Buying a Copier/Printer? Top 6 Things to Consider

Submitted by Mary Shamburger on Fri, 10/07/2022 - 10:00

Did you know that some printers/copiers can range from $1,000-$100,000? 

That makes it all the more significant that you get the right office machine in place for your company the first time around. Because wasting money on an insufficient machine can be significantly costly and frustrating.  

The number one thing you can do to make sure you get the right printer in place for your company is to educate yourself on all you need to consider before purchasing a new machine. 

We’ve accumulated a vast amount of knowledge during our almost 40 years in the printer/copier industry, and thus, have become intimately familiar with all that goes into finding the perfect printer. 

There’s a lot you need to consider, and we’re going to go over the six most important factors that go into buying an office machine.  

We’ve found that considering these six factors before purchasing has yielded successful results for our customers, and we want to share that insight with you today. 

So, let’s not waste any more time. Here are the six things to consider before purchasing a printer/copier: 

1. Which Printer Is Right for You?  

The first thing you must figure out before anything is which printer is right for you. 

….Not exactly breaking news there, I know. There are a ton of elements that go into deciding which printer model is right for you, but it is the most fundamental thing you need to get correct in order to have your printing requirements fulfilled. 

There are four primary things to look for when deciding which particular printer model is right for you. Let’s break them down in more detail:   

Current Print Volume  

Knowing your volume is the most important determinant of which machine is right for you. Your print volume is how much you print or copy in a given month, and this can be found in three different ways:  

  • First, check your current bill. If utilizing a maintenance plan for your current machine, the bill will likely tell you how much you print or copy each month.   

  • The second way to check your volume is to find the current meter count on your machine. This is usually found in the machine settings or on a printed report. Take the meter found and divide it by the number of months you’ve owned that machine. This will provide a close idea of the monthly volume, especially if you purchased the printer new and the meter started at or near zero.   

  • The third way is the easiest but least accurate. If the previous two options aren’t possible, figure out how much paper you go through each month. There are typically 500 pages in a paper ream. 

Once the volume is determined, you’ll be able to align your current or estimated monthly print volume with a machine that is designed to handle that usage.  

You can usually find a machine’s recommended monthly print volume under its basic specifications on a product page. 

Read our blog on why print volume is important for a printer to learn more.  

How Many People Will Be Using the Machine?   

After you figure out your print volume, count how many people will be using the machine on a daily basis. This can be used as another determinator to figure out which machine will be able to handle your usage.  

If more than 5-to-10 employees are using one machine consistently, then you may need to also make room for a backup printer.  

Owning the appropriate number of machines will ensure that there is always a machine running and halt the chances of being without a printer to execute your daily printing processes.  

Accessories Needed   

The next element that goes into finding the right model for you is the accessories you will need to have with your machine.  

This includes the size and type of paper you need to print on, finishing options (staple or hole punch) or other additional accessories, like extra paper trays or a stand.  

Available Space  

The last major step to check off before deciding on which printer is right for you is to make sure you have enough space to accommodate the machine. 

This goes beyond just the base model dimensions of a printer; you need to pay close attention to a machine’s space requirements to see a more accurate estimate of how much space you will need to make for the machine.  

Electrical capacity also needs to be considered on larger machines, especially if it’s a production-style printer.  

Read our blog on space and electrical requirements to learn more about their importance and why they need to be considered before purchasing a printer. 

2. How Much Does It Cost?   

Once you have your ideal machine in mind, you now must figure out how much it costs and how you’re going to pay for it.

The cost of a printer depends on several factors, including:  

  • If the machine is leased or purchased  

  • The type of machine involved 

  • Your monthly print volume 

  • Maintenance and supplies  

  • Additional accessories you might want to add  

  • Installation and training 

The price of an office printer can range from $1,000 to over $100,000, and it’s all dependent on the factors above. 

Read our blog on the cost of a printer/copier to see a full, detailed, breakdown of all that goes into the pricing of an office machine. 

See the infographic below for a basic breakdown of how pricing works if you decided to lease your machine, which is the most common type of purchasing option: 

3. What Do You Do About Maintenance or Service Work?   

If you have gone through the first two sections of this blog, you will likely have figured out exactly what machine you want to buy for your office. But the work doesn’t stop there. 

Once you’ve identified which printer you want to purchase, you now must figure out a service solution for your machine. 

Printers work in a similar way to cars; as the machine ages, service issues tend to arise more frequently. 

This exacerbates the need to have a service solution in place before you get the machine because printer service technicians can charge upwards of $100 an hour---a cost that can add up quickly when the issue is complex. 

If you decide to lease your machine, you will likely be required to have a maintenance agreement on it that covers most service work for your machine. Maintenance plans normally cost around $12 a month, although this can vary depending on the provider. 

If you purchase your machine outright, you can still opt into a maintenance plan to protect against having to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in unexpected service costs for your printer. 

4. How Do You Get Printing Supplies? 

Next up: Supplies. How do you get your printing supplies on a timely basis? 

Believe it or not, overspending on supplies like toner or ink is one of the most common areas of excess consumer spending when it comes to printing. 

You can either buy your own supplies or have them included in a maintenance plan, which means you will likely have access to automatic shipments of toner.  

You can have your toner levels monitored to allow for toner shipments to be automatically delivered to you when the device alerts your provider that your supplies are low. 

Without a maintenance plan, all supplies will need to be manually monitored and ordered. If you’re manually ordering supplies, keep these two best practices in mind: 

  • Be sure to change the toner when it’s completely out, not when it says low toner. 

  • Don’t buy supplies in bulk—if you stock your shelf with supplies for one machine but you decide to get a new machine, you will likely have to buy new supplies because the old supplies won’t be compatible with the newer machine. That means the supplies you bought previously will go to waste. 

If you need other supplies, such as waste containers, drums, and staples, it’s best to manually call your provider and reorder them. These are “long-life” supply items, and thus, shouldn’t be messed with until you need them.  

5. Installation and Training  

After you’ve figured out the service and supply solutions for your machine, you now must get ready to have the machine delivered and installed at your workplace

As we went over previously, you need to make sure you have a place picked out to properly house the machine. 

Once you’ve done that, you may also want to opt for some training on your new printer from a trained professional. 

This is especially true if the machine you bought is an advanced multifunction printer (print, copy, scan and fax) or anything beyond that.  

To get the most out of training, which can usually be included as a part of your agreement for a certain number of employees, make sure to have all of the people that will be using the machine present for it. 

Additional training sessions will likely have to be paid for, so if you need any type of training on your machine, it’s best to get it done close to the day of your delivery, so you know exactly how to use it.  

6. How Do You Maximize Your Printer/Print Environment?  

The last major factor to consider before starting to use your machine is how you’re going to get the most out of your investment. 

You paid a lot of money for your new office machine. It’s important that you get all of the features you need to improve your business’s daily operations. This can include downloading apps for your printer

For example, Xerox (the company we partner with) has an App Gallery of over 70 applications currently listed that includes common apps like Connect for Microsoft 365 or Connect for DocuSign.   

Most brands will have apps that will allow you to connect to a cloud storage service or print from your phone, among other things. Apps are not worth it for every company, but if you need the app’s features and will use it regularly, it could be worth looking into (some apps are also free and most have a free trial period.) 

There are also more expansive services you can include like managed print services or document management software. 

These are optional services that you can opt into to better your overall print environment, especially if you’re buying a lot of new machines and want to make sure that you don’t overspend on printing costs. 

Getting the right printer in place is the most important thing, but if you want to get the most out of your investment, it’s worth looking into some of the different features and services that you can include with your machine.  

Want A Free Guide to Purchasing a Printer? 

Purchasing a new printer/copier is not cheap and you shouldn’t settle for something less than what you desire in your ideal office machine.  

If you follow the six factors discussed in this article, you will be well on your way to buying a machine that will not only last your company for a long time but increase your daily office efficiency as well. 

We’ve worked with thousands of clients spanning multiple industries during our almost four decades in the industry, and we’ve learned that the most satisfied customers are normally the ones that took the time to educate themselves before purchasing. 

This article covered the fundamental factors of purchasing the best printer for you, but there is always more you can learn before making a commitment. 

If you want a more expansive resource for your research, download your free copy of our Complete Guide to Purchasing or Leasing a Printer for Your Business and utilize it as you begin to narrow down your options for your next office machine.