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Archive for March, 2014

Should You Include Maintenance Plan Costs In Your Copier Lease?

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Recently I met with a prospective copier lease customer located here in Baltimore, Maryland.

The company is what I would consider a mid-sized manufacturing business with 200 employees.

They have 3 copiers and 3 large commercial color printers at their facility.

During our initial meeting I asked the CFO of the company how his billing was set up with his current copier vendor and he informed me that everything was included in his lease.

By everything he meant that the copiers, the printers and the maintenance agreement for all of them were all rolled into one lease.

Just to be clear, when I say maintenance agreement/plan I’m speaking of an agreement that covers toner, all service and repairs as well as preventative maintenance. Basically everything except paper and staples for the copiers and printers.

When I asked the CFO if he’d ever considered having the maintenance agreement billed separately from the lease he looked puzzled.

I explained to him that he was paying interest/leasing fees on the maintenance agreement and that he really didn’t have to do that.

I further explained that all copier companies will bill you separately for your maintenance agreement and that keeps you from paying leasing fees on your copier maintenance plan.

I told him that many copier companies don’t actually hold your lease in-house but instead send it to an outside company. In these cases the leasing company sends you the lease invoice each month for the lease and the copier company will send you the bill for the maintenance plan because they are the ones providing the maintenance.

Then what the CFO said next had me puzzled. He said he likes to keep the copiers, printers and maintenance together in the same lease so he doesn’t have to write 2 checks every month. Huh?

This business does a fairly significant amount of printing and copying so they are paying A LOT of money unnecessarily.

Unlike this CFO many businesses who have the cost of maintenance rolled into their copier lease don’t understand that they’re paying leasing fees on the copier maintenance agreement.

I’ve even had prospective customers tell me that the sales rep of their current vendor told them that there are no fees whatsoever associated with putting maintenance into the lease.

That sounds like a bunch of poo poo to me. There could be many reasons a copier salesperson is encouraging you to do this but my bet is that it benefits the salesperson to do so.

One possibility is that the copier company actually holds the lease in-house and by rolling maintenance plan costs into the lease they make increased profits on that maintenance. Therefore the copier company may be giving the sales rep an increased commission for putting the maintenance costs into the lease.

If the leasing company (whether in-house or not)  is allowing you to have maintenance costs rolled into your copier lease they are charging you for the privilege one way or another.

They are leasing companies, not charities. They didn’t get to be the incredibly profitable entities they are by lending money to businesses for free.

It seemed to me that this CFO was costing his company a boatload of money for the convenience of writing one check per month instead of two. Heck, most copier companies will bill you quarterly or even annually for maintenance so you really don’t even have to write a maintenance check every month.

My advice is to have your maintenance agreement billed separately to avoid unnecessary costs to your business.

If your business is located in Maryland, Washington DC, or Northern Virginia and you would like a competitive quote from a copier salesperson who will tell you the truth (even when it hurts), please fill out the quick easy form below and I would be glad to help.

If you are anywhere else in the United States and would like my recommendation for copier companies in your local area fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you asap.

As always you can also ask me any copier buying question you like and I’ll do my best to give you a solid answer.

Thanks for stopping by. Have fun.

Ed Worthington.     edworthington@outlook.com.                           443-570-0414

 

 

 

 

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How Small Businesses Can Save BIG Money on Copying & Printing Costs

Last week I received a call from a small professional services company located in Bethesda, Maryland. The bottom line of the call was that this company was struggling with declining revenues since 2008 due to the economic downturn and is looking to save money on their copying and printing costs.

My experience in the field tells me that they’re not alone. I seem to be getting more and more calls and emails from small business owners and executives with the same questions and concerns. The owners of these small businesses are feeling uncertain about the future and looking to save money wherever they can.

As a matter of fact, this company wasn’t just looking to save money, they needed to save money to stay in business.

They wanted to know if I could help. I could, and in a BIG way. I’ll explain how I did it in a moment but first here is some important background information.

