COPIER FEATURES AND BUYING ADVICE
Some Things to Consider Before Buying or Leasing a Copier
Choosing Your Copier
Before you talk to copier dealers, ask yourself a few questions so you'll know what your needs are. What do you need a copier to do? Do you need faxing capabilities? Color capabilities? Will you need collating and stapling features? How many copies will you be making? You should have a good idea of your monthly copy total if you already have a copier, just by checking the counter. If you use a copy center instead, check your receipts to get a sense of your volume.
Sources To Check
Once you've identified your copying needs, you're ready to check some online sources and talk to copier dealers. Here's a few places you can go for more information.
- Buyerzone.com has buying advice and free quotes from leading local and national business copier vendors.
- Betterbuys.com offiers advertising-free buyers guides on copiers, as well as reviews on every copier by every manufacturer.
- Get copier, business services and general information at copiermachine.com, including related links and more.
- Infoworld.com reviews the top copiers for you.
Here are some features to consider for your copier. We don't cover them all here, so check them out further by using the above sources.
Automatic document feeder allows you to copy multi-page documents without having to lift the lid of the copier for each individual sheet.
Digital copiers can sort copied sets without the use of sorter bins. The copies are placed in a single tray at a right angle or offset from each set.
A "finisher" if you copy a lot of multi-page documents. A stapler is the most common finisher. More advanced models feature three-hole punch capabilities, folding, saddle stitch binding, among others.
Paper supply sources: The number of paper supply sources, or trays, may be important to you if plan to copy onto different types of paper, such as letterhead, legal or transparancies, without changing paper in the tray. Most copiers come with one fixed-size tray and a couple of adjustable-size paper trays. A bypass tray may be handy too.
Network card and printer module: Networked to the office computers, this will allow printing right from the networked office computers, no more standing around the copy machine!
Lease or Buy? And Pricing, too!
Digital copiers for businesses start at about $1,500 for the low end copier that can copy about 15 pages per minute. Faster models generally range from $3,000 to $10,000, and even higher depending on the features. Many businesses lease their copiers to avoid paying the higher cost to own it outright. Because of changing technology, they will also contract for trading up to a better model in the future. Leasing does cost more in the long run, and you will need to carefully read your lease contract before signing on the dotted line. Don't forget to check on costs of toner and supplies.
Choosing a Copier Dealer
When choosing a copier dealer, ask questions, such as how long they have been in business, who their major accounts are, do they sell more than one brand, what's the strongest selling model, questions about their service contracts, and so forth. Find out about the technicians who service these copiers, Ask to tour their facilities, and don't forget to ask for references, and check them out. We suggest you avoid the superstores, as service is going to one of the most important things to consider as you purchase your copier. Service should be better among a dealer who specializes in copiers and similar products.