As the person responsible for making technology decisions within your organization, you’re tasked with finding solutions that meet the unique needs of your company while remaining within or under budget. When choosing between a new or used office copier option, assessing those needs and placing them at the forefront of your decision is critical.
This article will unpack the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing new or used office copiers. As the largest privately-owned managed print services provider in the United States, we come across this question often when speaking with prospective customers. Because we sell both new and used print devices, we decided to write this piece to help address this question, without any additional spin.
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Advantages of Purchasing a New or Used Copier
Used Copiers are often great buys for organizations looking to save money on their print devices, with cost savings being the greatest advantage. The reason for this is much like that of a used car purchase.
Most people understand the value of a typical used car purchase. The moment a car drives off a car dealer’s lot, that vehicle loses some value (at least on paper). Even if the driver decides just a few miles down the road that they no longer want the vehicle, because this otherwise new car is now listed as having had an owner, it takes a depreciation hit when returned.
Copiers follow the same concept. Some buyers decide that a machine isn’t for them after having it installed and choose to trade it out for another. The same device is then stored away as a “used device,” despite having barely been used. The winner, of course, is you, the buyer of a used copier.
Purchasing used is no different than purchasing new.
A lease is signed to purchase the copier over time, or a buyer could choose to purchase the copier(s) outright.
Although, I’d caution you against purchasing any copier outright. Multifunction copiers are built with many computer components and new features are being developed each year. Most organizations choose to upgrade their equipment every three to four years to ensure they have the most efficient print devices available to them – without dramatically increasing their monthly bill.
New Copiers may not be superior in terms of purchase price, but they’re often superior in many other areas.
New copiers have newer parts. This often means that it costs a print services provider less to service your machine, because it’s less likely it will breakdown. As a result, the dealer often passes the savings onto the customer (you).
We mentioned new technology when discussing used copiers, but it’s important to restate. A copier that is three or more years old will likely have an older processor, fewer customization features, and a more cumbersome integration with your network.
It should be noted that for the purposes of this article, we chose to use the word “copier” because most people know what that is, but really, copiers are now multifunction devices. They are able create booklets, staple, redact documents, upload to the cloud, print using a mobile device, operate by voice command, and more. In the next five years, multifunction printers (copiers) will be that much more advanced.
Disadvantages of Purchasing a New or Used Copier
For all the upfront savings that are inherent with the purchase of a Used Copier, service costs are often higher on these machines. This is because the parts are older and have been used, making these devices more prone to breaking down than a new copier.
Make sure you understand how many “clicks” are on your used device before signing an agreement. Simply defined, “clicks” are the amount of print jobs that have been executed. Higher clicks aren’t always a bad thing, but they do provide insight into what the real price of the device should be. More on that below.
A New Copier won’t have many disadvantages beyond the initial investment. There’s some negotiating that can be done to lower the cost of a new device, but beyond that, you’re buying peace-of-mind in knowing that your device will be reliable and has the latest technology.
If you’ve read to this point and believe a new copier is the way to go, I might agree with you, except for the consideration that used or new copier purchases should solely be based upon your organization’s needs. All factors should be weighed when making your decision.
Assess Your Business’s Needs
If you’re looking for the cheapest device possible, then used is the way to go. It’s no secret that you’ll save on hardware if you purchase used, but is this always the right decision?
Of course not. Your decision needs to be based on a careful assessment of your organization’s unique needs. Below is a (non-exhaustive) list of factors to consider when making this decision:
Daily, monthly, and annual print volume should be taken into account when choosing a device. Annual volume isn’t enough because some organizations (like churches) have significant print volume that isn’t day-to-day. An organization like that would want to make sure it purchases a machine that is able to handle large print volume at a single time, not just over the course of a year. Ignore this and you may find your device needing service more often, especially when it’s needed most.
This was alluded to earlier in the article, but there are so many practical technological advancements that have been made with copier devices. If you’re a law firm, you may want to consider a device that allows you to redact documents after scanning them. If you’re a healthcare provider, you may want to ensure certain secure printing options are available to ensure HIPAA compliance. Regardless of the reason, make sure you’ve considered all features and their benefits before deciding.
Security Needs and Print Management.
Speaking of security needs, there have been significant advancements with print devices. Many offer secure printing where a passcode or access card must be used to print. Additionally, rules may be added by IT teams to manage and/or reduce printing costs. Because every print device can connect to a network, and therefore can be accessed by someone from outside your organization, this cannot be overlooked.
This needs to be said because it is a factor no matter what your needs are. Work with your copier dealer rep and help them understand your needs within your budget. They may surprise you. Remember, the cost of the printer is only part of the total cost over the lifetime of your machine. Service costs may add up if you choose the cheapest device possible.
Tips When Reviewing a Proposal from a Copier Dealer
Once you’ve decided whether a new or used office copier is right for your organization, the next step is reviewing your agreement. When doing so, there are several things to look for to ensure you’re getting the device that meets your needs.
It’s likely you’ll engage more than one copier dealer or manufacturer when purchasing your new device. If you’ve been clear in your needs and see that the price of your proposals are dramatically different, make sure to consider the following:
- How many clicks are on your copier (if used)? A copier may be only a year old, but like a car is to mileage, the number of clicks will dramatically determine how much the total price is. More clicks mean more use. If a copier has 200,000 clicks in a single year, but it is only designed for 100,000 annually, it was overworked.
- Do you have the features you need? Do you have more features than you need? If a print service provider is thoughtful and has listened to your needs well, they’ll provide you with a solution to meet those needs. Likewise, if a provider is attempting to be the cheapest option to sway your opinion, they may have omitted features you need. Make sure to check for these.
- Are you comparing apple-to-apples? Machines vary greatly. Make sure you’re comparing a machine that’s capable of the volume you need. Otherwise, you’ll likely need a lot more service as you overwork it with volume it’s incapable of handling.
Regardless of the device you choose, make sure it checks off more boxes than price. A cheap machine that doesn’t meet the needs of your organization has limited worth. If you have more questions, feel free to leave a comment or reach out to us. We’re happy to help!
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