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Office Copiers: Lease or Buy?

A copier is an integral part of any office ecosystem, even in our increasingly digital world. While more and more of our work is moving from the page to the screen, there are still times when you need a hardcopy of a report or a sensitive document. That’s why when a copier breaks, there’s usually a mad dash to get it replaced ASAP.

When that happens, it can be difficult to figure out where to start. Generally, the first thing to address is whether you want to lease or purchase your new copier. You might have some idea of what option works best for you based on past experience, but if you’re reconsidering (or if you’re a first-time buyer) here are some pros and cons for each option to get you started:

Leasing

1. Lower up-front cost… but more $$$ over time.

When you lease a copier, instead of paying the whole cost (usually thousands of dollars) up front, you make smaller, regular monthly payments. This results in a drastically lower up-front cost, which is great if you don’t have enough money laying around to purchase a new unit! It also means that you never STOP paying, unless of course you’re lucky enough to find a “lease-to-own” option. This means that while you save initially, you end up paying far more than the unit was originally worth – and you have nothing to show for it in the end!

2. Included maintenance packages… but fewer options.

Generally, when you lease a copier there is an option to include maintenance services in the lease. However, this may not be the best option, as once you sign up to get regular maintenance with your lease, you won’t be able to switch to another maintenance option later. This can result in getting stuck with sub-par service. That said, if you do your research and determine that the company is consistent in both quality and service this option could save you lots of money, time, and stress in the long run.

3. Easy replacements and upgrades… but no trade-in savings.

Since you’re just leasing the copier, as long as you stay with the same company, there is usually an option to upgrade to a newer, better copier whenever you decide it’s time. This will likely involve some renegotiation of the current monthly payment, but it’s still much easier than having to get rid of the old unit yourself, shop around for a new one, and get the money together to buy it.

Purchasing

1. You own it… for better or worse.

This is one of the major upsides to buying instead of leasing. When you own the copier, what you do with it is completely up to you. If you aren’t bound by the constraints of a lease, you’re able to perform your own maintenance (which is a great money-saver if you know what you’re doing), keep it as long as you want, and trade up to any newer model you want, whenever you want. Now, upgrades are a benefit of leasing as well, but the important difference is that with a lease you can only upgrade to copiers your current company has in stock. That can really limit your options, and when you own the unit you have a lot more freedom of choice. You also won’t have any assistance from the manufacturer though, so bear that in mind.

2. Trade-in value for new copier… but you have to handle it all yourself.

While owning a copier means that, unfortunately, you will be responsible for both getting rid of the old one and finding/purchasing a new one when you decide to switch, you do have the benefit of being able to trade it in. When you lease a copier and decide to switch, you go from making payments on one copier to making payments on another with no real discount or trade-in reward. When you trade in a copier you OWN, however, most copier dealers will accept a trade in that they can refurbish and resell – while knocking a pretty penny off the cost of your new machine.

3. Lower long-term cost… but thousands spent up front.

While purchasing a copier does cost a lot more up front, if you can find the cash it’s usually worth it. With a purchase, you’re just paying the copier’s market value (give or take), but if you choose to lease you may end up paying way more than the copier is worth in the long run – and you won’t have anything to show for it in the end! Once you buy a copier, the only costs to worry about are the occasional maintenance fee and, of course, ink and toner (which you’d have to buy for a leased unit, anyway).

The main takeaway here is that the decision between buying or leasing a copier largely comes down to three concerns: cost, level of control, and maintenance. For businesses with a smaller budget who don’t want to worry about keeping up with maintenance and can sacrifice some freedom of choice in return for convenience, leasing is the perfect option. If you’re more concerned about having the right to do what you want with your copier and can afford to pay out more money up front, purchasing is usually the better long-term option. It won’t come bundled with maintenance, but you can do it yourself or pay as-needed.

Whatever you decide to do, 360Connect can get you in touch with up to 5 suppliers local to your area for free, zero-obligation price quotes. Once you decide what you’re looking for, you can go here to fill out a quote request form online. Our consultants typically get in touch within 5 minutes to tell you how many suppliers we found for you – it’s that easy! Good luck with your search for a new copier!

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