Have you ever felt as though you were being taken for a ride? No, I’m not talking about one of those long sunset drives along a quiet mountain road in a convertible sports car. I’m talking about a different kind of ride.
I’m talking about a ride that a copier company takes you on. This kind of ride has no sunset and no mountain road, but rather pulls the wool over your eyes while you are cramped up in the boot.
For many schools, it’s difficult to know if you getting a good or honest deal from your copier company or if you are being taken for a ride. Unless you have been in the copier industry, it is very hard to know if you are getting the best possible deal. With this being such a costly investment for schools, SchoolAdvisor decided to dig in and get some input.
We chatted with Seartec to get more concrete input and help you make the best-educated decision when it comes to your next printer. Seartec distributes Sharp products and already has a 4-star rating on SchoolAdvisor with over 21 reviews.
Below are some vital tips we got from them to ensure that you don’t get taken for a ride. We really appreciate their honesty and are thankful to them for giving us all the details:
Get the right machine, the first time.
The copier you buy should match your requirements. Anything over your requirements will add costs, while a below spec copier will result in poor performance as well as possible breakages and increased service requirements. Remember, salespeople might try to ‘upsell’ you, as they work off a commission. The bigger the deal, the more they make.
Seartec offers a free demo in their showrooms or they can offer you a demo of their machines at your school. We really like that they do this.
Know how the copier companies make money
One of the ways to know that you are not being messed around is to understand where they make their money. Everyone needs to make some money, but you want to ensure there are no hidden costs and that you are getting what you pay for.
Here are some of the options, costs, and things to be aware of before signing off on a new quote:
- Copiers can be bought outright – This includes a large capital outlay that some may wish to avoid, but means you have lower expenses in the long term. These costs can be offset as capital and then written off, if you have the money available. Some salespeople might not initially give you this option, but you should ask if this is something you are interested in.
- Leased on a rental agreement – the copier company covers the capital cost and you pay it off monthly, meaning it doesn’t require a capital investment. Monthly costs are higher though, as a fee is paid per month. Think of buying a car and getting the finance through the bank. The benefit is that there is no capital expenditure and you can get the best-suited machine, but you pay for the interest in the long run.
- Copier service can be sold on a cost per copy basis. Each copy is charged to the customer and then when maintenance, service or consumables are required, these are supplied by the service provider.
- Find out what the costs are – You need to find out what the costs for consumables and service calls, toner cartridges, drums, fusers, etc. are – they are variable, depending on the copier.
- We were interested in learning that Seartec offers rental agreements with 0% escalation!
NB Tip: Ask the salesperson what the different options are so that you can compare on a cost per copy basis. You can then easily compare:
- Outright buying – remember to include long-run costs of consumables, service, toners, etc. Ask them to show you the price per copy
- Renting it – does it include service fees?
Keeping an old copier versus buying a new copier
Older copiers can last for a few years before needing to be replaced. The problem is that consumables become difficult to find if models are replaced with newer technology. Service costs will also escalate over time.
If you have bought a copier with the correct specs, Seartec recommend that you upgrade (keeping up with technology) every 4 to 5 years. This may seem like a scheme to get you to keep buying but it actually does help you keep the CPC (cost per copy) rate down and minimize service requirements.
Everyone asks about this one. Did you know that a toner cartridge has a chip installed to alert you when toner levels are low and will stop printing when the toner is depleted?
This chip makes it difficult to refill a toner, as you need to replace or reset the chip to allow the cartridge to continue being used. Some chips cannot be reset and must be replaced. Many companies warn against this, though, as it could damage the machine.
How to ensure that you are not being taken for a ride
So, to remain out of the boot of the car and ensure that you get the best possible copier deal:
1) Get all the terms and conditions and sift through all the information.
2) Bring all the options down to a cost per copy comparison, as mentioned above.
With that in mind, we recommend that you get regular comparisons. Even if you’ve just signed a deal – get a comparison. We also recommend taking the time to get a comparison from Seartec. To make life easier for you, fill in your details below and the team at Seartec will contact you to give you a comparison.
You will quickly find out if you are getting the best deal or not. And remember, never feel bad about requesting a quote – even if you are just using it for a comparison.