Buying or leasing a new copier or multifunction device for your office is exciting! The right device can increase your team’s productivity, and with an MFP, replace a roomful of equipment with one device.
At some point in the sales process, your dealer will talk to you about a service contract. Before signing, it’s important to understand what the manufacturer’s warranty covers, and what a service contract can offer you.
What Exactly is a Service Contract vs a Warranty?
Copiers and MFPs come with a manufacturer’s warranty designed to protect the buyer from issues that arise as a result of a manufacturing error or premature failure. While they are great protection because they cover repairs or the replacement of a defective device, it is typically for a fixed time period of one or two years. It does not cover supplies and regular maintenance.
A service contract is offered by the dealer to protect you beyond the coverage of a manufacturer’s basic warranty.
Basically, a service contract is like buying a maintenance package on your car. For a regular monthly fee, the service provider – typically the dealer you leased or bought the machine from – will provide any service, maintenance, or repairs your device requires.
A service contract will usually cover everything that is directly related to the device. The minimum contract typically covers quality issues, repairs, parts and labour, and provides priority service. Today, many contracts also include toner and preventative maintenance.
What is Included in a Service Contract?
A service contract will typically cover anything that is directly related to the device itself but not the network in which it operates. The minimum industry standard benefits covered by a service contract are breakdown/quality issues and subsequent parts and labour, as well as priority service over clients without a service contract.
Most service contracts these days will also include all your toner and preventative maintenance parts and labour.
Another very valuable benefit that is provided by some dealers is the complimentary use of a loaner unit if your device cannot be immediately repaired; however, this isn’t an industry standard, and you should always check with the dealership if they offer this service before signing a service contract.
A few important notes to keep in mind are what is not covered by a service contract. Specifically, anything that might cause a device to function poorly (or not at all) but is not a fault of the device itself.
Continuing with our car metaphor again, even the best bumper to bumper warranty won’t extend beyond the car itself… and neither will a service contract.
Just like your car warranty doesn’t cover if you accidentally drive your car into a light post, a service contract is unlikely to foot the bill to repair your device if the malfunction is directly caused by something someone at your organization did to the device (or the network it uses).
From our own experience, we find that changes to the network or firewall are one of the most common causes of connectivity issues with a copier/printer that is not covered by a service contract.
Why You Should Invest in a Service Contract
When leasing, you may be required to have a service contract, and the cost is typically included in your lease agreement. However, when buying, there are still plenty of benefits a service contract provides that make it a smart investment. For example:
A service contract prevents unanticipated repair expenses and gives you budget predictability. With a service contract, if something goes wrong, simply call your dealer and a service technician will come and repair the device, at no additional cost.
Service calls can cost as much as $185 per hour if you are not covered, not including parts. Without a service contract, a single unexpected malfunction could cost you hundreds of dollars to repair.
• Less Downtime
In the event of a breakdown, your productivity may grind to a halt. With a service contract, you are guaranteed faster service over customers who do not have a contract. In addition, most contracts allow for regular preventative maintenance which can often resolve problems before they become critical.
Some offer the use of a loaner device to use in the interim while your machine is being repaired – however, this isn’t standard practice. Be sure to check with your provider if this is included in your agreement.
• Consumables Are Often Included
Nothing is worse than running out of toner when your team is on a tight deadline. With a service contract, you can include “just in time” ordering. Your device can be monitored remotely and you will be notified when supplies are running low. Some service contracts will even ship the necessary items directly to your office so they will be available the next day.
Ultimately, what a service contract provides you with is a peace of mind. Your device will be kept properly maintained and help prevent any surprise expenses. It can also help minimize or eliminate downtime. This is critically important if your day-to-day business depends on your device.
When Should You Have a Service Contract?
Should you buy a service contract when getting a new copier or printer? It’s arguably one of the most important questions to consider when purchasing a new device for your office. Unfortunately, both the benefits and drawbacks aren’t always made clear to a prospective buyer.
Purchasing a service contract provides the peace of mind that your device is going to be regularly maintained and that there won’t be any surprise repair bills. There are some situations, however, where it may not be the most cost-effective solution for your organization.
I’ll start by listing some situations where you should have a service contract:
- You are leasing the device
- It is your only device
- Downtime is not an option (sales or other core processes depend on the device)
- An issue with the device would significantly reduce the productivity of your team
- You are using close to the recommended monthly impression count for that model copier/printer
If You’re Still Not Sure…
If you’re not sure if a service contract is right for your device, think about how downtime would impact your business.
Here at Office Interiors, we recommend that our customers opt for the service contract, unless they only need their printer for occasional printing, or can withstand the downtime if a breakdown occurs.
As you gather your research about service contracts for copiers and MFPs check out our blog How Much Does a Copier or Printer Service Contract Cost? to learn how service contracts are priced. Hopefully, this will help you with your decision making!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact one of our Office Interiors team members. We’re always happy to answer your questions and can help you decide if a service contract is right for you.
Digital Content Specialist