Comparing Copier Costs

While the costs of a copy machine will certainly vary depending on the features offered, there are other cost considerations as well.  Costs can be separated into three basic categories: Equipment, which is the machine itself; Consumables, or the supplies needed to make copies; and Maintenance, service costs.  Many vendors bundle these three costs in one and determine the Cost-per-copy, or CPC, of all three.  The business then gets a monthly bill based on the number of “clicks” or copies made.  You can also purchase equipment or supplies separately, from another vendor.  The following offers some information about the costs of each component of a copy system:

Equipment
Copier machines can be purchased or leased.  Purchasing a machine is a good option if you’ll be using it as a long-term investment, and you’re fairly certain of your future copy volume.  The cost of a new machine depends on the features you need, but usually starts at around $2,000.  Faster machines and those with higher print quality can cost up to $50,000 or more.  Refurbished printer copier machines usually cost less, and can be a great option for businesses looking for a “green” option.  If you buy a machine and decide to upgrade later, some vendors offer buy-out options if you decide to purchase or lease a new machine.  Leasing a machine can be less expensive than purchase, and you might even be able to get a deal by “buying out” the vendor after the lease is over. 

Supplies
“Consumables” are any supplies that the machine needs to make copies or print documents, such as paper, ink, toner, and developer.  The types and quantities of supplies you need will vary based on print volume.  If a machine can perform more functions, such as an all in one printer scanner, cost will generally be more.  Many businesses purchase supplies through a separate business.  This can be a great way to save money, and to make sure you get environmentally friendly products.  Most supply components, like toner cartridges, can be recycled after use.  Recent innovations in copying technology have produced cost-saving products like temporary-print paper, where the copy fades over time allowing the paper to be reused.  Whether you contract for supplies or purchase as needed, make sure that you are able to purchase materials that are compatible with your machine.

Service Contracts
Maintenance or service contracts are based on estimated copy volume, and can include repairs, parts, or upgrades to a machine.  If you buy a machine, chances are that service for a specific period of time will be included.  Purchasers of used or refurbished machines will need to shop for maintenance separately, by purchasing a service contract or hiring repairs out to a business that specializes in your type of machine.  Some service contracts offer “loaner” machines while yours is being repaired, and offer time guarantees for technician service. If making copies and printing is essential as a day-to-day business function, it might be a good idea to purchase a service contract.  

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