Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Print Provider Before Purchasing

Submitted by Byanka Ramos on Fri, 05/03/2024 - 16:01
Woman with printer and paper

You're about to make a big decision for your business by investing in a printer from a printing vendor. With so many options available, it can feel overwhelming. You want to make the right choice that fits your budget, operational needs, and future growth plans. But knowing where to start is hard.  

If you're new to the printing world, it can be even more challenging.

One way to determine if a printing vendor is right for you is by asking them the right questions. But what are the most important questions to ask?

At Strategic Technology Partners of Texas (STPT), we've got your back. For over 35 years, we've been helping our customers navigate the complex world of printing technology. Today, we're sharing the top 10 questions you should ask your printing vendor to make an informed and confident decision.

1. How much will the printer cost and what is the total cost of operation at my volume of use?

The initial price of a printer is important, but it's not the whole story. A good way to estimate how much your printer will cost not only now but in the future is the total cost of operation at your volume of use. The total cost of operation or ownership includes ongoing costs like service/maintenance, and supplies. 

By factoring in your monthly print volume, or the amount you print every month, you can get a better idea of how much you will use and spend on your machine over its lifespan.

Knowing the full financial picture can help you plan your budget better and avoid unexpected costs later on.

For more information on the total cost of operation, check out our blog detailing the price of a printer.  

2. What finance options are available at the time of purchase?

When it comes to purchasing a printer, you've got two main options: buying or leasing.

If you decide to buy, you'll pay the full cost upfront, but you won't have to worry about ongoing payments. Remember, though, that printers (especially multifunction ones) can be pretty pricey.

That's why many vendors offer leasing options, which let you spread out the cost over time with monthly payments.

At the end of the day, your financing choice can have a big impact on your bottom line, so it's important to understand the financial implications of each option. If you're not sure which route to take, we recommend consulting with your accountant to figure out what makes the most sense for your business's financial goals.

Read our blog on 4 Ways You Can Pay for Your Next Printer to learn about common financing options.

3. If I choose to lease, what are the options at the end of the term?

Leasing offers flexibility, but it's essential to know your options once your lease agreement ends. Generally, you will have the choice to purchase the equipment, return it, or explore other alternatives. Whatever you decide, knowing your end-of-term options will help you avoid unexpected costs, such as automatic billing past the agreed lease term.

Waiting until the final month of your lease to make a decision could also result in contractual issues. Therefore, it’s best to plan ahead to ensure that you can make an informed decision about your equipment once your lease ends.

4. What training will be provided upfront and ongoing for my team?

Investing in a new printing solution is only valuable if your team can use it effectively. Ensure that your print vendor will provide comprehensive upfront training and ongoing retraining.

As turnover is normal for businesses, retraining can address any questions or challenges that arise over time. This empowers your team to maximize productivity and efficiency at all times.   

5. What security measures does the brand you choose implement to protect your information?

In an era of increasing cyber threats, safeguarding your sensitive data is essential. Different printer brands or manufacturers approach security differently. You should understand all the security features and protocols implemented by the printer brand or manufacturer to keep your data out of prying eyes.

By being proactive on printer security, you can ensure peace of mind and minimize the likelihood of security breaches.

Learn how you can be proactive in protecting your printer by reading our blog on 4 Tips to Protect Yourself From Cyberattacks

6. If I need service, what services are available in my area? How soon can I expect a response, and how long will the repair take?

There is a good chance that your printer will experience service issues in the future. A faulty printer can affect your productivity.  

Ask about the printer services near you and how long it takes to respond and fix the issue. A print vendor with a fast service repair time will ensure your problems are solved quicker and reduce business interruptions.

7. How reliable will this printer/copier be when used at my volume of use?

Your monthly print volume is one of the most important factors in determining whether a printer is compatible with your needs.

Selecting a printer/copier that can handle your workload and business size is critical. If you choose a machine that's too small, it may need frequent servicing and become unreliable, which may lead to the need for premature replacement. Underbuying can also lead to a higher total cost of ownership.

On the other hand, if you invest in too large a printer, you may spend more than you need to. So, it's important to find the right balance.

8. How will my printer/copier be kept up to date with the latest versions of firmware?

Firmware updates are similar to software patches, enhancing your printer’s performance and addressing vulnerabilities. It's important to understand when and how your printer/copier will receive these updates, much like regular updates on your iPhone or Android.

For more information on why firmware updates are vital to a printer, check out our blog on why you Should Update Your Printer’s Firmware.

9. How much space and what electrical requirements are necessary for the recommended printer/copier?

One of the most common mistakes we’ve seen customers make is not planning for how much space their printer will actually need. Don’t just take into consideration the dimensions or size of the printer.

Your printer needs enough room to operate properly. If you put it in a very small space, such as a closet, you will have more difficulty using it and getting it serviced.

Every printer manufacturer should provide the space and electrical requirements for their machines. These measurements will be bigger than the printer itself, and it is important to know them.

By having the correct space and electrical for your device, you can avoid issues down the line and ensure a longer lifespan for it.

10. What other companies do you have in my area, and can I call them for a reference?

You can get a more balanced perspective of your print vendor by reading reviews and asking about their current customers' experience with them.

Firsthand accounts can reveal a lot about the vendor's reliability, service quality, and customer satisfaction levels.

How can STPT Help?

Navigating the printer purchasing process can be daunting, but armed with the right questions, you can make a confident decision that meets your business needs. By asking about costs, financing options, lease terms, training, and security measures, you'll gain valuable insights into the compatibility of a printing vendor with your organization.

Remember, the best time to ask these questions is during the initial consultation with your printing vendor. Don't hesitate to seek clarification or additional information to ensure you have a full understanding of your options.

At STPT, we're committed to empowering businesses like yours with the knowledge and resources needed to make informed decisions. We’ve created a free downloadable and printable guide to everything you need to know before purchasing or leasing a printer. Click the banner below to access your copy and take the first step toward finding the perfect printing solution for your business.