Whether you’re setting up a new office or upgrading existing equipment, choosing the right copier is imperative to ensuring the smooth operation of your business. There are many copiers on the market with a wide range of features and prices for you to choose from.
Which features do you need? Which features would be nice to have? Which are entirely unnecessary for your business? Doing product research can quickly turn into a major distraction and time commitment as you dig deeper and deeper into the various options for your business. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the most important questions you need to ask when starting the hunt for a new multifunction printer (MFP).
Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a Copier
It’s estimated that printing and copying costs can add up to 1% to 3% of a business’s annual revenue – so this is an important decision for your business. Asking these fundamental questions can help narrow down your specific needs and focus your mind when choosing a copier.
1. What is the Purpose of This MFP?
It may sound straightforward (to print, obviously) but determining exactly what you want your device to be able to do, or not do, early in the process can drastically impact how much you end up paying and how reliable your copier will ultimately be. Ask yourself:
- Do I need to print in colour or is black and white (monochrome) sufficient?
- Do you need a smart device that can read text with OCR and automatically route documents?
- Do you need finishing capabilities such as stapling or booklet making?
- Will the device be consistently used by a few individuals or will visitors need to print as well?
2. How Much Will You Be Printing?
Each business has its own unique needs when it comes to printing and copying capabilities. How do you determine the right copier for your business?
Determining how much you will be printing is a great place to start when shopping for a new copier. Each MFP is designed to handle a specific print volume and if you buy a device that isn’t designed to handle your volume you may save a few dollars upfront, but it will wear out much faster than expected and end up costing you more in service and downtime in the long run.
As a rule of thumb, monthly printing volumes can be translated into print speed measured in pages per minute (ppm). For example, organizations that print 4000 to 7000 pages per month will usually be satisfied with a 25 ppm device, while businesses printing up to 20,000 pages per month will often want to consider a device that can handle 50 ppm or more.
3. What is Your Budget To Buy the Copier?
Shopping with only a budget in mind is not the best way to make an important decision for your business. However, it is an important consideration when finding the right copier.
Typical business quality copiers can cost anywhere from $4000 to $16,000. A production printer for print businesses will cost even more than the price of even the highest-end copiers. Since MFP prices can vary so drastically, it’s crucial to know what you are willing to spend at the beginning of the process.
Another consideration is whether you want to buy the device outright and treat it as a capital expense or if you would prefer to lease your device so it can be treated as a business expense. In this additional article, we break down all the pros and cons of leasing an MFP rather than buying it outright.
Regardless of your budget, there are always options available. Some of our customers will opt to buy a refurbished used copier, which is traditionally much less expensive upfront but, depending on the age of the device, also means it may cost more to keep serviced.
4. Have You Planned for Consumables and Service?
The up-front cost of a copier is one important consideration, but you should also budget for the copier’s total cost of ownership. Consumables such as ink or toner cartridges can become quite an expense over time. You also need to decide if you will pay for service on a time and materials basis or if you will purchase a service contract.
The ease of replacement and cost of replacement of supplies are both significant factors to look at when choosing a copier. After all, replacing toner and ink will likely be one of the most common services performed on the copier over its lifetime.
Does the company you are buying or leasing from having an easy ordering process or do you have to jump through hoops, wait on hold, or contact the manufacturer? In addition to the cost, ink and toner cartridges can become quite a headache if there isn’t a fast and efficient way to get replacements. For example, at Office Interiors, we offer our customers a few different options to acquire their supplies.
- Automatic toner fulfilment for customers on our comprehensive service contracts
- Self-service purchasing through our online store
- By placing a request with our dispatch team (for those who still prefer to pick up the phone and speak with a human!)
5. Choosing a Reputable Brand
There are a number of trusted brand names in the industry like Ricoh, Xerox, Konica Minolta and others; each offering their own unique products and features. Having options available to you when shopping for a new copier can help you make the most informed decision. You want to trust that the brand you are choosing will continue to offer support and parts for your copier well into the future. Companies with well-known and respected names in the industry have worked for decades to build their reputations.
However, even more, important than picking a reputable manufacturer, is picking a reliable local dealer. The local dealership from whom you buy your copier will be your service provider and the customer experience can vary wildly between dealerships. Ask them about their typical response times, their billing process, how you are to order additional toner and consumables and what is or is not included in their service agreements.
6. Will it Work with Your Existing Equipment?
Are you a Mac office or a PC office? Does it even matter when choosing a copier? (Hint… It does.) Are there different workarounds to get your system integrated with your new copier?
These are important questions to ask before making a final purchase decision. Ensuring compatibility with the existing equipment in your office is essential. Can all of the essential features you have identified be used within your office or are they specific to particular operating systems or other network factors?
What Copier Do You Want to Purchase?
Choosing a copier for your business is not always a simple task. At Office Interiors, we don’t just throw a quote at you. Our approach is to assess your printing needs and design a solution that will meet those needs both today and years down the road.
Not ready to pull the trigger on a new device just yet? A free print assessment will help you determine whether or not you really do need an upgrade.
Director of Marketing & Inbound Business Development