When it comes to determining what type of office equipment you need for your business, many providers will help walk you through the process, starting with a request for proposal questionnaire that asks relevant questions specifically related to the size and scope of your usage. But many companies do not and will try to oversell you, locking you into a copier that is larger than you call for and costing thousands of dollars a year in unnecessary expenses. On the other hand, if you are sold on price alone, you could be married to a piece of equipment for years that doesn’t meet your needs and costs you more money than anticipated in overage charges or lacks the desired functionality. Here are a few questions you should have the answers to before making a decision that will simplify the process and help make certain that the copier that you receive is perfectly matched to your requirements.
Regardless of the manufacturer, copiers and printers are available in either black and white or color. Most of the color options can be set to print in black and white only, which would provide a significant cost per copy savings with a service agreement but allow the flexibility to print in color when necessary. However, in most cases there is a price to value difference between the two pieces of equipment, so you will want to give some serious thought as to whether having that functionality is worth the investment.
The number of copies that your company prints per month will determine a few things when purchasing a new copier. If you have a low volume output or it’s for individual use rather than office wide, a desktop printer may be sufficient. If you will be utilizing the machine for multiple users or consolidating smaller pieces of equipment, you may want to consider a higher speed multi-function copier. Either way, it’s very important to get a precise monthly volume count to ensure that any service agreement that you enter into is accurate and that you are only paying for the volume that you’re using.
Paper size and stock are key components in determining what type of machine is right for you. If you regularly print on oversized or non-traditional paper stocks, make certain to address this with your provider’s sales representative because each copier has its own individual capabilities.
Some features come standard with certain copiers, but in other cases, specific features involve a different add-on, such as a finisher, which will most definitely be an additional expense. If you regularly utilize features such as stapling or hole punching on a large volume scale, you will want to make sure that these features are included moving forward. However, if you are thinking these would just be nice features to have, you definitely want to weigh the expense versus the benefits before making your decision.
If you work in an industry where you are governed by compliance regulations or you maintain sensitive information, you are aware how important it is to protect the information that flows through a multi-function copier. In essence, your copier acts as a computer that can be hacked just as easily if the proper security measures are not in place. Therefore, it is imperative that the copier you are purchasing contains all necessary security features and that they are enabled prior to use. This should be addressed with your provider to ensure that proper steps are taken to setup the security features.
While you may know exactly what your current requirements are, you should consider the potential for growth prior to the payoff of any financed machine. If you expect to have significant changes to your company size and/or capabilities in the not too distant future, you may want to consider making a choice that incorporates those needs now rather than getting stuck in a situation that might involve purchasing a second piece of equipment, or a significant devaluation of your current copier as the result of a lease buyout or trade-in.
If you put some thought and a little time into answering these questions, an experienced sales representative from a trusted dealer will be able to provide you with a piece of equipment that is perfectly matched to your needs. Once you have worked together to determine the ideal match, you will then be able to evaluate the most cost-effective way to make the purchase: buy vs. lease. And last, but certainly not least, you should discuss the benefits of adding a service contract, which traditionally includes toner, drums, parts, maintenance and repairs, versus paying for parts and service on an as-needed basis.