COPIER COSTS | 8 MIN READ
If you've been tasked to research the next copier for your organization, you may have discovered that Sharp copiers are among the best in the industry from a quality and reliability standpoint. They also have some of the broadest options of machines that fit nearly any need. But how much does a Sharp copier cost? This article will breakdown all of the cost considerations you need to know.
s one of the largest Sharp copier dealers in the United States, we certainly get asked this question all the time (and there are other articles out there written by companies who don't even sell Sharps!). So, we decided to write an article that breaks down the different costs associated with purchasing a Sharp copier.
Unfortunately, it isn't as simple as picking a model off the shelf and paying at the front register. There are multiple factors that must be considered and all of them affect the bottom-line. In fact, it is possible for the same model to have varying costs.
Much like a car purchase, you can choose the same make, model, and year, and still have two different numbers. Do you want leather or cloth interior? Manual or automatic transmission? GPS display or something more standard?
Let's break down the different considerations you'll be presented so that you'll have an accurate representation of what kind of pricing to expect.
RELATED: 15 Best Office Copiers of 2019
Sharp Copier Hardware Costs
Not every feature is needed when you purchase a copier. Sharp copiers are no different. Most likely, you are choosing Sharp because of its exceptional reliability, security features, or image quality (they're all great reasons to buy), but you may not need the ability to print at 50 pages per minute.
The hardware is the basic nuts and bolts of your Sharp copier - the engine to the car, if you will. Among the factors to consider when choosing the correct model is:
- Volume -approx. average number of copies needed monthly
- Peaks in volume - are there periods where more prints are needed - such as creating paper billings at the end of the month?
- Black and white vs. color prints
Choosing the correct hardware (model) is the single largest contributing factor to your machine's overall price. Purchased outright, a full-size Sharp copier for an office can cost between $2,000 to over $50,000 depending on the speed and features you choose to include with it.
Your needs will determine your pricing, so be upfront with the copier representative you decide to work with. They understand the different machines they sell and what those machines can offer beyond the basics, so they may be able to alert you to features that could make life in your office much simpler.
As stated above, the hardware is the largest contributing factor to the overall cost of your machine, however, the considerations listed below may also have a large impact on the bottom line.
Accessories Needed ($200-$2,000)
Sharp has one of the most diversified portfolio of features on the market, today. Whether it's some thing more specific to industry like the ability to redact a scanned document with the copier or something more general, like being able to separate individual receipts in a single scan, Sharp has a slew of options.
The key there is options. Features are nice, but all aren't needed.
However, going back to my car metaphor, you wouldn't need heated seats if you lived in Key West. Likewise, it doesn't make sense to purchase a copier with a booklet finisher if you never make booklets.
The list of accessories totals more than what's below, but here are some of the most popular:
- Hole punch
- Finisher (stapler)
- Letter folder
- Booklet creator
- Fiery (for enhanced color processing and speed)
- Document feeder (reversing or single pass)
- Large capacity paper tray
- Software (e-copy, Uniflow, Drive, Infodynamics, etc.)
- Card readers
Keep in mind that most features listed above are physical components that would be added to the machine. This does not include the multitude of internal features that are controlled by the copier's computer and found through the display screen.
Service ($0.01 - $0.10 per page):
Service is often where you'll find the most variance in pricing, and typically, the least amount of wiggle-room to negotiate your copier lease. The price varies the most from dealer to dealer, but the quality of service will vary to a similar degree.
Service pricing, however, is fairly consistent throughout the industry once you consider different levels of machine efficiency. For the purposes of this blog, Sharp dealers will be comparable in their service pricing.
But higher service prices aren't always a bad thing. Typically, the difference in service costs may be as little as $5 per machine, per month. Yes, that can add up if you have a large fleet of machines, but $5 is a small amount to pay if it ensures you're getting service from a dealer with a better reputation.
