The Internet and Manufacturer Warranties??

We all use the internet to buy things.  We usually do it for things that are commodities.  However, when it comes to copiers/MFPs keep in mind that buying a commercial grade copier/MFP on the internet will not have the manufacturer warranty and here’s why.  Commercial grade copiers/warranties need onsite service by factory trained technicians.  There is usually a rather complicated paperwork procedure involved for warranty service because the manufacturer is providing free parts which can be expensive.  In an extreme case, they will replace the unit.  The manufacturer tracks everything by the serial number of the copier/MFP so they know where it was purchased;  ‘gray market’ or authorized dealer. Internet sellers that sell the commercial grade copier/MFPs say to contact a local dealer in your town for service.  What the internet seller doesn’t tell you is that the manufacturer tracks warranty service with the serial number of the copier/MFP.  Which means they know if it was … [Read more...]

SCANNING SPEED

Businesses shop for a copier and often focus on price, speed, and accessories.  The overlook the one thing that’s really important; scan speed.  Most businesses today are scanning more and printing less yet they focus on print speeds when comparing copier models.  Instead, they should be also focusing on scan speeds because a fast scanner can compensate for a slower print speed and save you money. Here’s how to evaluate scan speeds.  With print, it was called printed pages per minute.  For example, 33 ppm. With scanning, it’s “images per minute”.  On the brochure look for the term “ipm”.  It’s sometimes a little hard to find on the spec sheet.  If the spec sheet doesn’t mention it than you can assume it is slow. A good place to start is to go to the last page of the spec sheet where all the statistics are.  Go to the scan section and you should be able to find “images per minute” or “ipm”.  If it’s not there go back to the top of the final page and see if it was put in the … [Read more...]

ESCALATING LEASES

I have written several blogs over the years about things I don’t like about certain leases from certain leasing companies. My favorite topic on that are Evergreens better known as 12 month automatic renewals when you don’t remember at the end of a 5 year lease to cancel 90 days ahead of time. Yes, you heard that right! There are certain leasing companies that do five year leases where you have to hit the window three or four months prior to expiration to let them know your intentions not to renew. A lot of copier companies use these so beware! Today I want to address a different topic about leases. Some leases have language detailing automatic rate increases. Make sure you discuss this with the sales rep ahead of time so you know exactly what is meant by that. Is the leasing company referring to a maintenance agreement that is part of the lease or are they referring to the actual lease itself. If they are referring to the actual lease itself and not the maintenance agreement I would … [Read more...]

SAVE MONEY ON FAXING

By now a lot of people have switched from traditional faxing to electronic faxing.  However, it is still a mystery to many people so let me simplify it and discuss the benefits.  Let’s talk money first.  Usually there’s a cost savings for two reasons.  One is you can cancel your analog phone line used for faxing which will save you $35 to $75 per month.  That also means you don’t need to buy a fax machine which typically saves $250 per device or you can eliminate buying a fax kit on your new copier/MFP which saves $500-$1250 per device.  Additional savings would be eliminating the need for buying a fax server or software and not paying long distance fees. Some user advantages would be that unlimited users can fax from their PC/smartphone at no extra charge.  Also, unlimited MFPs can be fax-enabled for walk-up faxing at no extra charge.  There will never be busy signals for incoming faxes.  Customized routing of inbound faxes to a PC.  Low-cost extra fax numbers for each employee or … [Read more...]

HOW MUCH SERVICE TO PUT IN THE LEASE

Most people lease their new Copiers/MFPs and include service and toner.  So how much should you include.  Many people look at their past history and put that much into the lease.  I wouldn’t do that.  There is a trend toward scanning more and printing less and since most leases are for 60 months I would probably put a lesser amount of pages into the lease because if you don’t use them during the lease you bought them anyway.  It’s better to use them up ahead of time and then just go on a month to month service agreement for a few months near the end.  That way you didn’t waste any money. I also recommend keeping color pages out of the lease and billed separately based on actual usage.  That way you didn’t buy the more expensive color pages and not use them.  An alternative idea would be to put a lesser amount into the lease and if they get used up just go with a month to month maintenance/supply agreement near the end. Both of the above ideas will save you money.  Keep in mind … [Read more...]

