Archive

Posts Tagged ‘how to get the best deal on a copier’

Should You Include Copier Maintenance Plan Costs into Your Copier Lease? Updated

copier : young worker using a copy machine

Back in March of 2014 I wrote a post titled, Should You Include Copier Maintenance Plan Costs in Your Copier Lease?.

At the time I was very against including copier maintenance plan costs (also referred to as a copier service plan) into the lease of the copier.

I noted that in many cases the reason the copier buyer does this is for the convenience of having to write only one check while some copier companies may be motivated by the fact that they can get interest and fees on the maintenance plan costs whereas if the maintenance plan is billed separately they don’t.

Please note that I said “some” copier companies may be motivated by interest and fees on the service plan. I don’t want to paint the whole industry with a broad brush. That really wouldn’t be fair.

While I still feel that it’s generally a bad idea to add the service cost to the lease I have discovered a new way to go about this.

A way that you can combine the lease and the service agreement together without paying ANY interest or fees of any kind on the service. The best of both worlds.

It’s called a pass-through. The reason it’s called a pass-through is that the leasing company will accept their monthly payment from the business who leased the copier and then  pass the copier service/copier maintenance agreement portion of the payment back to the local copier company who sold the machine and performs the service/maintenance on the machine.

This is done without you the customer paying any fees whatsoever to the leasing company for passing the payment to the local copier company.

This can be a little confusing so I’ll sum up the whole process for you.

When you lease your new copier you purchase a service agreement on the copier.

A copier service agreement covers toner, repairs (including parts and labor) and preventative maintenance. All you have to do is buy paper. Everything else is covered.

When is comes to billing some copier companies will add the service/maintenance costs to the lease. The problem with this is that you are paying interest and fees on the service plan.

It doesn’t have to happen this way because the copier company who sold you the copier and will service the copier can bill you separately for the copier service agreement.

In other words you pay the leasing company their payment for the copier and write a separate check to the local copier company for the service plan on the copier because they will be performing the service on your copier.

Many copier buyers love the convenience of making only one payment but don’t want to pay interest and fees on the service plan if they don’t have to.

This is where the pass-through comes in.

The leasing company sends the customer one monthly bill which includes the copier and the service agreement and then passes the service plan portion of the payment back to the local copier company.

The copier buyer is happy because they only had to cut one check.

It’s a great service that provides the best of both worlds for the copier buyer.

I now offer this single payment service to my customers here at my copier company in Baltimore so if you are in Maryland, DC, Northern Virginia or Delaware and 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 honest copier companies in your local area fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you with the names of some trusted companies.

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

Thanks for stopping by. Have fun.

Ed Worthington

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Copier Data Security: Prevent Copier Identity Theft: A Guide for Business

October 7, 2013 Leave a comment

One question that I constantly get from my clients is how to secure the sensitive data on their copier.

I recently discovered this guide online and I thought that it was great information.

Please read this carefully and apply it to your business as best you can.

Copier Data Security: A Guide for Businesses

Federal Trade Commission | business.ftc.gov

Does your company keep sensitive data — Social Security numbers, credit reports, account numbers, health records, or business secrets? If so, then you’ve probably instituted safeguards to protect that information, whether it’s stored in computers or on paper. That’s not only good business, but may be required by law.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, your information security plans also should cover the digital copiers your company uses. If the data on your copiers gets into the wrong hands, it could lead to fraud and identity theft.

Digital Copiers are Computers

Commercial copiers have come a long way. Today’s generation of networked multifunction devices — known as “digital copiers” — are “smart” machines that are used to copy, print, scan, fax and email documents. Digital copiers require hard disk drives to manage incoming jobs and workloads, and to increase the speed of production. But not every copier on the market is digital: generally, copiers intended for business have hard drives, while copiers intended for personal or home office use do not.
The hard drive in a digital copier stores data about the documents it copies, prints, scans, faxes or emails. If you don’t take steps to protect that data, it can be stolen from the hard drive, either by remote access or by extracting the data once the drive has been removed.
Digital copiers store different types of information in different ways. For example, photocopied images are more difficult to access directly from the hard drive than documents that are faxed, scanned or printed on the copier.

