Buying vs. Leasing Copiers and Printers: Making the Right Choice

Technology What does it cost?

So you have decided that your office needs a new copier or multifunction printer (MFP)? Are you wondering if you should buy your copier outright? Or are you considering leasing options on this critical and often expensive office equipment? 

The question to buy or lease seems to come up time and time again when there is a major business decision to be made but it can have a substantial impact on your business’s return on investment from this purchase. You may have also considered the pros and cons of buying and leasing your office space. 

Since not all companies are the same, there is no single right answer, it depends on your specific situation and priorities.

It’s impossible to say that buying is always right or leasing is always right. However, there are some important questions to ask yourself before coming to a final decision about whether buying vs leasing a copier is best for your business.

Should You Buy a Copier Outright?

First, let’s consider the benefits and drawbacks of buying an MFP. This equipment will be an important part of your operation, so it’s important to make the right decision for your organization.

The Pros of Buying Your Copier

One of the main benefits of buying outright is ownership. Once you have paid for the device, you are the owner, and what you do with it is completely up to you. If you want to make customizations or changes to the equipment, you can make that call.

Owning the copier allows you to sell it whenever you want. This allows you to recoup some of the original cost, which you can put toward new, upgraded office equipment. Purchasing costs can often also be claimed on your taxes, but you should consult an accountant to see if the tax benefit will be worth it for your business.

Of course, there are some reasons that buying your copier may not be the right decision.

The Cons of Buying Your Copier

The upfront cost of buying is higher. Leasing allows you to spread out smaller payments over time which may be more budget or cash-flow-friendly for companies with slim budgets. There are often financing options available but the interest costs may not be something your business is willing to take on.

Standard maintenance is something that should be always be considered over and above the original purchase cost.  A manufacturer’s warranty may cover faulty parts but they may also require you to take the device to a regional facility or even send the equipment back for those repairs. 

There are many moving parts in a copier or printer and they will require regular servicing and maintenance beyond the occasional replacement of a broken part.  Will you pay for this servicing on a time and materials basis or will you purchase a service contract Many buyers choose the predictability of a service contract, but in either case, this is a cost you should budget for.

Finally, if technology changes render your equipment outdated, you may be stuck with equipment that cannot be resold or repurposed. This isn’t likely to happen quickly but should be a consideration if you plan to keep your equipment for a number of years.

Should You Lease a Copier?

Choosing to lease office equipment has its own advantages and drawbacks for your business. Let’s start with a few points that could be viewed as either a pro or a con.

The equipment belongs to the leasing company. Depending on how you look at things, this could go either way. You cannot sell the equipment to recoup costs but you also don’t run the risk of being stuck with equipment after the lease term.

Lease agreements typically require the purchase of a regular maintenance service contract for the device.  Often, the dealer will help you save a few dollars by bundling this into the total price of the copier or printer.  The peace of mind and billing predictability of a service contract is valuable for almost any organization.

The Pros of Leasing Your Copier

One of the main reasons to consider leasing is the upfront cost, or rather, lack thereof. Instead of having to put down a large lump sum, you can spread out payments over several years. If managing cash flow is a concern for your business, this may be the best solution to get new equipment without having to make major changes in the budget.

The lower payments of leasing may open up more options for higher-end equipment that is simply unaffordable when paying the entire cost upfront. If you want the newest technology working for you then leasing could be the best way to achieve that within your budget.

Additional benefits to leasing:

  • Upgrading incurs little or no out-of-pocket expense
  • The option to buy out your device at the end of your lease, often at reasonable market value
  • A longer payment period may mean you can upgrade to more advanced technology
  • Qualifies as a business expense rather than a capital expense / depreciating asset 

With all of those benefits in mind, it’s time to look at the cons of choosing to lease your office equipment.

The Cons of Leasing Your Copier

While your monthly payments may be less when choosing to lease, over time, the total cost may actually be higher than buying. Plus, at the end of the agreement, there is no property left.

You also need to be careful about the lease terms you agree to and what your options will be at lease expiry. Choose a reputable company with flexible agreements and a record of good service otherwise you may be stuck in a lease that only serves to frustrate you.

Additional Cons to Leasing:

  • Interest is bundled into your lease payments so the total cost of ownership may be more expensive
  • Leasing periods are locked in (normally for three to five years)
  • The MFP belongs to the leasing company
  • Most leases require you to purchase a service contract
  • You may be responsible for transporting the device back to your dealer at the end of the lease (check the fine print)

How Much Does it Cost to Lease a Copier?

Here at Office Interiors if we were to lease to a customer, they would have the option to make payments monthly or quarterly. They would then select how long the lease payments would last for, usually from three to five years. Determining the price of a lease depends on the cost of your device, any financing fees and interest that the leasing company adds and the duration of the lease. On average though, you should be able to expect prices in this range (assuming a five-year lease): 

  • 25ppm MFPs starting from $160 to $250 per month
  • 30ppm MFPs starting from $230 to $310 per month
  • 40ppm MFPs starting from $260 to $390 per month
  • 50ppm MFPs starting from $300 to $430 per month 

It should be noted that these prices also depend on your colour and finishing needs.

    Learn to Control Your Printing Costs
    Check out our article on the topic for a more detailed breakdown of how much it costs to buy an MFP.

    Tax Benefits

    Leasing equipment instead of buying has distinct tax advantages. When leasing, the payments are considered to be a pre-tax business expense which means each time you make a payment, you can deduct the entire payment. However, when you purchase the copier you can only deduct the machine’s depreciation value. Usually, that would be 40% of the buying price in the first year, followed by 25% in the remaining years but you should confirm this value for your tax region.

    Find Your Perfect Solution

    Having helped thousands of customers now buy and lease multifunction printers, we have learned that there simply is no single right answer.  Whether you should buy or lease your device depends on the needs and requirements of your individual organization.

    If you plan on regularly upgrading your device then leasing will be the right solution for you. Dealers are often willing to help you roll your lease over into a new contract for a new device before your existing term is finished.

    While on the other hand, organizations that want to treat their devices as assets or want to avoid taking on a lease liability may prefer to purchase their copier outright.

    Ultimately, the choice is yours and if you need some advice determining which makes the most sense for your business, you can contact one of our leasing specialists at Office Interiors and they will be happy to answer any questions you may have. 

    Cory Porteous
    Director of Marketing & Inbound Business Development
    Office Interiors

    How much does office equipment cost?