Every business could use a good copier, especially since these days a copier does more than just copy documents. They’re Wi-Fi devices that also print, scan, fax, email, save files, and more. As more companies go paperless, the multifunction copier becomes a powerful document management device that brings more efficiency to a busy office.
Price tags for these high-tech copiers can run 7,000 pounds and more. Add to that the cost of maintenance and the possibility that they might be not-so cutting edge five years from now, many smaller businesses find them too costly and turn to copier leasing.
With leases a business can budget a fixed amount of money for the copier and then upgrade every few years as necessary. This seems like a good choice as technology tends to get cheaper as it gets more efficient.
Pitfalls of leasing
Signing a lease means you’re legally bound for the term of the contract. In some cases this can be a long term lease of 5-10 years, essentially locking you into a lengthy commitment. Often these long service contracts require being paid off before you can upgrade or find a new vendor.
Service contracts are an important part of any lease; unfavourable service agreements could leave you paying maintenance costs out of your own pocket, or exorbitant charges on service calls. Some contracts may involve roll-over agreements obligating you to maintain a service contract even after the value of the machine is paid off.
Service contracts give you peace of mind, but most service contracts also require you to “pay per print” or “per click”. That is, the more you use the copier, the more you’ll pay when it needs service. If you over-estimate printing volume when calculating costs, you’re wasting money, while if you under-estimate future needs you’ll find yourself paying more than anticipated.
Most leases, especially longer ones, will have you paying for the copier in full, plus time and service costs. You should weigh the relative costs of new or used copiers against the term of the lease.
Even with “free” equipment, you’re likely be paying much higher per-print costs so the leasing company can recoup wear-and-tear on their machine.
Per-print leases may involve a minimum monthly charge, so even in light periods of use you’re still paying for services you didn’t use.
Alternatives to leasing
As you can see, leasing agreements, like any legal contract, can be quite complex. Even fair and reasonable charges can add up to a hefty sum over the term of the lease. Struggling companies may find themselves locked into lease payments which represent capital that might be put to better use elsewhere.
Purchasing options should be exhausted before agreeing to a lease. Other popular solutions are printing services either on an as-needed basis or as part of an overall IT services package.
Before you sign a leasing contract, please call us with any questions and we’ll help you explore various options to keep your business operating on affordable terms.