What is the deal with copier service contracts? Why are they so expensive and do I really need one?
I’ve been a part of the office equipment industry for more than 30 years now and spent more than half of those years on the service end of the business. I can certainly tell you that in the last 30 years I’ve seen some pretty awful copiers. Back in the good ole days, that is exactly what they were copiers! The thought of connecting a copier to your network so you could print to it, much less, scan a document was so foreign that we actually had hope of putting a man on the moon. So, that’s probably a lie, but certainly not too far off.
Over the past 10-15 years the office equipment world has changed so dramatically that it barely resembles itself. The equipment has changed, the way we use copiers has changed, even the way we service copiers has changed for the better.
I’m hard pressed to come up with an example of a really poor quality business office copier. There are certainly ones that are better than others, however “bad” seems to be a thing of the past. With all of this new found success by the manufacturer’s, it begs the question, what is the deal with copier service contracts and do I really need one?
I could be biased, but in almost all instances, I say YES! Let’s take a look at the reasoning.
First and foremost copier service contracts almost always include the toner/ink. This is the costly element to running a copier and having a contract that includes these items will always ensure a relatively consistent monthly cost. Paying a cost-per-page that includes these items is a failsafe way to minimize overpaying for supplies.
Next is always the cost of replacement parts. Even in a world where office copiers run as well as they do, there will always be routine wear and tear on parts that will at some point require replacement. These parts generally don’t come cheap and having to pay the retail price for replacement might be counter-productive.
Finally are the labor costs. Here is where things can get out of control very quickly. At $100 – $150 per hour a qualified technician could easily spend an hour or so diagnosing a fixing a problem. When the surrounding environment being such a factor, just everyday dust can cause these electronic beasts to require a simple cleaning within just a few months, where some “dirty” locations could require more frequent visits. Labor in a copier service contract is such a vital piece to the puzzle and can very quickly save thousands of dollars over the course of the copier lifespan.
Not to be misunderstood or taken out of context, there are always situations where not purchasing copier service contracts can be wise. Just be sure that you understand all that is included and be able to weigh the pros and cons. In an environment where the usage is light, the area is kept spotless, and you have a trusted partner willing to work with you on a time and material basis, you just might be able to save money and forgo the copier service contracts.
To better understand your particular situation I always recommend a free consultation by an office equipment professional. They will be able to assess your situation, understand your goals, and come up with the most economical choice to suit your needs.