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Should I Buy or Lease a Business Copier?

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When it comes to office equipment, you have the choice between leasing and buying, with advantages and disadvantages to each option. Copiers, especially high-volume machines with multiple features, represent a significant investment. Though leasing a business copier typically has a higher overall cost, its out-the-door cost is much lower. We present the pros and cons of both options to help you make the best choice for your company.

Maintenance and Service Fees

Fixing copiers can be costly. If you own the copier, you are responsible for all damages, as well as maintenance. Typically, of course, purchasing a new copier includes the option to purchase a service contract at a cost of around 20 percent of the purchase price, usually renewable yearly. Reconditioned or refurbished copiers do not always include a service contract. Talk to your vendor to know for sure, and determine exactly what the service contract includes.

Leasing a copier generally includes service and maintenance as part of the lease agreement. When an issue comes up, simply call the number provided, and schedule a maintenance call. Review leasing contracts carefully for repair and maintenance plan details.

Growing with Your Needs

One of the drawbacks to buying a copier is the fact that, as your business grows, your copier may no longer fulfill your needs. A machine that perfectly handled the needs of your office of 10 experiences significant strain when your staffing doubles. The trick is to buy a machine with greater capacity in anticipation of growth, but one that still falls within your budget. The alternative is replacing it with a more expensive model down the road, but the cost there is prohibitive.

Leasing a copy machine offers a bit more flexibility, especially if your lease option includes the ability to upgrade. The key is choosing a leasing company that provides this level of flexibility. If your business is in the growth stage, leasing is often the cheaper alternative.

Cost and Prices

As stated, when first starting, leasing is often the less expensive option, at least right out the gate. Over time, purchasing costs less, assuming you buy one machine and stick with it. If you need to upgrade, though, and buy a second or higher-capacity unit, that cost negates even long-term savings.

Some businesses choose to lease equipment when they first launch, gauging their needs as they grow. Once established, purchasing equipment becomes more viable.

Getting More Bang for Your Buck

Typically, leasing allows you to get a more robust machine, with better features and capacity, than what you could afford to purchase outright. Today's machines offer astonishing versatility. For example, a quality copier doubles as a printer, scanner, and fax machine. It also allows you to scan and email documents internally and externally, print in color or black and white, includes binding capabilities, and much more.

Of course, you pay for each of these features, even with a lease. However, if you want a copier with all the bells and whistles, the sting is much less with a lease.

Points to Consider Before Leasing a Copier

  • Return on investment: You want some sort of return for every dollar you spend on your business. Before leasing a copier, consider the ways you expect it to benefit you, such as increased productivity, since it does not add to your assets.
  • Availability of upgrades: With the speed of technology, copiers depreciate quickly. Choose a lease that includes upgrades within the lease period.
  • Leasing terms: It is important to understand the lease terms to avoid future complications. Some leases include a time window in which you may update the copier, such as 6 months or 3 years, without incurring extra cost.

Sample Prices to Lease a Copier

Pricing depends on the type of copier and vendor. Additional factors include covered services such as repairs, maintenance, and upgrades. Accurate lease estimates are impossible without knowing your specific needs, but we offer sample pricing below.

  • A high-volume copier leases for between $200 and $400 per month.
  • The starting price for a multifunction copier is around $50 to $100 per month.
  • High-end multifunction copiers cost between $800 and $1,000 per month.
  • Printing cost per page for an inkjet copier is about $0.20 to $0.40 per color page and $0.08 to $0.16 cents per black and white page.
  • Printing cost per page of a laser copier is about $0.05 to $0.10 per color page and $0.01 to $0.02 per black and white page.

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