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Copier-Multifunction Printer

Should You Buy or Lease a Copier?

WRITTEN BY
Michelle Lievense

A question every company faces sooner or later is whether to buy or lease their copier. Most solopreneurs can get away with a small desktop printer for periodic use. However, for those organizations with regular copying needs, a low-level copier just won’t cut it. That’s why All Copy Products has something to say about whether businesses buy or lease their copiers. In short, knowing the pros and cons of each, leasing and buying, will help any business make the best decision for their unique needs.

The Advantages And Disadvantages of Buying An Office Copier

Leasing versus buying a copier is a crucial decision that can have a long-lasting impact on the bottom line. For those looking at buying their copier outright, there are a few points worth examining before signing on the dotted line.

Purchase Advantages

May be less expensive. Depending on the expected lifetime of the machine, purchased printer benefits may be less expensive. This isn’t always the case, so be sure to crunch those numbers with the help of a qualified All Copy Products sales rep. They’ll be able to calculate the copier's expected lifetime against the maintenance packages that are best suited to the business and usage volume.  

May be able to recoup some of the cost later. From an accounting standpoint, a printer can be depreciated over time. In addition, as long as the company doesn’t wait until their printer is falling apart, they will most likely be able to sell it to recoup some of their initial costs. It’s worth noting that technology is changing all the time, so reselling copiers is not always possible.

A contract-free responsibility. When a company buys its copier, they don’t have to worry about being beholden to a third-party provider, which is attractive to many purchasing departments. However, keep in mind that there will most likely still be a maintenance package that will require some kind of contract. 

Abundant maintenance options for some. Smaller organizations will likely want to go with a maintenance contract that comes from the manufacturer or the company from whom they purchase their copier. Sometimes they’ll call in a nephew’s friend of a friend who once worked on copiers to take a look at their unit when it starts acting up. However, high-volume companies that require several multifunctional copiers will want to go with a maintenance plan that will ensure a fast fix, every time. Sometimes that may mean having the option to go with an independent contractor, which isn’t available to those who are locked into a lease that may limit the source of maintenance providers. 

Tax-deductible. When a copier is purchased rather than leased, the entire cost of the purchase is tax-deductible. When a company leases its copier, they can only deduct the total amount of the monthly payments for the year, rather than the entire purchase amount. 

Purchase Disadvantages

Balloon expenditure. Sometimes, purchasing a copier requires a more significant initial expenditure than a company can manage all at once. Buying the machine may price them out of the maintenance package they need, requiring them to pay for costly maintenance out-of-pocket. 

Replacement costs. Whether the copier becomes obsolete, repairs become too expensive, or the company has outgrown their copier, the time will come when it will need to be replaced. The cost of replacing the machine altogether can be a significant concern for many businesses. 

Multi-location consistency. For those organizations with multiple locations, it may be difficult to maintain cost consistency because the copiers will be different at each location. This also means maintenance costs will fluctuate wildly. When purchasing is centralized, and all locations get the same equipment and same technology, it’s easier to measure successes and failures and budget for each branch. 

Depreciation is capped. Like other equipment and technology, copiers lose their value quickly, making the benefit of being able to sell a copier that is owned outright, less of a benefit.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Leasing an Office Copier

Leasing versus buying is a decision that will be unique to each organization based on its business needs, the team, and their future plans. For those considering a lease, here are a few considerations worth noting before making that contract final. 

Leasing Advantages

Avoid the cost of obsolescence. When deciding whether to lease or buy a copier, one of the largest considerations is obsolescence. Leasing allows any organization to skip the hassle of trying to resell a machine that may be technologically so far behind that it ends up in the landfill rather than earning a new life with another company. This is less of a concern for basic copiers, but anything that is specialized or offers multifunctional benefits will be obsolete more quickly. 

Lower upfront costs. Many organizations will choose to lease because it is less expensive than carrying the weight of a full-blown purchase. This is especially true for smaller businesses with lower access to credit. Leasing can often be one of the only options. 

Low hassle lease. Leasing means the maintenance of the machine often falls on the owner, not the leasee. That means maintenance and lease contracts will carry some sort of guarantee that the copier will work or be replaced. Low hassle also means the organization won’t have to deal with resale and disposal, making the lease option more convenient. 

Predictable finances and budgets. Leasing means the organization will have the same, reliable monthly cost. There won’t be any fluctuations due to maintenance or gearing up for a down payment on a new machine. 

Optional Upgrades. When the lease expires, and sometimes before then, a company will have the option to upgrade their copier to something that will suit their needs. Those who leased something that ended up being a little overkill can downgrade to a unit that will be a better fit. On the other hand, a growing company will be able to effortlessly manage a new copier that suits their every need, rather than being held back by their contract. 

Leasing Disadvantages

It may be more expensive in the long run. This is something that needs to be calculated to know for sure. While leasing can seem more costly because there are always ongoing payments, buying can be just expensive because companies often can’t resell their obsolete technology. They also can’t upgrade with ease or rely on quality maintenance. For smaller printers, leasing may indeed be more expensive.

Locked into a contract with strict terms. Always read the fine print, do the research, and explore all options. Some companies find that they are locked into a long contract with strict terms limiting their options rather than nurturing the growth of their business. It may be difficult to upgrade at the right time or impossible to get out of the contract if needed. Contracts can get expensive, so those companies considering a lease should be sure to do their homework and understand whether the terms of the contract are really something they can live with. 

What Are The Differences Between Buying And Leasing An Office Copier?

The difference between buying and leasing can seem straightforward. However, for many purchasing departments, digging into the advantages and disadvantages, in detail, can make the decision difficult.

Essentially, buying an office copier means the organization is making a single purchase, outright. They own the unit and will be responsible for maintenance, as well as resell or disposal. Sometimes a purchase can be negotiated with a maintenance package, depending on the copier. However, it will often be for basic repairs that fall under a manufacturer's warranty, rather than actual maintenance that ensures a long life. 

Leasing means a third party owns the machine. This can be tricky when it comes time to negotiate contract terms. However, it is often preferred for companies that want a reliable maintenance package, regular upgrades for their growing business, and reliable monthly costs without the hassle of eventually getting rid of obsolete equipment. 

Conclusion: Buy Or Lease An Office Copier?

Every business will want to make the best decision for their budget, current needs, and the foreseeable future of their copy and printing needs. All Copy Products (ACP) is dedicated to ensuring every client gets exactly what they need for their growing business. ACP’s long-time experience gives them insight into what may be best for their clients, now and in the future. They can also help their customers calculate the impact on their bottom line, whether leasing or buying so that they can make an informed decision about their custom copier solution. ACP cares about client satisfaction and builds that into everything they do, whether answering questions, clarifying terms, or helping someone optimize their office solutions for the lowest cost and highest efficiency. 

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