Photocopiers and Printers: To Buy or Not to Buy

Every business has important financial decisions to make - decisions that could make or break the future of the company. One of those costs, oddly enough, is printing. Yes printing. With printing and supply costs rising 20 to 40 per cent annually, this is not something you want to brush off as unimportant. Fortunately, the decision to buy or lease isn't difficult to figure out.

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Buying

If you're thinking of buying, do a few calculations first just to make sure you're getting a good deal. Sadly, most business owners only look at the initial cost of the printer and leave it at that - big mistake. Why? Because printers and copiers have ongoing costs and these are very real - they almost always add up to more than the cost of the unit.

The first thing you want to do is figure out how long you intend to keep your printer or copier. How many pages do you expect to print over the life of the unit? If you plan to keep the printer for four years, and you print roughly 1,000 pages per month, you're looking at total printing requirements of 48,000 pages. You figure that half of those pages will be colour pages.

Let's assume that your black toner cartridges will last 5,000 pages. Your colour cartridges will last for 3,000 pages. Now, take your total print needs - 48,000 and divide that number by the number of pages that your black cartridge is capable of. Do the same for the colour cartridges.

So, the maths would look like this:

Black toner needs: 48000 / 5,000 pages = 9.6

Colour toner need: 24,000 / 3,000 = 8

Round up - obviously you can't use 9.6 cartridges, so buy 10.

To figure out what the total lifetime cost of buying a printer, add up the purchase price, the total price of all cartridges you'll need, and the extended warranty cost if you'll be buying it. Once you've got the total lifetime cost of the printer, it's easy to compare it to leasing a unit.

 

Leasing

Companies like Printercorp lease printers to businesses that don't want to buy. Why would a company do this? Well, there are two main reasons a company chooses to lease:

  • It's easy and;
  • Companies always get the latest technology
A possible third reason is that it's actually cheaper than buying a printer or copier. To compare the costs of buying to the costs of leasing, all you have to do is look at what the leasing company's terms are. Typically, there's a monthly cost associated with leasing a printer or copier.

You will pay a monthly charge, quarterly charge, or in rare cases, an annual charge. Toner usually comes with the unit and you'll have to agree to keep the unit for a set number of months before trading it in. If you go over the allotted number of cartridges that comes with the unit, you pay the difference.

Add up all of your monthly (and other) charges for the lease. Do they equal or exceed the cost of buying? If so, then buying is probably the better deal - especially if the ownership costs include a warranty.

image by: makenosound on Flickr

 

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