Wondering if you should rent or buy your business photocopier?
Are you in the market for a new business office copier? If so, are you wondering if you should buy a copier outright? Or are you considering leasing options on this valuable and often expensive piece of office equipment? Choosing the right office equipment is a big decision. There are so many brands, technologies, and features to choose from.
Once you have settled on the product that best fits your needs, there is still one major decision left to make: should you buy or lease your office equipment? The question is one that seems to come up time and time again when there is a significant business decision to be made. You may have also considered the pros and cons of buying and leasing your office space.
Since not all companies are the same, there is no single right answer.
It’s impossible to say that buying is always right or leasing is still correct. However, there are some essential questions to ask yourself before coming to a final decision about whether buying vs leasing a copier is best for your business.
It's a question that seems pretty straight forward. How much does it cost to lease a copier? You type it into a search engine looking for an answer, and you discover that very few places seem to want to answer your question fully. If you haven't purchased one before or it's been a few years since your last purchase, things have changed. Canon, Xerox, HP, all make great machines!
You look to the right of the results page and see some machines listed at different prices, but if you're like me, you start to ask important questions like: "If my machine breaks down, who's going to fix it?" and "What does that cost?"
Today, you're in luck. I'm going to break down all of the price considerations needed to make an informed decision so that when you reach out to make a purchase or ask for a quote, you don't experience sticker shock.
Leasing or purchasing a copier can be affordable if you know what you're doing.
What Should I Consider When Purchasing a Copier?
A lot has changed in two years. Prices for office copiers have changed a bit, as well.
If you haven't purchased one before or it's been a few years since your last purchase, things have changed. So, why is it so difficult to get straightforward answers on copier cost questions?
Because the answer to the question depends on a variety of factors, you might think copiers haven't changed a whole lot over the years. Still, the reality is that the manufacturers make significant improvements, often.
Consider a car purchase. When you purchase a car, you weigh a variety of factors:
- Make and Model
- New vs. Used
- Maintenance Costs
As you can imagine, the considerations for your copier are very similar. After all, there's a big price difference between the Kia Sorento and the Mercedes-Benz GLS.
There's also a big difference in the features and service you receive with each, as well.
But not everyone needs a brand new high-end SUV, and likewise, not everyone needs a high-end copier. Your budget is the most important consideration, but making sure your machine does what you need it to do also has to be a top priority.
There's no point in purchasing a copier that can't complete the necessary functions required of your business.
Let's breakdown the costs associated with the following considerations:
- Black and White vs Color Copies
Businesses can choose from a vast range of photocopiers, with a huge price range to match. Basic photocopiers can… well, photocopy, and that’s pretty much it. You could pick one of these up for around £100. Then you have machines that can print hundreds of pages a minute, bind documents automatically, wash your tea mug. Okay, that last one is not strictly true (yet). They’re significantly more expensive but will add a lot of value to the right business.
It all boils down to this: what do you need, and how much could you, and indeed should you, pay for your photocopier? Read on to find out, or simply fill in this short form now to request quotes tailored to your business needs.
Copier Cost Considerations
The following numbers are total costs for individuals wishing to purchase a machine outright and do not include higher-end production printers. Prices may vary between vendors; however, this guide can serve as a typical range.
The price of renting a photocopier largely depends on the volume of copies required rather than the length of time the copier is needed. By calculating how many documents you need to make each month, you can determine the volume of photocopier required and the approximate rental cost of this.
The copier you choose will depend on the needs of your business, as mentioned earlier, you can choose from low, medium or high volume models depending on how many copies you need to make. The price of the individual photocopier will rely on its functionality and abilities – the higher volume models tend to be able to handle over 40,000 copies per month and often come with advanced or optional features such as automatic stapling, stacking and binding.
Your hardware (what model of copier you choose) is very important to consider. Ensuring that your copier will be able to keep up with the demand you place on it is as important a consideration as the overall price.
Because if your machine can only handle 100,000 impressions (pages) before service, but you need to run 500,000 images every month, you may spend more money on servicing the machine than the upgraded model would have cost you.
A combination of copier model upgrades and/or additional units can be the solution to a volume problem. Convenience often factors into the equation here, but finding an appropriate balance will best serve the needs of your budget.
OK, you've picked the machine(s) that can handle the monthly volume your office requires. Now what?
Making copies is excellent, but most offices require more than essential copy functions. There's a reason copiers are now technically referred to as multi-function printers, and it's because they offer so much more than a single part to users.
Copiers can send emails, scan documents directly to shared folders and edit documents now from their displays. Some can even intuitively sort individual receipts checked during the same job, and all offer significant upgrades to their security.
Features that you should consider include:
- Finishers: staplers or corner folders; a necessity for most offices that do not come standard on machines
- Hole Punch: most are available in single or triple whole punches depending on what is required by the user
- Letter Folding: the ability to fold letters/documents, increasing efficiency in your office by not wasting time on simple manual labour
- Booklet Making: a combination of various features that allow small booklets to be created through folding, hole punch, and stapling features
- Faxing: older technology that is still commonly used by firms transmitting a great deal of sensitive information (ex: hospitals, law office, CPA's, etc.)
