Coming up on the end of your copier or printer lease? Unsure of what the next steps are, or what options you have available to you? There are a couple of different actions that you could take, and you might have already looked at a few, but it’s important to understand each one in order to decide which will benefit your business the most.
Here at Strategic Technology Partners of Texas, we’ve spent the past 30+ years negotiating, renewing, extending, and just about everything else you could do with a copier/printer lease, and we know which methods would best suit certain organizations.
That’s why we’ve written this article to discuss all the options you can choose from at the end of your lease and to help you feel more confident in the relationship you’re building with your print vendor.
What Options Do I Have?
The four main options that you have are to trade in your device, renew your lease for another term, purchase your machine outright, or return the device and not move forward with the same vendor. Each has their own unique attributes that make them better suited for some organizations more than others, so it’s important to know what conditions are set by each option.
Copiers and printers are just like any modern technology- newer versions are released every year, and the older models depreciate in value over time. If you’ve had a machine for over 5 years, it’s likely that you are experiencing more frequent service calls as your machine is probably getting worn out. Then you might start looking for a new, more advanced model.
Even if your machine is working just fine, you should be considering that outdated technology on your network leaves you vulnerable to security risks. You could also be interested in some of the new technology that’s specifically designed to increase productivity and manage workloads. Or you might just want a machine that prints faster than your current model, offers improved quality, and has an expanded set of features.
Regardless of the reason, most businesses opt to trade in their current models for newer ones at the end of their lease. This way they don’t have to deal with the hassle of disposing of the machine themselves, and they can have a new one delivered right to them. Many vendors even offer trade-in discounts or promotions, which could save you a considerable amount of money on a new machine.
If you’re satisfied with your current machine, you also have the option to purchase it outright and have the ownership title transferred to you. In order to continue receiving service on your machine, you’d sign a separate service contract with your copier vendor, so that your maintenance plans don’t change.
Most businesses choose not to purchase their machine after their lease ends, because by then it’s likely that there is newer technology available, and the machine has depreciated in value over time.
The final option is to return the copier to the company that you’ve leased it from. By returning the copier and fulfilling the lease, you are no longer contractually obligated to continue working with that company, and you can choose to switch vendors or source your own machines.
To understand your obligation of return, and whether or not you are responsible for shipping and any charges that may incur, you’ll need to review your lease terms and conditions. Sometimes you will have to ship the machine yourself, or there can be a pickup/collection arrangement. This is something that’s important to discuss at the beginning of the leasing process, so there are no inconvenient surprises later down the line.
If you are coming to the end of the lease and wanting to return your device, it’s important to notify your vendor in advance, typically up to 90 days, to ensure you understand the return process.
What Happens if I Don’t Do Anything?
If no action is taken at the end of your lease, then you go into an extension period, where you continue to make the same monthly payment for a specified period of time, depending on the vendor. For example, here at STPT we switch to a month-by-month basis, and you’ll continue receiving invoices until you've made a decision to upgrade, return, or purchase.
Other companies might handle this differently and could automatically renew you for a term up to 12 months, leaving you stuck with a potentially outdated machine. Because of this, we highly encourage you to understand the terms and conditions when signing a lease, and to plan for the next steps before your lease comes to an end.
Stay Prepared for the End of Your Lease
Leasing remains one of the best options for businesses who want to invest in high-quality, productivity-increasing copiers and printers, but don’t have the budget to purchase them upfront.
At STPT, we aim to provide you as much information and transparency as possible, because an informed customer is a happy customer, especially when it comes to something as detail-oriented as a lease agreement. Now you know exactly what to expect once you’ve reached the end of the lease and all the options you have to choose from.
If you’d like to know more about copier/printer leases in general, read our Comprehensive Guide to Copier Lease Agreements, where you can get a general overview of the entire leasing process.