long run.

Next Steps

With so many hardware, software and systems available to you it might be helpful if you could narrow down the search to just a few options. By filling out our tailored web form you can navigate your way past the options not relevant for your company and focus on only the components that are. It only takes a few moments and, like purchasing the right product, can save you an enormous amount of time and money.