- Large Capacity Paper Tray: increases the standard capacity of the tray to allow for more reams of paper to be loaded, increasing office efficiency
- Document Feeder: a necessity for most copier users, document feeders can be configured to include single pass and reversing options
- Fiery: an essential add-on for organizations in need of the highest level of colour matching available for their print media
- Card Readers allows for security cards to be implemented for users to gain access to a machine, incredibly helpful in situations where security must be higher, or department spending is more closely tracked.
- Follow-Me-Printing: the ability to create a print job from a desktop computer or smartphone and release the job from any machine connected within an organization's network
- Software Upgrades: this may include popular software like e-Copy, Uniflow and Drive, Infodynamics
Should You Buy Office Equipment?
First, let’s consider the benefits and drawbacks of buying office equipment. This equipment will be an essential part of your operation, so it’s necessary to make the right decision for your particular organization.
One of the main benefits of buying is ownership. Once you have paid for the equipment, you are the owner of that equipment, and that means the decisions are entirely up to you. If you want to make customizations or changes to the equipment, then you can make that call.
By owning the equipment, you are free to sell it whenever you want. This allows you to recoup some of the original cost which you can put toward new, upgraded office equipment. Purchasing costs can often also be claimed on your taxes, but you should consult an accountant to see if the tax benefit will be worth it for your business.
Of course, some reasons for buying your office equipment may not be the right decision.
The upfront cost of buying is higher. Leasing allows you to spread out smaller payments over time which may be more budget or cash flow friendly for companies with slim budgets. There are often financing options for businesses that choose to buy, but the interest costs may not be something your business is willing to take on.
Standard maintenance is something that should be always be considered over and above the original purchase cost. A manufacturer’s warranty may cover faulty parts, but they may also require you to take the device to a regional facility or even send the equipment back for those repairs.
There are many moving parts in a copier or printer, and they will require regular servicing and maintenance beyond the occasional replacement of a broken part. Will you pay for this servicing on a time and materials basis or will you purchase a service contract? Many buyers choose the predictability of a service contract, but in either case, this is a cost you should budget for.
Finally, if technology changes and renders your equipment severely outdated, you may be stuck with equipment that cannot be resold or repurposed. This isn’t likely to happen quickly but should be a consideration if you plan to keep your gear for a number of years.
Business Tax Benefits
Leasing equipment instead of buying has distinct tax advantages. When leasing, the payments are considered to be a pre-tax business expense which means each time you make a payment; you can deduct the entire payment. However, when you purchase the equipment, you can only deduct the machine’s depreciation value. Usually, that would be 40% of the buying price in the first year, followed by 25% in the remaining years.
Should You Lease Office Equipment?
Choosing to lease office equipment has its own advantages and drawbacks for your business.
One of the main reasons to consider leasing is the upfront cost, or rather, lack thereof. Instead of having to put down a large lump sum, you can spread out payments over several years. If managing cash flow is a concern for your business, this may be the best solution to get new equipment without having to make significant changes in the budget. The lower payments of leasing may open up more options for higher-end equipment that is merely unaffordable when paying the entire cost upfront. If you want the newest technology working for you, then leasing could be the best way to achieve that within your budget.
Finally, the equipment belongs to the leasing company. Depending on how you look at things, this could also be a disadvantage. You cannot sell the equipment to recoup costs, but you again don’t run the risk of being stuck with equipment after the lease term.
If you plan on regularly upgrading your device, then leasing will be the right solution for you. Dealers are often willing to help you roll your lease over into a new contract for a new device before your current term is finished.
Lease agreements typically require the purchase of a regular maintenance service contract for the device. Often, the dealer will help you save a few dollars by bundling this into the total price of the copier or printer. The peace of mind and billing predictability of a service contract is valuable for almost any organization. With all of those benefits in mind, it’s time to look at the cons of choosing to lease your office equipment.
While your monthly payments may be less when choosing to lease, over time, the total cost may actually be higher than buying. Plus, at the end of the agreement, there is no property left. It would be best if you also were careful about the lease terms you agree to and what your options will be at lease expiry. Choose a reputable company with flexible agreements and a record of exemplary service; otherwise, you may be stuck in a lease that only serves to frustrate you.
Why Leasing Your Copier is a great idea
- The ability to upgrade allows for more flexibility when your business grows, and your copier no longer fits your needs.
- Initial upfront costs are less expensive. Which means you can keep more money in your business when first starting out.
- Equipment stays up-to-date and can be exchanged if old equipment needs upgrading. Plus, it has the added benefit of no additional out of pocket expenses.
- Many companies have the option to buy out your device at the end of your lease, often at reasonable market value.
- Add more features to your copier that you may not have been able to afford if you purchased the copier outright, such as the copier doubling as a printer, scanner and fax machine that allows you to email and scan multiple documents.
- Service contracts and maintenance are built it. If there are ever any issues with the copier, you can place a call for easy upkeep and repairs.
- Leasing has the added tax benefit of being an expense, whereas if you were to purchase the copier outright, it would be a depreciable asset.