6 MIN READ | OFFICE COPIERS
Are you considering a copier purchase, but not sure what you should be asking before beginning a conversation with a vendor? This article will give you insight into the most common copier purchase questions we receive from customers and the questions customers should be asking when they reach out to a provider.
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Most Common Copier Purchase Questions
We work with prospective and current customers daily who ask us a variety of questions about their copier purchase, but here are the most popular ones:
When Should I Buy a Copier?
Purchasing or leasing a copier isn't always the right decision for a company. If you're considering a copier purchase, make sure you've completed a cost analysis before reaching out to a vendor.
Candidates that would benefit from a copier lease may include:
- Companies with ten or more printers
- Companies whose printers are in high demand (need to purchase ink and toner often)
- Companies who experience a lot of equipment downtime
- Companies who need additional features and security not offered in desktop models
It's important to note here that there may be savings through managed print services even if you aren't in the market for a copier.
How Much Does a Copier Cost?
We answer this question in greater detail in our article about how much a copier costs, but the short answer is that it depends. Copier purchases can range from as low as $2,500-$60,000 per machine (with production printer being more), and service can range from less than $0.01 to around $0.10 per page (if you are using color printing.
Copier brand, speed, and features all play into the overall cost of your copier, but the true differentiation will be the service you receive by the vendor. For instance, you might be able to get a lower service price, but the savings will be negligible compared to the risk of extended downtime.
Remember, copier dealers who offer you much cheaper services from their competitors experience a trickle down effect. Less money charged, means less money the vendor can spend on training and retaining quality service technicians.
Should I Buy or Lease a Copier?
At our company, we have customers who choose to lease their copier while others choose to purchase their machine(s) outright. The decision to buy or lease a copier should be based on the long term needs of your company.
Purchasing a copier gives a company the benefit of not making long term payments toward a machine, and though this does technically save money over the course of a would-be lease, the amount is pretty small (possibly a few hundred dollars on a machine that costs over $10,000).
Many customers choose to lease a copier, because at the end of their lease, they are often able to upgrade to a new machine that has added features and security, sometimes for less than the price of their current monthly payment.
Why is that?
Simply put, new machines cost vendors less money because they require less service. As a result, they're able to pass some of those savings on to customers.
Should I Buy a Used Copier?
Like a car, customers can find a lot of value in purchasing a copier used. Opportunity develops in situations where a copier vendor's customer orders a set of copiers only to switch to a different model shortly after delivery. This creates a chance for a company to lease or purchase a virtually new copier for an "out-of-the-box" price.
More often, the opportunity with a used copier is after a machine has been in service around three years and the customer/owner wishes to upgrade their machine(s) early.
Just make sure the volume placed on the copier is comparable to the volume the machine is designed to handle. If you don't look out for this, it would be the equivalent of you purchasing a car that had skipped one too many oil changes. It still works, but its lifespan will be cut short.
RELATED: Used Copier: What You Didn't Know
How Do I Buy or Lease a Copier?
There are two options if you would like to purchase or lease a copier. You can reach out directly to the copier manufacturer or to a dealer. I know what you're thinking: "Why would I choose to add a middle man if I can purchase directly from the people who create the machine?"
This kind of logic is used by many large corporations because they feel they will ultimate get better service and save more money if they choose to do business directly with the manufacturer. There are a couple of copier manufacturer vs dealer myths that we have busted, but here is the condensed version:
- I can save money by purchasing from the manufacturer. In terms of the machine, this is not true. Manufacturers give the same discounts to their vendors as they do their branches. They are in the business of selling equipment, not putting their private vendors out of business.
You may save some money on equipment, but that's due to individual pricing from vendor to vendor (an internal business decision), not because they can't receive the same price from the manufacturer.
- Manufacturers provide better service because they know their machines better. It makes sense that a service technician trained by the manufacturer would know their machine best. What customers don't always realize is that manufacturers require their private vendors to train at the same facilities as their internal service technicians.
So, who provides the best service if both the dealer and manufacturer are trained by the same people?
Don't discount the local vendor effect. Local dealers are often easier to work with because the company's owner is located in the same building. Customers are often treated better because a single customer means more to a smaller vendor than it does to a major corporation.
Keep in mind: manufacturers have to worry about stockholders, which means that when fiscal quarters are coming to a close, service begins to get a bit leaner to increase the bottom line and their stock market value.
- My company has too many branches for a local dealer to service. This is certainly possible for some local dealers, but for others, dealers are often part of a large national network. This same network is often used by the manufacturers to service customers throughout the country.
There are literally hundreds of local dealers that are part of the copier dealer network, so the ability for a seemingly small dealer to service a customer is much more likely than many would believe.
After you've reached out to a copier vendor and received a quote, make sure you understand everything in your copier service agreement. If you don't, you could be setting yourself up for a situation where you're backed into a corner, should you ever wish to cancel your service.
If you don't understand something in your contract, make sure you ask. Contracts should be designed to protect the vendor and the customer.
RELATED: How to Cancel Your Copier Contract
Make sure you are comparing comparable products. We run into this all the time with potential customers. They ask for a quote for a specific piece of equipment, but receive a quote by a competing vendor that has given them the price for a machine that is inferior.
Don't let a competing vendor provide you with a cheaper quote that includes a cheaper piece of equipment. If you do, make sure you give the other vendor that opportunity to provide you with a second quote that includes a comparable machine. It's the only way to truly compare.
Related to the previous point, make sure your machine meets your needs, but also that it doesn't exceed your needs. Salesmen will often try to sell you features your company doesn't need. You may not need to start your coffee maker in the morning with your copier. Make sure you take the time to understand everything your machine can and cannot do.
By remembering to ask the questions above and consider the answers fully, you'll be better prepared to make an informed decision that will help your company's bottom line while increasing its efficiency.
Posted by Daniel Gray
Daniel has a passion for educating and helping people and has spent over a decade in the education and office technology industries. He has a Bachelor's in Education from the University of West Georgia and an MBA from the University of Georgia. Daniel has been the lead blogger at SOS since 2017 and specializes in managed IT services, copiers and printers, and business phone systems. He lives in Atlanta and has a goofy greyhound named Ticker.