It's also possible that a smaller, less expensive machine is not always a better deal than a larger machine when service is considered. To better illustrate, consider this:
If a copier can be leased over a period for $160 per month, and a larger machine can be leased for $270 per month, you would be inclined to think that you should go with the smaller machine that costs less (if both meet your business needs).
This makes sense, except when you consider that smaller machines are typically less efficient and require more maintenance than their big brother counterparts.
The same $160 per month machine that appears to be the better deal now as a significantly higher service price than the larger machine. Sometimes, the differences can add up to several hundred dollars per month because you are paying for the additional estimated service demand for the less efficient model.
Older or used machines can also have higher service contracts associated with them. Copier machine parts tend to wear down over time and require more frequent replacement and maintenance, so don't be surprised if you maintenance bill is higher three years into your contract.
It's the same reason why older cars and even the elderly spend more money at the repair shop and doctor's office (respectively). Parts wear out and need replacing.
A used Sharp copier can be great, though, and should be considered if you understand the service trade off. There can often be great upfront savings when choosing to leverage the value of a used copier.
RELATED: Used Copiers: What You Didn't Know
Financing a Sharp Copier:
Your choices for financing your machine are three-fold:
- Paying for a machine outright (not recommended)
- Shorter-term lease with higher monthly payments (not recommended)
- Longer-term lease with lower monthly payments
So, why am I encouraging you to take the longer-term lease? I'll begin answering with a question.
When you last purchased a computer, did you feel like the second you walked out of the store that it was likely a better version of your computer would be on the shelf in less than a year? Now imagine that it is five or six years down the road.
Copier technology changes dramatically over the course of five years, and most clients of ours wish to upgrade their machines after about three or four years. This keeps them on the cutting edge of technology, and more importantly gives them the most up-to-date security features. It also keeps service costs down because their machines remain efficient.
How Sharp Copiers Save You Money
At this point, you have a better understanding of how Sharp dealers and the manufacturer determine their pricing. Hopefully, you also understand how the equipment and service can't easily be listed as a single number.
If the price of a Sharp copier has scared you enough that you are considering just purchasing an army of desktop inkjet printers (or nicer toner printers), just remember that going it alone is a money pit.
There is a reason why desktop printers are so cheap (though quality ones will run around $700). The money is in the inkjet cartridge and toner cartridges themselves.
Costs can easily pile up because of something called print coverage. It's a percentage advertised on every ink cartridge/toner cartridge box. The range will be something like: 3,000 pages printed at 5% coverage - with "coverage" meaning the percentage of the page that is covered in ink/toner.
An $80 cartridge doesn't seem like such a bad deal for 3,000 pages, but what does 5% actually look like? Standard Office Systems did a study on this and created a helpful graphic after running various print jobs through a print coverage analyzer.
The image below illustrates our results:
As you can imagine, it isn't hard to have page coverage closer to 10%, and color prints are actually capable of over 100% (since color can print in layers).
We wrote a comprehensive article on print coverage if you'd like to learn more, but I think I've made my point.
Sharp Copier vs Others
As a Sharp dealer, I would by lying to type and say that Sharp has always been known as a brand of high dependability and overall great machines. Unfortunately, this has not always been the case; however, that has since changed.
Fortunately, Sharp didn't get complacent in their designs and continued to improve their machines each year, to the point that it is one of the best brands in the copier industry. What's great for the customer is that their machines are still marked below the price of other major brands, so it's easier than ever to get the features and dependability your business needs, but the cost savings your business also needs.
If you're looking for a highly dependable machine with features that are second-to-none, then a Sharp copier may be your next purchase.
But don't take my word for it. We leveraged the data of a third-party research firm to create an official best copiers review for 2019 and the results speak for themselves (Sharp made the list four times!).
In the meantime, it is my hope that you will walk away from reading today having a much clearer understanding of the costs associated with your Sharp copier purchase. If you have more questions, though, feel free to reach out to us below by clicking the button, and we will be happy to answer your questions!
Posted by Bernie Schom
Bernie Schom is the Vice President of Sales at Standard Office Systems and has been in the copier and printer industry for over three decades.