USED COPIERS | 5 MIN READ
I completely get it. Why lease or buy a new copier when you can get a perfectly fine one for half the price? After all, you only need it to make copies, right?
On the surface, this way of thinking only seems logical, but if I explain the same concept with a different scenario, you might better see the points that should be considered. Copiers can be a money pit if you purchase one without much information. Let me explain what I mean…
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Consider the Purchase of a Computer
Have you ever purchased a used desktop or laptop computer? Unless you are a tech savvy person, my guess is you haven’t. I would also guess that the reason you haven’t is because you need a computer that can keep up with the demands you place on it in today’s technology-first world.
A computer from 10 or even five years ago would struggle or fail completely to run many of the programs that we use in our daily lives. This is because as technology becomes cheaper to own, manufacturers push the limits of what it can do.
Technology has been improved so much that your smartphone has more computing power than the Apollo 11 rocket that brought men to the Moon in the 1960's!
But why would a tech savvy person buy an old laptop?
It’s true. You can save a great deal of money upfront if you buy used. If you are tech-savvy, a used laptop or desktop PC can be upgraded with the latest technology. By the time you're finished with the upgrade, you have a $3,000 PC for the price of $1,500.
… but then again, you need to know what you’re doing.
Much like computers, copiers can be purchased used, but unlike computers, you can’t easily purchase upgraded parts cheaply from the manufacturer. There’s also the roadblock of needing to know how to install an upgraded part to truly benefit from any cost savings.
Copier manufacturers must keep up with their competition by inventing new technologies. Copiers are no longer copiers. Now, we refer to them as multifunction copiers and printers because they do so much more than simply make a copy. That would be like saying your smartphone is just a phone that makes phone calls.
As a result, when machines become older and are no longer purchased regularly by consumers, their replacement parts begin to cost a great deal more.
Copier dealers and manufacturers provide service for their machines, and both understand that an older machine will cost more money to maintain due to service parts and more frequent downtime, so a service contract will cost more when buying used.
As a result, you could spend more money over a used machine's lifetime compared to a new machine if you don't know what questions to ask. I'll cover what to look for in a moment, but first...
You may have seen the reports of ransomware breaches throughout the year. Companies like Equifax, Target and even city governments have been attacked. Today, hackers have found new and inventive ways to infiltrate your network.
In fact, hospitals are often targeted through their copy machines. Hackers can now easily use a flash drive to import a virus onto a network through the USB port of an unattended copy machine. Since most are connected to a company's network, copiers today have to act like a line of defense, which is why newer technology is needed to assist users in protecting their company’s sensitive information.
Now that you understand the potential pitfalls of buying used, let me say that it isn't all bad. In fact, it can be very good to buy used. I have personally never owned a new car because I can usually purchase one that's only a few months old (with very few miles) for thousands less.
The second someone drives a new car off the lot, it's worth less money. We all know that can't possibly be true, but that's how the dealer sees it. Copiers are the same way.
If you purchase or lease a used copier, you can get a great deal, especially if you purchase a copier that's barely been out of the box. This opportunity happens when a company purchases a machine and then realizes it needs an upgraded model to meet a need they didn't realize prior to their purchase. They exchange their machines and - Voila! - the practically new machines have suddenly been marked down at a discount.
If you decide to go used, make sure to get the information on exactly how used it is by requesting the number of copies that have been made with the unit. If the volume is within a reasonable amount (compared to the model's year), it may be a good investment of your dollars.
Another way to evaluate a quality purchase is how your company will use the machine. If your business makes 500 copies per month but the machine you're purchasing has been making close to 2,000 per month (and isn't designed for that kind of volume), consider looking at another copier.
When considering a used copier purchase, remember to consider all aspects of its use and approach the purchase like you would a used car. There is value to purchasing new or used, but it's completely dependent on your company's specific needs.
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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.