How Do I Find The Best Copier?

Every business is unique — and yours is no different. If your business did what everyone else did, you probably wouldn’t be in business. That special something that makes your business different, however, makes the question this blog is all about impossible to definitively answer.

There is most definitely a copier on the market today that will fit your business’ needs, or budget, or expectations — but every business will have a different opinion about what makes the “best” copier. No matter what you consider to be the best fit for your business, this blog will provide you with insight into what to look for when finding your new copier.

PRICE, BRAND, AND SOLUTIONS

The first question that pops into most of our heads when shopping for something new is usually, “how much does it cost?” And for many businesses, the cost of leasing or purchasing a copier is indeed a major influence on their decision-making process. If your only concern is cost, buying from a big box store or an online marketplace like Amazon will almost always provide you with the lowest initial cost during purchase.

This is where the benefits to purchasing a copier online begin and end, however. From installation to the entire lifespan of your copier, there will be headaches, service interruptions, unexpected costs, and unforeseen challenges that come with a copier purchased online. While a specialized IT team can provide service and maintenance for your copier, does the cost of employing a team of IT professionals outweigh the cost-savings of finding a printer online? For most businesses, most likely.

When deciding on the best copier for your business, it’s important to not only determine the initial purchase price, but the total cost of ownership. The manufacturers that sell their machines through Amazon and big box stores make up to 80% of their money on the sale of ink. It is important to know what the cost of operation and upkeep for your copier are. The cost to operate over a period of time (e.g, 5 years) is usually much higher on these lower cost machines. If your volume per month is under 100 pages, then these retail machines may be your best option, however.

The next “best copier” qualification considered is usually the equipment’s brand. Unlike the worlds of automobile manufacturers or hardware manufacturers, however, most copier brands all offer the same options. Sure, some brands may not be compatible with FIERY, or a brand’s black and white 60 page-per-minute copier may be less expensive than another’s.

All copier brands will offer high-end and low-end solutions alike — what matters is how much your business is willing to pay to access those solutions. There are a few differences between brands, however. Konica Minolta BizHubs are regularly referred to as “workhorses,” and Canon copiers are always at the forefront of cybersecurity.

A copier’s solutions aren’t bound by the copier’s brand. With plenty of third party print management software on the market, and even branded platforms like Canon’s UniFLOW working on competing copier brands, software solutions largely work across any brand of copier. And additional hardware solutions, such as a booklet finisher, can be found as optional add-ons through most copier brands.

It’s often the last quality we think of when trying to find the best copier, but it’s the most important factor of all — who is servicing your copier?

YOUR COPIER’S SERVICE

When determining the overall lifetime cost of your copier, and the effectiveness of its software and hardware solutions, it’s not decided by where you buy it or what brand it is — the most influential factor is your copiers service.

As your copier ages, parts wear out, toner runs dry, and errors and jams become more plentiful. Without a service contract, these issues can become the norm throughout your organization’s interactions with your copier.

Software solutions, just like the physical parts inside your copier, require updates every-so-often as well. Unforeseen hurdles can arise from something as banal as upgrading your employees’ laptops, causing programs to stop communicating.

And, additional hardware solutions like a booklet finisher are useless if they won’t work. Simply put, no matter how many solutions your copier boasts, without a service contract, your copier is a liability in terms of both cost and efficiency.

When finding the best copier for your business, it’s important to find another business you trust — one that can provide your copier with the service it requires, and listen to your needs as well.

Here are some questions you can ask your prospective copier dealer to get a better feel for how effective they are:

  1. What is your average response time?
  2. How many technicians do you employ?
  3. Does your service contract include toner?
  4. Do your service vans carry extra parts and supplies?
  5. How well-certified are your technicians?
  6. Does your business provide Managed IT Services?
  7. Are you an independent dealer?

While response times vary depending on your region, state, or locality, most dealers’ response time is within the realm of 24 hours. As a comparative measurement, our average response time (meaning the time to be on-site) is a bit over three hours.

The more technicians a dealer employs, the more likely you are to receive a fast response, and the more certified they are, the better service you can expect. If their vans carry extra parts, you reduce the chance of having to wait for a new part to be ordered or found. And many dealer’s service contracts include the cost of toner — if your prospective dealer won’t cover that cost, this may be a warning flag.

A copier dealer that also provides Managed IT Services is a good sign of a business that can make sure your print solutions work at maximum efficiency throughout your business’ network. And finally, partnering with an independent dealer can help you rest assured that your business is leasing or purchasing the best copier for you, and not the best copier for your dealer.

To learn more about leasing a copier, start with our blog, What do I need to know about leasing a copier?

Kevin Saylor
Kevin Saylor is a Business Improvement Specialist for Cobb Technologies. After graduating from Bridgewater College in 2019, Kevin began his career with Cobb, and when he's not working, he's out on the golf course, playing basketball or cornhole, or eating sushi and latin food.