If you’re in charge of choosing office copiers and printers for your business, you know there can be some complex and time-consuming steps in the process. First of all, you need to understand what features and capabilities you need. Then you need to research the brands and models, and ultimately choose a vendor. Then there’s getting the right lease. After all that work, the last step in the process–copier service contracts–can become an afterthought.
However, don’t assume all copier service contracts are the same. In this article, we’ll reveal some things you should be aware of to make sure you’re getting the copier service contract pricing structure that works best for your company.
Following these guidelines can reduce your overall expenses for copier and printer service.
TIP #1: Rightsizing copier service contracts
A large component of pricing for copier service contracts is based on your estimated copy and print volume. That means you should do the best you can to get an accurate assessment of how much you will be printing and copying with the new equipment.
Here are a few important pointers for estimating your volume for copier service contracts:
Don’t automatically go with the volume on your previous copier service agreement. There are many reasons those numbers could be off. For example, you may have been oversold on that old contract and you’ve been paying for more than you need for a long time. On the other hand, if you’re replacing older desktop printers with a shared multifunction printer, your volume may go up. That’s why it pays to take the time to develop a realistic estimate of the printing and copying volume you will need.
Take future plans into account. When you’re figuring out your volume estimates for copier service contracts, don’t only look at what you’ve done in the past. Consider what’s coming up in the near future for your business. For example, you might use your office printer to produce sales materials. In the coming year, you might need more of those brochures, letters and marketing sheets if you’re adding new trade shows or otherwise stepping up your sales and marketing efforts. If your company has plans to grow, consolidate or downsize, those plans are also going to impact your copy and print volume.
When in doubt, estimate low. Since pricing for copier service contracts is based on your volume estimate, if you estimate too high you’ll end up paying more than you need to. That’s why we always say that if you’re getting small overage charges regularly, that means your volume estimates are spot on are you are not overpaying for copies you don’t use. The only exception to this guideline is if your service provider is willing to roll over the copies you don’t use each month. Especially when your print volumes fluctuate unpredictably, anything you don’t use during a slow period will be made up during a busy one.
TIP #2: Choose the right billing cycle for copier service contracts
Besides the volume of prints and copies, it’s important to choose the right billing cycle for copier service contracts. For example, will you be billed monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually?
This is an important choice that impacts more than just how often you must send a check.
Pricing for copier service contracts is based on your copy and print volume for the billing cycle period. For example, you might choose a monthly billing cycle for 1000 copies each month. However, there are some situations where a quarterly or even semi-annual billing cycle might better suit your needs. That’s especially true when you have regular cycles of heavy and light use of the equipment.
Schools are a perfect example. Copiers and printers get heavy use in the autumn, winter and spring, but very little use in the summer. In that case, a quarterly billing cycle gives you the ability to reduce your volume estimate for the summer quarter, and avoid paying for copies you don’t use.
The opposite scenario also happens. Accounting firms are super busy doing lots of printing and copying in the spring, so they can benefit from quarterly billing for copier service contracts that add volume during their busy period.
TIP #3: Separate leases from copier service contracts
As you might already know from past experience, choosing your service provider is just as important as choosing the equipment itself. After all, you’ll be relying on that vendor to provide supplies on a timely basis, respond quickly to service calls, and get you back up and running fast. If they don’t do those things very well, you can face costly business interruptions with even the best quality copiers and printers.
Not sure how to tell if a new service provider will meet your needs? Find out from this guide: How to Evaluate Office Copier Service and Support BEFORE You Buy.
That’s why we recommend that you avoid bundling your copier service contracts together with the equipment leases.
It may seem simpler to combine equipment leases and copier service contracts if for no other reason than less paperwork! But if you do that you’ll be tying your hands in the case you experience service issues down the road. You’ll be locked in for the entire length of the lease (typically 3 to 5 years) and unable to change service providers if you’re unhappy with the service you’re getting.
So, unless you are very familiar with the vendor and happy with their service, you’re safer keeping your equipment leases separate from the copier service contracts.
More help with copier service
We understand that for many small to mid-size companies, the person doing the legwork for choosing the office equipment and service provider may not necessarily be an expert on the subject. If that sounds like you, here are a couple of other articles you may find useful: