Do I Need a Service Contract for My Copier?

WHAT IS A SERVICE CONTRACT?

A service contract acts much like an extended protection plan on a home appliance or a maintenance plan for your car or truck providing your copier with not only routine maintenance and upkeep, but quickly addressing repairs as needed.

As these machines age, they require service more routinely. A service contract extends beyond the scope of a manufacturer’s warranty and ensures you have minimal downtime should the machine need repair. In addition to the peace of mind provided by knowing that a skilled certified technician is only a phone call away, it also alleviates the unwanted — and oftentimes un-budgeted — costs of unexpected repairs. 

WHAT ABOUT THE MANUFACTURER’S WARRANTY?

Sure, all copiers come with a manufacturer’s warranty. But those typically last a year or two. Canon, for example, only lasts for thirty days. Additionally, the manufacturer’s warranty is not going to cover consumable supplies — like ink or toner — or the regular maintenance required to keep your investment operable for the long haul. Relying solely on the manufacturer’s warranty would require you to budget accordingly, not only for preventative maintenance and purchase of supplies, but any unexpected repairs.

Essentially, a manufacturer’s warranty only covers defective parts — not the labor costs that come with maintaining and replacing those parts — nor the cost of supplies, or any measure of operator error or assistance.

What this means is that if your printer or copier runs out of toner, that cost falls directly on you. Likewise, if you need any assistance operating your machine, the cost of the that service will also be your responsibility.

WHAT DO I RECEIVE AS PART OF MY SERVICE CONTRACT?

There is a cost associated with having a service agreement in place with your dealer, regardless of whether you purchase outright, or opt to lease the machine. Here is what you should expect to receive (though this may vary by provider):

  • - Repair/replacement of parts as needed
  • - Consumable supplies such as ink, toner, and drums
  • - Labor from a skilled technician

Without a service agreement in place, it can cost as much as $150 for a technician to simply show up at the door. Throw in a trip charge, plus the billable rate while the technician services the equipment, and a single visit could easily eclipse $200, plus the cost of parts needed to repair the device.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF NOT HAVING A SERVICE AGREEMENT IN PLACE?

The number one question to consider here is: What happens to my business if my copier breaks down?If your business has multiple machines in the building, maybe it is not a debilitating blow, and might just force someone to burn a few more calories walking to the copier down the hall or on the next floor. But if your operation relies heavily on this machine, and it is the only machine, what does that look like? Can you continue to operate functionally without it for a few hours? A few days?

Another consideration is the financial aspect. A service contract with your dealer does have its own associated costs. But, through a service contract, you able to properly plan and budget for the costs associated with keeping consumable supplies on hand, the installation of a preventative maintenance kit on a schedule per the manufacturer’s guidelines, and the cost of parts and labor needed when the machine goes down.

If your business does plan on foregoing the expertise of a skilled professional, make sure that someone on your staff has the capacity to conduct routine maintenance or make necessary repairs.

And then there’s time something we never have enough of, and always want more of. Do you have the time, throughout the course of your very busy day, to step away from pressing work matters to swap out the fuser assembly or pickup rollers on your copier?

DO I NEED A SERVICE CONTACT ON MY COPIER?

Like almost any complex situation in life, the answer remains the same: it depends. Taking all of the aforementioned into consideration, it truly comes down to whether or not you feel your business is capable of regularly servicing your machine (like you would your vehicle), budgeting for the monetary costs associated with parts and supplies, that your business has the time and personnel required to make both routine and unexpected repairs, and — most importantly — that the cost of downtime doesn’t bring your operations to a screeching halt.

Brandon Bate
Brandon is a business improvement specialist whose primary goal is to support organizations in meeting their office productivity and cost reduction objectives through technology solutions. Brandon has over 15 years of sales and service experience, and when he's not empowering local businesses he enjoys being out on a trail, kayaking, and spending time with his wife and one-year old son.