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Archive for January, 2013

Do you really need a color copier?

January 31, 2013 Leave a comment

Recently I was working with a prospective client  in Owings Mills, Maryland who was purchasing a new Toshiba copier from me.

As I was asking him questions about his copying and printing needs he got a concerned look on his face. Obviously I knew something was troubling him so I asked what was on his mind.

He said “Ed, do I need a color copier?”. This certainly wasn’t the first time a client or prospective client has asked me this question. As a matter of fact, I get the color copier question all the time. I think it’s a reflection of the tough economy were in here in America. People want to be very sure that the extra expense of a color copier over a black copier is worth it to their business or professional practice.

One of the first questions I ask in this situation is “how are you handling color copies and prints now?”. Typically my small business/small practice clients are doing one of two things: 1) they outsource their color printing to Staples, Office Depot or a local printer or 2) they print them out on a desktop color printer.

Once I have established what they are doing now my next questions is “how many color copies or prints are you doing per month and year?” Many times my customers don’t really know their true volume so we have to do a little investigative work.

One helpful strategy is listing out on a piece of paper all the different types of color copies and prints they do throughout a year and then listing beside each project the approximate number they do for that project per month and year.

I think it’s important to look at this annually because many times there are printing projects that are only done once or twice a year and the customer tends to forget about those projects if we are only thinking in a monthly context.

In the case of this customer once we listed out all of his annual color printing needs he only did about 500 color prints per year. I consider this a very low color volume.

I advised him that this didn’t justify purchasing a color machine and he should continue to send those jobs out to a printer.

I did also find out that he was sending his jobs mostly to Office Depot. OUCH!! can you say expensive.  I advised him to find a locally owned print shop or go online where in either case the prices would be significantly less than Office Depot or Staples.

In the situation of a company doing thousands of color copies and prints per month I would recommend considering a color copier.

It comes down to doing the math. How many color prints and copies do you do per year times what you pay per copy/print at a local print shop versus what you would pay to do them in house on your own color copier.

Once you know these numbers you have to consider the added cost of a color copier versus a black copier. Your purchase price or lease payment will surely be higher for a color copier than a standard black copier but in many cases it’s worth it.

Another consideration is the time involved in calling a printer, driving there to drop off artwork if necessary and then driving back to the printer to pick up the job. As we all know during the business day Monday-Friday our time is money and I feel this is a legitimate consideration when deciding to buy a color copier or a black copier.

When it comes to local printers I have seen color copies/prints done in the range of 15 to 35 cents each. This is just my experience and your local printer may do them for less.

With a Toshiba copier (which is the brand I sell) you can make a color copy or print for anywhere from 5-10 cents each. Where you would fall in this range depends on what size color copier we are speaking of.

I hope this helps. Please contact me with any copier/printer related questions or to get a competitive quote. I’m always happy to help. You can call me, email me or fill out the easy form below. Thanks for stopping by!

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Copier Service Contracts- What You Really Need to Know- Part 2

January 15, 2013 Leave a comment

Hey it’s Ed Worthington from Action Business Systems-Toshiba Copiers. We are a copier company in Maryland serving the Maryland, Washington DC and Northern Virginia area but this blog is relevant to anyone in the world who buys copiers.

In today’s installment of my Copier Service Contracts series I’d like to talk with you about another thing you really need to know about copier service/maintenance contracts: Automatic Increases.

When I say automatic increases what I mean is that ALL copier service agreements contain in the terms and conditions the ability for the company to increase the cost of the service in specific time increments.

For example the agreement may state that the service fee can go up as much as 5% per year each year. Some people may think that’s too much and some may think that’s reasonable.

My main purpose of this post is to make you aware of the fact that these increases exist in the fine print and to let you know that YOU NEED TO READ THAT FINE PRINT SO YOU DON’T GET RIPPED OFF.

This is particularly relevant to me right now because there is a company I am working with right now whose current copier vendor has a 10% per quarter increase built in. Yes I said 10% per quarter. OUTRAGEOUS!!

This company also just received a check in the tens of thousands of dollars from their current copier company because I exposed that fact that they were being ripped off.

The current vendor not only charged them the 10% per quarter but much more. Can you say SHADY!

You may ask yourself how a copier company can get away with overcharging a small business so badly.

Well I’ll tell you how and it happens all the time. It is because the business Owner/Controller/CFO doesn’t pay attention to the service bill from the copier company and they increase it slowly. They don’t increase it by 30% all at once. But maybe by 5-6% every quarter.

It really starts to add up!

So the first ACTION POINT here is before you sign a copier maintenance agreement read the fine print and if you don’t like what you see, negotiate.

The second action point is to read your copier service bill carefully and watch for increases.

This advice could save you a lot of money in the long run.

If you have any questions about copier service agreements or anything else copier/document management related feel free to call me or fill out the form below and I’ll get right back to you. 443-570-0414 Thanks for stopping by.