The Life-Cycle of a Copier

Copiers often are leased, returned, and then leased again or sold. It’s important to know how to secure data that may be retained on a copier hard drive, and what to do with a hard drive when you return a leased copier or dispose of one you own.
It’s wise to build in data security for each stage of your digital copier’s life-cycle: when you plan to acquire a device, when you buy or lease, while you use it, and when you turn it in or dispose of it.

Before you acquire a copier:

Make sure it’s included in your organization’s information security policies. Copiers should be managed and maintained by your organization’s IT staff. Employees who have expertise and responsibility for securing your computers and servers also should have responsibility for securing data stored on your digital copiers.

When you buy or lease a copier:

Evaluate your options for securing the data on the device. Most manufacturers offer data security features with their copiers, either as standard equipment or as optional add-on kits. Typically, these features involve encryption and overwriting.

Encryption is the scrambling of data using a secret code that can be read only by particular software. Digital copiers that offer encryption encode the data stored on the hard drive so that it cannot be retrieved even if the hard drive is removed from the machine.

Overwriting — also known as file wiping or shredding — changes the values of the bits on the disk that make up a file by overwriting existing data with random characters. By overwriting the disk space that the file occupied, its traces are removed, and the file can’t be reconstructed as easily.
Depending on the copier, the overwriting feature may allow a user to overwrite after every job run, periodically to clean out the memory, or on a preset schedule. Users may be able to set the number of times data is overwritten — generally, the more times the data is overwritten, the safer it is from being retrieved. However, for speed and convenience, some printers let you save documents (for example, a personnel leave slip) and print them straight from the printer hard drive without having to retrieve the file from your computer. For copiers that offer this feature, the memory is not overwritten with the rest of the memory. Users should be aware that these documents are still available.
Overwriting is different from deleting or reformatting. Deleting data or reformatting the hard drive doesn’t actually alter or remove the data, but rather alters how the hard drive finds the data and combines it to make files: The data remains and may be recovered through a variety of utility software programs.
Yet another layer of security that can be added involves the ability to lock the hard drives using a passcode; this means that the data is protected, even if the drive is removed from the machine.
Finally, think ahead to how you will dispose of the data that accumulates on the copier over time. Check that your lease contract or purchase agreement states that your company will retain ownership of all hard drives at end-of-life, or that the company providing the copier will overwrite the hard drive.

When you use the copier:

Take advantage of all its security features. Securely overwrite the entire hard drive at least once a month.
If your current device doesn’t have security features, think about how you will integrate the next device you lease or purchase into your information security plans. Plan now for how you will dispose of the copier securely. For example, you may want to consider placing a sticker or placard on the machine that says: “Warning: this copier uses a hard drive that must be physically destroyed before turn-in or disposal.” This will inform users of the security issues, and remind them of the appropriate procedures when the machine reaches the end of its usable life.
In addition, your organization’s IT staff should make sure digital copiers connected to your network are securely integrated. Just like computers and servers that store sensitive information, networked copiers should be protected against outside intrusions and attacks.

When you finish using the copier:

Check with the manufacturer, dealer, or servicing company for options on securing the hard drive. The company may offer services that will remove the hard drive and return it to you, so you can keep it, dispose of it, or destroy it yourself. Others may overwrite the hard drive for you. Typically, these services involve an additional fee, though you may be able to negotiate for a lower cost if you are leasing or buying a new machine.

One cautionary note about removing a hard drive from a di gital copier on your own: hard drives in digital copiers often include required firmware that enables the device to operate. Removingand destroying the hard drive without being able to replace the firmware can render the machine inoperable, which may present problems if you lease the device. Also, hard drives aren’t always easy to find, and some devices may have more than one. Generally, it is advisable to work with skilled technicians rather than to remove the hard drive on your own.