There are approximately 28 million small businesses (under 500 employees) in America . Approximately 90% of these companies have 20 or less employees and about 96% have 50 employees or less. Chances are pretty good that if you’re reading this you’re one of them.

The bottom line is that there are a lot of  small businesses in America and many of them are unknowingly throwing money away every day by using very inefficient and expensive desktop printers and all-in-one (print,copy, scan, fax) desktop printers. I’m not talking about a few dollars here.  There is much more than that in play here.

I’ve been told by more than one business owner that they’ve always assumed because they have so few employees and do such a small amount of printing and copying that it wouldn’t be cost effective for them to purchase or lease a stand alone copier. That assumption is costing many of them thousands of dollars per year.

When I say thousands I mean that literally. No exaggeration. If that sounds like a lot of money that’s because it is. Especially for a small business.

Many businesses based on the assumptions I listed above go to Staples, Office Depot or go online and purchase multiple desktop printers and/or desktop all-in-one printers.

Although these desktop models are less expensive than a stand alone copier to purchase up front, in the long run they can be considerably more expensive to operate due to the high cost of their consumables such as toner, drums, ect.

It’s important to take a close look at the total cost of ownership of your current copying & printing equipment.

I designed The Copier Cost Comparison Worksheet to give businesses and professional practices like yours a way to assess the monthly cost of your current copier(s)/printer(s) to the cost to the cost of the solution that a prospective vendor is offering.

This worksheet is especially helpful for businesses that are using multiple desktop all-in-one machine like the popular Brother or HP models.

There are many variables that effect the overall costs of copiers and printers so you may have questions about your specific situation. When these questions arise feel free to call me directly or fill out the easy contact form at the bottom of this post.

1) How much do you spend on toner per month for all existing machines? Include all desktop printers and all-in-one printers.

__________

2) How much do you spend per year over the last several years replacing  fax machines, desktop printers and all-in-one devices?  (Divide annual amount by 12)

__________

3) Total Monthly Cost of Existing Copier/Document Management Process (Add lines 1 and 2)

__________

4) Proposed Monthly Investment for Stand Alone Copier (Lease Payment or Purchase Amount Divided by 60 Months)

__________

5) Proposed Monthly Investment for Service Plan on Stand Alone Copier

__________

6) New Monthly Investment for Stand Alone Copier (Add lines 4 and  5)

__________

7) Savings Per Month with Proposed Stand Alone Copier Solution (Subtract line 6 from line 3)

__________

8) Annual Savings with Proposed Stand Alone Copier Solution (Multiply line 7 by 12 months)

__________

9) Savings Over Full Lease Term with Proposed Stand Alone Copier Solution (Multiply line 7  by number of  months of lease term)

__________

Other Considerations:

In addition to the savings shown above, your office staff will now be much more efficient in their daily work. The time invested in repeated workflow processes will be dramatically reduced due to the unique features of a stand alone copier solution. There is a definite savings in cost of man hours due to this increase in office efficiency.

Additionally, if you currently receive a high volume of inbound faxes you can save additional revenues by using the stand alone copier as a fax machine. Each fax printed on a stand alone copier is far less expensive than that of a fax machine.

Also with a stand alone copier you don’t have to print every fax. You can have the faxes routed to an email inbox as a pdf document. Many businesses receive several pages of fax spam per day. You no longer have to pay for toner and paper to print out these advertisements. Just view and delete them right from the an email inbox.

These savings are in addition to the savings on this worksheet.

If your organization is located in the Baltimore, Washington DC, Northern Virginia metro area I’d be happy to perform a cost analysis to see if I can save you money. Chance are good that I can whether you have desktop equipment or stand alone copiers.

It never hurts to get a competitive quote to compare your current vendor to.

If you have any questions feel free to call me or fill out the easy contact form below. Have Fun!

Ed Worthington 443-570-0414