Even in today’s world, where most businesses are going digital, the humble copier is still ubiquitous office equipment. Procuring a copy machine for your business may seem like a simple task — at least until you’re finally shopping for one and you realize just how many options there are out there.
Another dilemma that may soon arise is whether or not you should cut out the middleman — a local authorized copier dealer — and just purchase straight from the manufacturer. Let’s take a look at the factors you should consider in your decision.
Quality of Service
Servicing equipment is one of the major concerns of buyers. Having a warranty is one thing; another is having a competent copier technician working on your equipment who will return it to optimal function. So would you be better off with a technician provided by a manufacturer or a copier dealer?
It’s true that the copier manufacturer knows its products inside out because they make them. But all copier technicians are given the necessary training to give them the required skills for servicing copiers. Whether from the manufacturer or dealer, the technicians are all equally qualified to work on your equipment.
And then again, training is one thing; hands-on experience is another. You can be sure that technicians working through dealers are called more often for service and repair, and they have to have the technical know-how to work on different brands and models of copiers. This means purchasing your office copier equipment from a dealer will give you access to more experienced and knowledgeable technicians.
Response time to service requests is also faster when you go through a dealer than through a manufacturer. This is because dealers are easier to reach and, because they are local, they can find and dispatch a technician more promptly. In comparison, calling a manufacturer often means a long wait time, especially when you have to go through an automated system before reaching the correct department and an actual human. Often, the service department may have to first determine if your equipment problem requires personal servicing. And you may have to wait some more while they find a technician nearest to you. Because a copier manufacturer services a wider area, the wait time for servicing equipment may take up to 72 hours.
If your dealer has adequate know-how, they may be able to guide you through basic troubleshooting over the phone. You may even be given a technician’s direct contact info, which is invaluable, especially during an emergency.
Another downside of going through a manufacturer is that the technician they send may not have all the information about your problem, even if you provided details during your initial call. The technician may not carry the right tools or replacements needed, which will cause a further delay in servicing. On the other hand, a dealer knows all the relevant questions to ask about the problem and knows to provide all the necessary information to the technician before dispatching them.
Contrary to popular belief, purchasing directly from a manufacturer does not always mean lower prices. In fact, the opposite may be true in certain circumstances.
In addition to supplying dealers with their products, manufacturers also distribute products to their branch operations for direct selling. But the wholesale price offered to both is actually the same.
Sometimes, the branch operation distributor offers the products at the same standard retail pricing (SRP) as local copier dealers. Other times, branch operations may sell copiers at a higher price than dealers to support the manufacturing process and meet the demand for bulk products.
A local copier dealer does not have to worry about the operational costs of manufacturing. Additionally, most copier dealers purchase from different manufacturers, which gives them the advantage of opting for small profit margins for certain products when they can get higher profits from a different brand.
When you directly deal with a copier manufacturer, you’ll only have access to their brand of office copy machines. On the other hand, a dealer usually has an inventory of different brands of office copy machines.
This means that a dealer will offer you more options and a more customized solution to your specific business needs. As they’re in the business of dealing with a variety of manufacturers, a dealer will also have a more comprehensive knowledge of product features and accessories that they’ll be more than willing to share with you to help you make an informed purchase decision. They may even suggest mixing and matching a copier from one brand with accessories from another brand to offer you the most suitable solution to your needs.
For obvious reasons, most manufacturers will not discuss other brands as they are only concerned about selling theirs. Even if they do mention the competition, they will most likely only do so to highlight why their products are better.
Benefits of Local Dealers
Here are some more reasons you should opt to purchase from a local copier dealer than from a manufacturer.
- Manufacturers often have a national or even global presence. When it comes to social responsibility, their programs also have a wider reach and typically involve charitable organizations/groups that also have a national or global presence. Local dealers, on the other hand, focus on their local community when they engage in “giving back” activities. Going through a local dealer means you’ll know who benefits from their charitable activities.
- A local dealer will want to build and maintain lasting relationships with their clients. To do this, they may assign a dedicated account manager to each client. This means you’ll have a partner — with adequate knowledge and training — who will exclusively work with you any time you have questions or issues.
Hands down, local copier dealers are the better option for a business, whether it’s just a local company or one with branches throughout the state or country.
A manufacturer’s main goal is to sell as many pieces of equipment as possible; this is why they prioritize selling wholesale to dealers. On the other hand, a local dealer is not only focused on sales but also on providing the best service with the goal of building lasting relationships with their clients. After all, these relationships are vital to the life of their business.
A dealer can also offer you a greater and better selection of products from different manufacturers, so you can be sure to find the most suitable solution to your business’ copier needs.