WHAT SIZE COPIER IS THE RIGHT SIZE?

Customers are always a little surprised when we replace a large A3 copier with a less expensive and smaller A4 copier.  Of course, copiers are now called MFPs which stands for multi-functional products.  Why the surprise?  For years copiers have always been about the same size which is big.  So what changed. Large copiers do 11 x 17.  Today, only about 6% of businesses in America need 11 x 17.  So why buy large copiers for a higher price that can do that.  Also, today people copy/print less and don’t need stapling as much as they use to as long as the printer/MFP has the ability to Shift Sort.  Large copiers also had those large finishers which were attached to the side of the copier. At first, copier manufacturers didn’t like the idea of customers downsizing to smaller less expensive MFPs.  It was like car buyers downsizing from a large SUV to a more compact 4 cylinder car to get better gas mileage. There wasn’t as much profit in the sale. Same thing happened here with office … [Read more...]

NEW THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A COPIER

Many businesses have been perplexed by the difference in printing & scanning at the office compared to the home.  That cheap little MFP we bought at the store for our home seems to set up immediately for printing and scanning.  With Wireless and AirPrint now standard on store bought MFPs we just have to point and shoot with no set up if we want to print from our smartphone. Of course, those type MFPs are not practical for the office. They are not built to last and the supplies are really expensive.  However, you can easily print from your Smartphone and other mobile devices.  So when someone spends considerably more for the “real deal” at the office for a commercial grade MFP:  the experience is often different.  In the past, you couldn’t just point your phone at the copier and go print.  It was a more complicated set up. Well, those days are gone.  The newer commercial grade MFPs are coming with Wireless and AirPrint as standard features.  The large Asian copier … [Read more...]

BEFORE YOU LOOK FOR A NEW COPIER

I get a fair amount of leads from people wanting to shop for a new copier or MFP to lower their current costs. Most people lease their copier and often the person assigned to gather bids was not the person who originally negotiated the current lease. So, often I find that the person begins the time consuming project of shopping for a new copier without knowing the details of the current lease. Often, at my encouragement and with my help we uncover the details of the current lease. Some of the people who contact me can’t get out of their current lease for two main reasons. Usually it’s because there’s still a lot of time left on the lease. Many businesses don’t know where their copy of the lease is or how to interpret the “fine print”. Just find the invoice you receive each month from the leasing company and call the toll free number. You customer number is on the invoice. They will email you the lease. Don’t call the local dealer. That just tips them off that you’re about to shop … [Read more...]

READ THE COPIER LEASE FIRST

Before you lease that new copier ask for a copy of the proposed lease and read the section about end of lease options. What you don’t want is one that says something like, “if you don’t notify us by this date it will renew for successive 12 month periods.” That’s called being “Evergreened”. Within the past month I’ve talked to two companies wanting out of the current lease with their current vendor. They were pretty disappointed to find out that their five year lease was now a six year lease because they didn’t cancel in time. To the best of my knowledge there’s no way to break this renewal. You are locked into the same leasing company and copier vendor. Oftentimes when we get invited into these situations it’s because a business is printing and copying less and wants to save money or they are having some trouble with the equipment. It it’s the latter, I encourage them to keep placing service calls even if it’s daily. At some point the problem will get resolved with that … [Read more...]

COPIER LEASES – BEWARE

Too many copier or MFP leases contain an “evergreen clause”. An example of that would be that at the end of the five year lease you need to turn in the cancellation notice between the 4th and 6th month. Otherwise, it automatically renews for 12 months which is being “evergreened”! Why would a vendor use that program? They can lock out the competition and have a customer for life. If the lease does renew for 12 months because you didn’t give them a 3 or 4 month notice ahead of time you can get out of the lease. However, only the current vendor can get you out of it which means you can’t shop around for a good deal. You will pay too much because there’s not much incentive for the vendor to discount. They will just keep the price near the current lease. What about leases where you’re told they are flexible and you can make changes whenever you want. You need to understand that you can’t downsize. What the vendor means by that is you can upsize or maybe move sideways buy never down … [Read more...]