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Copier Service Contracts- Are They Really Necessary?

February 19, 2013 Leave a comment

If you already own a copier or are getting ready to buy one you no doubt have been offered a copier service agreement. These agreements go by many names. The most popular are: copier service agreement, copier service contract, copier maintenance agreement, copier maintenance contract.

Whatever your vendor or potential vendor calls them copier manintenace agreements can strike fear in the heart of copier buyers. No I’m not kidding. People really do get afraid and conflicted. Why? Simple. They don’t want to get ripped off. I don’t blame them. My industry is full of shady characters.

I’m really not sure if the copier industry has more shady characters than any other industry but it sure does seem so.

Recently I wrote a two part series called Copier Service Contracts- What You Really Need to Know. If you didn’t get a chance to read them I would take a moment now and give them a read. Here are the links:

Part 1-  http://wp.me/p23icE-2S

Part 2- http://wp.me/p23icE-6b

The series received a lot of attention but there was one question that kept coming back up in the feedback I recieved. It went something like this: thanks Ed for educating me on how not to get ripped off when I purchase a copier service contract, but do I really need one in the first place?

My answer to that is YES. Let me explain.

First of all I am NOT the kind of person who buys service agreements or extended warranty’s. I was at Best Buy a few weeks ago and bought a monitor for my computer and the guy ringing me up asked if I wanted an extended warranty. It was about an additional 15% more for the warranty. I turned it down. I always do and here’s why.

If you look at these extended warranty’s from a long term view, you as the consumer almost always lose. Why? Because odds are you’ll never need the warranty. They are highly profitable for the company. That’s why the salespeople always push them so hard.

But a copier is an exception to the rule. First let me say that although I sell copiers I make no compensation whatsoever on service agreements. I have no reason to care one way or the other except that I want my clients to be exceedingly happy with their purchase and for me that means that they get a service agreement.

Here are 5 reasons why you need a copier service agreement.

1) For what you get, they are very reasonably priced. As I stated in my previous posts a copier service agreement usually covers everything except your paper and staples. Toner, preventative maintenance, and all repairs including parts and labor.

At my company we don’t charge minimums, we just charge by the number of copies/prints used per month, quarter, or year. Depending on the model of the machine and the number of copies/prints used we charge anywhere from .005 (half a penny) per page on the low end to .008 on the higher end for black prints. Many companies are more expensive than we are but even if you’re paying a penny or a penny and a half in my opinion you are coming out ahead.

Remember this includes everything except paper and staples. Of course copier companies are making a profit even at these low numbers but we are all in business to make a profit right? As you can see with these numbers there can’t possibly be a lot of money made here. The money is made in the volume of pages copied and printed.

2) Preventative maintenance is scheduled and taken care and you don’t have to do a thing. In my opinion this is a really big deal. We are all very busy in our business lives and it’s too much to ask our customers remember at what intervals their copier needs preventative maintenance.

When you have a service agreement your copier company knows when you need a PM (preventative maintenance) call and they will do it automatically. You don’t have to remember anything. This is important because copiers are machines and just like other machines they need to be maintained.

If you think about all the things a modern copier does it’s amazing they don’t have more problems and break downs. One of the reasons they don’t is because many copier companies do a great job of maintaining the machines. It’s actually in their best interest to do so because if they don’t and the machine has a major issue due to wear and tear it will cost the copier company a lot more money than what they would’ve paid for a preventative maintenance. appointment.

3) It locks in your toner, maintenance and repair costs, with a reasonable increase, for the life of the contract. If you don’t have a service agreement the copier manufacturer or dealer can increase the cost of toner, preventative maintenance and repairs any time, and as much as they want.

Furthermore if your copier goes down and you don’t have an agreement the cost of a service call is around $150.00 per hour PLUS parts. If the copier has one serious issue the agreement can pay for itself very quickly.

4) If your copier is down, you are a high priority and should have a guaranteed response time built into your service agreement. This comes in handy because as we all know when the copier goes down a lot of work just can’t get done.

A guaranteed emergency response time may not written in the standard service agreement with all copier companies but you should request it. Read the fine print of the service agreement and if you don’t see anything about it request a guaranteed response time IN WRITING. Also, don’t forget to ask what the penalty is for the copier company if they don’t meet that response time.

For example at my copier company, Action Business Systems-Toshiba here in Baltimore, Maryland we have a guaranteed emergency response time of 4 hours. If we’re not there on time we will credit the customers next service invoice $100.00. It’s a strong guarantee and we stick to it. So should your copier company.

5) Finally, if the copier has a major issue and is down for more than a few business days as part of your service agreement you should get a free loaner, you just pay for the toner used.

Here at my company our guarantee is that if the copier is down for more than two business days we’ll bring in a loaner. You may be thinking there’s not way you could live without your copier for two days but let me reassure you, this pretty much never happens. Most copier break downs can be resolved in a matter of minutes or a few hours at the max.

If you don’t have a service agreement no copier company is going to give you a loaner for free. They may rent you a copier but it’s going to cost you because you’ll pay a rental fee plus a fee for how much toner you have used. Again the free loaner may not be written into the standard service agreement from your copier company but you should negotiate to have it added.

All of the reasons I have listed above and many more add up to three words, PEACE OF MIND. When you purchase a service agreement everything is taken care of and for a very reasonable price. That;s why I think they’re a good idea.

I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email, give me a call or fill out the easy form below. 443-570-0414 If you’re in the Baltimore Maryland, Washington DC or Northern Virginia area I would be happy to give you a competitive quote on your next copier, printer, scanner, commercial document shredder as well as all types of document management software. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a fun day!

 

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