Office Copier:
Buyer's Guide

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Office worker loading documents into a scanner to make copies.

Are you thinking about leasing a copier? If yes, this guide is intended to be a resource to help ensure you find the best copier lease for your budget.

When considering an expensive asset like a copier it is important to consider who will be in charge of caring for the machine which includes: performing maintenance, replacing consumables, networking users, and overall troubleshooting. Having the right technical people on staff will be crucial in maintaining the health and longevity of a purchased copier.

Copier Leasing vs. Purchasing

The matrix below provides a brief outline of the different pros and cons of both leasing and purchasing.

Purchasing
Leasing
Pros
Cons
Pros
Cons
Save money in the long-term
Maintenance is time consuming
Low monthly rate
Usually costs more in the long term
You own the copier outright
Difficult to upgrade and dispose of
Much easier to upgrade
The copier is not owned by you
Large discounts when purchasing multiple machines
Cost of ownership can be a headache
Typically sold with a maintenance plan
Keep an eye out for hidden fees

Why Purchase a Copier?

As a rule of thumb, purchasing a machine is a great option if the organization has excess cash and a technical staff member to perform maintenance on and service the machine when it malfunctions. Outright ownership of the machine can save money over leasing since the machine can be used for many years. However, purchasing a copy machine requires a large upfront cash investment and because of this many organizations would rather allocate cash to other areas of the business. Another important consideration in purchasing a machine is who will be responsible for maintaining the machine.

Why Lease a Copier?

When considering an expensive asset like a copier it is important to think about who will be in charge of caring for the machine which includes: performing maintenance, replacing consumables, networking users, and overall troubleshooting. Having the right technical people on staff will be crucial in maintaining the health and longevity of a purchased copier.

The cost of ownership tied to owning a copier oftentimes isn’t worth the headache and expense. Outright ownership of a copier can be expensive if the machine malfunctions. Copy machines are complex with many moving parts. Regular maintenance is important for extending the life of a copy machine.

Organizations without a technical employee on staff to service the machine should strongly consider leasing due to the amount of time and expertise needed to perform the adequate maintenance necessary to keep the machine working. Leasing a machine also means you have someone to call for help rather than dealing with the cost and inconvenience of ownership by yourself. Many businesses prefer leasing a copier machine instead of purchasing one.

Newly installed office copier waiting for its first print job.

Benefits of Leasing a Copier

Fast Repairs & Easy Maintenance (Typical Coverage)

Always, always, always, take advantage of repair and maintenance coverage offered with your lease. Typical lease agreements include coverage for labor and parts needed when the machine malfunctions due to normal usage and aging equipment. Determining what is covered and what is not covered depends on the workload placed on the copier. Workload can also be thought of as the amount of copies or prints a machine produces in a typical month. For this reason it is important to have an estimate of monthly copy/print volume.

Preserve Capital

Leasing equipment helps save money because instead of spending a large sum of money all at once to purchase a machine, businesses can lease equipment for a low monthly amount resulting in lower capital expenditures. An important factor to consider is most lease payments can be deducted as a tax expense, further reducing the overall cost of leasing. When done correctly, leasing a copier ultimately preserves capital and businesses from the high cost and stress of equipment ownership.

Tax Incentives

In most cases, businesses financing equipment are allowed to deduct up to $500,000 a year. This means that with the proper structuring, financing can be a tax deductible for the business. Learn more about this here.

Quick Technology Upgrades

In addition to helping businesses avoid the expensive cost of ownership, leasing also makes it fast and easy to upgrade to new technology while replacing old, broken, and outdated equipment. This can be especially convenient due to the fact that the leasing company will deliver and install, configure, and network a new machine while removing the old machine all at the same time.

Emergency Coverage

Important and often overlooked is establishing an emergency repair plan. Having an emergency plan in place prior to needing it will save a lot of time, money, and headache. Prepare for what happens in the event of an after hours emergency when immediate repairs are needed.

Important Copier Feature Considerations
Copiers and multifunction printers now come with a variety of features which include but are not limited to:

Collating - Collating is a simple process which determines what order the pages are printed when printing multiple copies of a multi-page document. This means each page will be printed in order.

Stapling - The stapling feature is great for organizations that print multiple copies of multi-page documents that need to be stapled. The copier will print the document and staple it for you.

Folding - A must have for organizations that print a high volume of pamphlets that need to be folded.

Hole Punch - If you and your organization frequently print documents that need to be hole-punched, the hole punch feature can save you a lot of time and headache.

Paper Size - Copy paper can be known as printer, dual-purpose, multi-purpose or laser paper. The majority of paper these days is considered multi-purpose, meaning the paper can be used in any machine like copiers, printers, and fax machines.

8 ½” x 11” (Letter)
8 ½” x 11” paper is the most common paper type and is commonly referred to as letter-sized paper. Letter-sized paper is the default paper size for copiers, printers, and fax machines. This paper can be found at any office supply store and is most used for documents like letters, fax cover sheets, office memos, newsletters, brochures, and pamphlets.

8 ½” x 14” (Legal)
8 ½” x 14” paper is the second most common paper size, also known as legal-sized. Most copiers, printers, and fax machines come standard with a separate paper tray for legal-sized paper. Because this is not standard paper size, the user must select legal-size paper option on the computer before printing. This paper size is most commonly used for brochures, menus and other documents that are folded into thirds.

11” x 17” (Tabloid)
11” x 17” paper known as tabloid size, is the third most common paper size. This type of paper is primarily used for blueprints, maps, posters, graphics, and newspaper pages. Most new copiers will have a third tray specifically for tabloid sizes or the legal-sized tray can be adjusted to accommodate the tabloid size.

Non-Standard Sizes
The rarest of paper sizes include 11.7” x 17.7”, 12” x 18”, and 13” x 19”. These paper sizes are used in larger documents specifically for when the document prints all the way to the edge of the page. Typically, these are used for larger documents and highly detailed blueprints and brochures.

References

  • https://www.section179.org/section_179_faqs/