For More Information

To learn more about securing sensitive data, in general, read Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business at ftc.gov/infosecurity.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair practices in the marketplace and to provide information to businesses to help them comply with the law. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Watch a new video, How to File a Complaint, at ftc.gov/video to learn more. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Opportunity to Comment
The National Small Business Ombudsman and 10 Regional Fairness Boards collect comments from small businesses about federal compliance and enforcement activities. Each year, the Ombudsman evaluates the conduct of these activities and rates each agency’s responsiveness to small businesses. Small businesses can comment to the Ombudsman without fear of reprisal. To comment, call toll-free 1-888-REGFAIR (1-888-734-3247) or go to sba.gov/ombudsman.
Protecting Sensitive Information: Your Legal Responsibility
The FTC’s standard for information security recognizes that businesses have a variety of needs and emphasizes flexibility: Companies must maintain reasonable procedures to protect sensitive information. Whether your security practices are reasonable depends on the nature and size of your business, the types of information you have, the security tools available to you based on your resources, and the risks you are likely to face.
Depending on the information your business stores, transmits, or receives, you also may have more specific compliance obligations. For example, if you receive consumer information, like credit reports or employee background screens, you may be required to follow the Disposal Rule, which requires a company to properly dispose of any such information stored on its digital copier, just as it would properly dispose of paper information or information stored on computers. Similarly, financial institutions may be required to follow the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Safeguards Rule, which requires a security plan to protect the confidentiality and integrity of personal consumer information, including information stored on digital copiers.
business.ftc.gov

Copier Troubleshooting Guide

For those of you who work with copiers everyday issues like jamming, lines on the paper, ect can be very frustrating. Check out this Copier Troubleshooting Guide. It was put together by a trainer in our office here in Baltimore, Maryland. She has lots of experience and knows what she is talking about.

Copier Troubleshooting Guide

Should You Buy Used Copiers for Your Baltimore Business

One of the questions I get regularly from my clients and prospects is, “do you have any used copiers for sale?’

The answer is always yes.

Here at my company we always have used machines coming in that are just off lease.

I would assume this is true for most copier companies, not just us.

The real question is, are used copiers a good deal or is it best to lease or purchase a brand now copier/multi-Function device.

The answer is yes, used copiers can be a fantastic deal. Like most technology products, copiers are constantly being upgraded by adding new features and improving efficiency.

Because of this, you can get some good deals on off-lease machines with under 100,000 copies/prints on them.

Here at my company we sell Toshiba copiers. For a Toshiba machine 100,000 copies is a very low volume. In other words, I would not hesitate for a second to sell my client a Toshiba copier with that volume of copies on it.

I would consider this a machine with many, many years of usefulness left on it.

The bottom line is you have to take in consideration your business copy/print volume and then decide if a used machine is right for you.

If you are a high volume user, I may suggest you lean towards a new machine, but for the average small office a used machine may be a perfect fit for your budget and your needs.

Here at my office we have several used Toshiba e-Studio Copiers that start at around $1,500.00.

These are great prices for really solid Toshiba Copiers.

So in summary, yes you can buy a used copier and get a solid machine at a great price.

If you have questions about copiers or would like a quote on a new or used copier please contact me, Ed Worthington at 443-570-0414 or eworthington@abscare.com

How to Reduce Copier Jamming Due to Humidity

Copier jamming is one of the biggest frustrations in an office environment.

Unknown to many office workers is the fact that humidity is a major cause of jamming.

Humidity in your office can cause paper being stored in a supply closet or in the copier drawers themselves to become damp, therefore, making the paper thicker which can cause jamming.

Also if the paper is damp the small wheels that move the paper through the machine may not be able to get traction on the paper causing it to jam.

If you hold the paper in your hand you really can’t tell it’s damp by the touch, but it is.

If you pick up a ream of paper sometimes you can actually tell if it’s damp because it feels a little heavier than a dry ream.

This is one indicator that you may have a humidity problem in the office.

If you have this problem here are some ideas for being proactive with the issue:

1) Put a dehumidifier in office, preferably near where the paper is stored. If the paper is stored in a supply room or closet put the dehumidifier in there if at all possible. This will greatly reduce the amount of humidity in the air.

2) If you open a ream of paper try to reseal it as best as possible. Rather than open an entire end of the package as    the package indicates just make a small slit and pull the paper out as needed. If possible put the leftover paper (still in the plastic that you made the slit in) back in the box it came in for storage.

3) Keep boxes (sometimes called cases) off of the ground. Put them on a shelf or on some type of pallet to keep them off the ground where there tends to be more moisture.

