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Archive for December, 2012

How to Buy A Copier

December 21, 2012 Leave a comment

After many months of writing and editing I have finally finished my new book, How to Buy a Copier- A Step by Step Guide to Copier Leases, Copier Service Contracts and Just About Everything Else You Need to Know To Get The Right Copier at the Best Possible Price.

I know the title is long but I wanted it to communicate exactly what this book is. This book is THE definitive copier buying guide for anyone who is now or will ever buy a copier for their business or practice.

Although my company Action Business Systems-Toshiba Copiers is located in the Maryland and service the Baltimore, Washington DC, and Northern Virginia areas this copier buying guide can help you no matter what part of the country or world your in.

To receive a FREE copy just fill out the form below.

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Copier Service Contracts- What You Really Need to Know- Part 1

December 7, 2012 Leave a comment

When it comes to copier service contracts there are some things you really should be aware of so you’re not caught off guard after you sign a contract. One of the most important is that most copier service contracts have a built-in minimum amount of copies/prints per month and charge overage charges if you go over that minimum.

When a copier company comes out to meet with you to give you a quote many times they will ask you how many copies/prints you are doing per month now. The reason they ask this question is because when they prepare a quote for you they’re going to quote you a price for the machine (cash or lease price) and they’re also going to quote you on a service contract for that machine.

Just to be clear the terminology may vary depending on what part of the country you are in but typically the contract will be called a service or maintenance contract/agreement.

The quoted price usually includes toner, repairs (parts & labor), preventative maintenance, and any consumables. Basically everything except your paper and staples.

In case you’re not aware a copier service agreement usually consists of 2 components. A monthly minimum number of copies at a set price and then a per copy/print price for “overages”. For example your agreement many be for 10,000 black copies/prints per month for $100.00 (1 cent per copy/print) and then any “overages” will be billed at an increased rate say, 1.5 cents per copy/print.

I’ve never really understood the overage thing and it truly baffles me. In what other business does a company penalize you for buying more of their product? In other words in the above example as part of your monthly “minimum” 10,000 copies you are billed at 1 cent each but magically after the 10,000 copies/prints per month the price goes up to 1.5 cents. Why? I really can’t tell you. Does it cost the copier company any more for the toner at the 10,001st copy than the 10,000th copy. I think we know the answer to that.

On top of this mystery there is another mystery I can’t seem to solve about my industry. If you do less than the “minimum” number of copies/prints per month (again 10,000 in our example) than you are still charged for the 10,000. Why? Again, no clue.

I would agree that in some cases where a business or professional practice does a very low volume per month/year there does need to be an annual dollar minimum. At my copier company in Baltimore, Maryland we have a minimum of $300.00 per year for the service agreement. I think this is very reasonable due to the fact that the service agreement covers repairs and toner. In other words if your copier goes down and we have to send a technician to your location and you bill less than $300.00  for an entire year than you can see how the company can easily start losing money. When your copier goes down they/we have to pay the technician, gas, parts, ect. Again keep in mind that the $300.00 minimum includes toner.

So in summary if you go over your “minimum” monthly copies/prints the cost per copy goes up and if you go below your minimum you still would be charged for the 10,000 copies/prints. Sounds like a lose/lose proposition for the customer to me.

Here at Action Business Systems I write my service agreements very differently. For example, I have a company interested in a new copier in Towson, Maryland. The way I quoted their agreement is the way I quote them all.

First, we agree on a per copy/print cost. In this case we were at $.007 (less than one penny) per copy. This amount varies depending on the type of copier you buy due to the toner efficiency of each machine.

Then, once the copier is delivered we wait until their first month is over and bill them for the exact amount of copies they did in that month. Then we do the same for every month thereafter. There is no lose/lose situation with minimums and overages. This is the most fair way to bill a customer for their copies/prints.

So in the example of the Towson, Maryland customer above if they do 20,000 copies/prints per month we just multiply that by .007 for a total of $140.00 for that month and we send them an invoice for that amount. Simple and fair.

You may have trouble finding a copier dealer in your area willing to do business this way but if you insist on it you may just get it.

If you’re business or professional practice is located in Baltimore, Maryland, Washington DC or Northern Virginia area I would be happy to give you a simple and fair quote on a new copier and copier service agreement. Just shoot me a call or email. In the month of December 2012 we are giving away a free Toshiba Laptop, Toshiba Thrive Tablet or Toshiba flat screen TV with every new copier purchased or leased. Contact me, Ed Worthington at 443-570-0414   ed@edworthington.com or just fill out the form below.