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Should You Lease or Buy Your Next Office Copier? Top Benefits of Each

October 22nd, 2020 | 7 min. read

By Marissa Olson

You’re on deadline and need to send out an important document and make additional copies of the report as soon as possible. So, you go over to your office copier and enter the information. 

You eagerly wait for the copies to start coming out and for the scan to send, but nothing happens. So, you enter the information again—but the copier just isn’t responding. the same thing happens. "This can’t be happening!"

You suddenly remember that your copy machine is almost ten years old, and for the last two years, it's been hanging on for dear life. 

We’ve all been here, and the day has finally come. It's time to get a new copy machine. But now you have to answer a big question: “Should I lease or buy my office copier, and what are the benefits of each?” 

Like any significant office technology purchase, there are advantages and drawbacks to both leasing and purchasing. 

The Printer & /Copier Ultimate Buyer's Guide FREE eBook

To ensure you’re making the best buying decision for your organization and employees, you first must learn the specifics of each option. But how? By assessing your printing and copying needs. 

Stick around; I’ll show you what I’m talking about! 

Lease or Buy Your Office Copier? Here’s How-To Decide

Today, office copiers and multifunction printers (MFPs) can do it all! From printing, copying, scanning, and faxing, to sorting, stapling, and assembling—your copier’s got you covered. 

Many of us consider the copy machine as an outdated piece of technology, taking up precious space in our office. Or, maybe just a commodity that is needed, but there’s never anything new or innovative updates to these devices. However, copiers remain an integral part of most businesses, even as many of us work from home (WFH)

Your office copy machine is a technology solution for your company. If you haven’t heard this before, now is the time to listen up. Purchasing or leasing a high-quality copier or MFP is a decision you’ll make for years to come. So, it’s critical to spend some time learning your options. 

Option #1: Buying Your Office Copier

For some companies, the preferred option for sourcing a new multifunction copier or printer is by purchasing the machine outright. While the upfront costs associated with buying a copier are greater than those with leasing, the return on investment (ROI) may actually make up for it. 

Of course, when we're talking about buying an office copier, we have to talk about the difference between buying a new copy machine and a used one. Both options have their unique advantages. 

For instance, when you buy a brand new office copier, you likely won't have to worry about repair bills or sudden breakdowns for a while—which means fewer unexpected costs for your company and fewer headaches for you! That’s one advantage we can all get behind. 

On the other hand, used copiers come with a significantly reduced price tag. If the copier is in good condition, then purchasing it may turn out to be a better deal than going with a multifunction printer fresh from the factory. 

Partnering with an experienced and well-versed copier provider comes in handy when determining if a new or used MFP is better for your small business and budget. Learn more by reading our article, How to Choose a Reliable Office Copier Company

The Pros of Purchasing An Office Copier

A higher ROI in the long run: Even though purchasing a copier is more expensive at the start, it's almost always the cheaper option. When everything is said and done, you won't have to pay for extra financing charges. 

If your business has enough cash flow to bite the bullet and buy a copier outright, then you could end up saving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in the long run.

Greater flexibility: Many of us forget to consider that if you buy your office copier outright, you can also sell it whenever you see fit. If for some reason, you no longer need it one year, two years, or five years down the road, you have the option to turn around and recoup any potential losses by selling it. 

Plus, you and your team members can copy and print as much as you want without worrying about printing penalties or printing volume guidelines. 

A speedy process: Leasing a copier involves a lot of paperwork and can be a long and drawn-out process. For instance, you will likely need to fill out an application, provide the leasing company with in-depth financial information, and subject your company to a credit check. 

In contrast, nothing can be simpler than buying a copier outright. In most cases, you simply hand over the money and take your new purchase back to the office or schedule the purchase for delivery. 

The Cons of Purchasing An Office Copier

Depreciated value: The value of your copier will depreciate with each passing year. Meaning that if you decide to sell it at a later date, it won't be worth nearly as much as its original price tag. 

Keep in mind; a copy machine is supposed to last you for at least five years. So, selling the machine five years (or more) down the road may not be something you keep on your radar. 

Obsolescence or out-of-date: Think about your smartphone or laptop in the sense that they rarely ever seem new and cool before a newer and cooler edition is released. Even the most advanced copy machine today will likely become obsolete within a few years. 

If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest technological innovations, leasing may be a better option. It's usually much easier to upgrade your copier within the terms of a lease agreement compared to an outright purchase.

Option #2: Leasing Your Office Copier

Most companies decide to lease their copiers, and there could be several reasons for this. Some of these reasons may include a lack of upfront capital, the need for managed print services (MPS), or the desire to upgrade to a new MFP after a few years.

In general, copier leases span from one to five years. As with most leases, payments are made monthly until the expiration of the lease term. At the end of the term, companies typically have three options: 

  1. Return the copier
  2. Purchase the copier
  3. Trade in the copier 

Many leasing companies offer capital leases, or leases with a "$1 buyout.” These are lease agreements that allow companies to purchase their copying equipment at the end of the lease term for $1, provided they pay extra each month of the lease. 

In a sense, a capital lease is like a "loan" that helps a business purchase a copier after paying off the associated interest. 

The Pros of Leasing An Office Copier

A lower upfront expense: Many businesses simply don't have the capital to make one large payment for a new copier, and most leases don't require a down payment. Minimal or no down payment means you can get what you need without breaking the bank.

Predictable costs: It’s so much easier to budget your business expenses each month when you have predictable costs. If a purchased copier breaks down, then it's 100% your responsibility to pay for repairs.

However, many lease agreements include language that clearly defines the scope and costs associated with managed print services. Hence, you'll not only know your monthly lease payments, but you'll also have a good idea of what other services will cost if an unexpected problem arises. 

Leases make it much easier for companies to stick to their allocated budget.

Related: 8 Tips and Tenets for Service Level Agreements

Greater ease of upgrade: At the end of the lease term, you'll be able to trade in your old copier for a newer, faster, and better model. Some leases include automatic upgrades at the end of each cycle, so make sure to ask your copier provider if you’re eligible. 

The Cons of Leasing An Office Copier

Potential higher costs in the long run: In almost every situation, you'll end up paying more for your copier by leasing it than you would have by purchasing it outright. This is especially true if you have a longer lease.

For instance, you could end up paying $10,000 for an $8,000 printer over five years due to financing or interest charges.

Less flexibility: Breaking your lease is sometimes a difficult task. Remember, a lease is a contract you've signed. If you try to break it before the term has expired, you may be subject to significant penalties. Getting out of your copier lease is similar to breaking the lease of your home or car. There are typically additional charges associated that could cost you a pretty penny. 

The Printer & /Copier Ultimate Buyer's Guide FREE eBook

The Final Say: Buying Or Leasing An Office Copier

As you can tell, determining if you should buy or lease your next office copier is something that takes a little time and consideration. There’s a lot that goes into your next purchase, and it’s helpful to know your options based on your specific business requirements. 

AIS is your go-to source when you’re choosing various office technology solutions, such as copiers for your business. We are dedicated to providing knowledge and resources to our readers and customers about the best products and services. If you'd like guidance in which path is best for you, make sure to reach out to us today. We’re here to give you peace of mind to help you win more business.  

Marissa Olson

A true southerner from Atlanta, Georgia, Marissa has always had a strong passion for writing and storytelling. She moved out west in 2018 where she became an expert on all things business technology-related as the Content Producer at AIS. Coupled with her knowledge of SEO best practices, she's been integral in catapulting AIS to the digital forefront of the industry. In her free time, she enjoys sipping wine and hanging out with her rescue-dog, WIllow. Basically, she loves wine and dogs, but not whiny dogs.