4) Try not to fill the copier drawers with paper if it isn’t going to be used within the next couple of days. Paper that sits inside the copier drawers will soak up humidity because the copier drawers are not airtight.

I hope these tips help.

If you have any copier or printer questions please feel free to call or email me and I’ll get back to you asap.

Also if your company is in the market for a copier, printer, or document shredder please contact me for a competitive quote.

In the months of February and March 2013 we are offering a free gift of an Apple iPad, a Toshiba thrive Tablet, a Toshiba laptop, or a 40″ Toshiba flat screen TV on qualifying copier purchases. Please contact me for details.

Ed Worthington, Action Business Systems-Toshiba 443-570-0414  eworthington@abscare.com

Copier Leasing Options for Baltimore Businesses- The 3 Types of Copier Leases

February 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Once you’ve decided to invest in a new copier for your business in Baltimore your next step is to decide whether you’d like to purchase or lease the copier. For tips and information on how to make that decision click over to our article titled “How to Decide if You Should Buy or Lease a Copier for Your Baltimore Businesses”.

If you have decided to lease a copier for your business there are only 3 lease options to choose from and these days only 2 options are truly relevant.

The 3 types of copier leases are:

Fair Market Value– The most common of all copier leases. The way that this lease works is that at the end of the lease term the leasing company will tell you what the fair market value of that machine is and then you can buy it from them for that amount of money.

$1 Buyout Lease– The next most common type of lease. The $1 buyout lease means that at at the end of the lease term you can “buyout” the copier from the leasing company. Now you may be wondering why you would choose any other type of lease over this one. The answer is that this lease will cost you more than the others in interest and fees during the life of the lease. The leasing company will get their money one way or the other.

10% Lease– The least common and very rarely used kind of copier lease.

Which type of lease you choose should be based on your situation and companies needs.

If you have further questions about copier leasing and you would like to speak to a copier leasing expert please contact me, Ed Worthington at 443-570-0414.

How to Decide if You Should Buy a Color or Black Copy Machine for Your Baltimore Business

January 23, 2012 2 comments

Once you have decided to buy or lease a new copier one of the first decisions you have to make is if you are going to buy a black or color machine.

One one hand the color machines today produce stunning color and clarity, on the other hand they do cost more in the initial cost of the equipment as well as the long term cost of color toner…..well, maybe.

In today’s tough business environment every dollar counts so here is a great question to ask yourself to help you decide whether you should purchase a color or black machine.

Do you currently print color documents on a desktop inkjet or laser color printer  like a Brother,  HP or Lexmark?

If you currently print color documents on a desktop printer this may be an indication that you should go with a color machine.

The toner cost on a desktop color printer is very expensive per print compared to what you would pay for a print from a copier/multi-function device. Typically a color print from a desktop printer can run you anywhere between 14 cents to 25 cents PER PRINT!

At my company here in Baltimore Maryland we sell Toshiba, Lexmark, and HP machines. An average cost per color print for our muti-function devices is between 6 cents and 9 cents per print.

As you can see if you are printing a lot of color pages now with a desktop printer this can really add up to a lot of savings, especially if you look at it over a year or 5 years.

Example: Lets say you currently print  500 color pages per month on your desktop. At 20 cents per page you are looking at $100.00 per month in toner costs.

If you were to purchase a multi-function device you would be paying around 6 cents per print for a total of $30.00.

That’s a difference of $70 per month or $840.00 per year or $4,200.00 over 5 years.

Over time the copier will pay for itself in the cost of color toner alone.

Not to mention the cost savings on black toner and not having to print out faxes (more on this in another post).

This example is based on 500 pages per month which is acutally a very conservative number. Most of my clients, even very small businesses, print far more than 500 color pages per month.

If you do the math on 2,000 color pages per month (not unusual) you would save $2,800.00 per month, $3,360.00 per year, $16,800.00 in 5 years.

This can add up to BIG money.

If you print any kind of color marketing materials in house now with a desktop machine you are almost guaranteed to save money with a color copier/MFD.

The bottom line is before you decide to purchase a color or black machine be sure to do the math on your current color volumes and see what makes sense for you.

If you would like a free cost analysis like the one above please contact me, Ed Worthington at 443-570-0414 or eworthington@abscare.com.