Whether you are going to purchase a copy machine or lease it, it’s like buying a new car—you’re going to be using this machine for years and you want to make sure it’s going to last. Then there’s the service contract. Again, like a car you are going to make sure it’s maintained properly so your warranty stays intact.
Do you need a new copy machine or printer due to an increase in business? How about the need for folding, stapling, sorting, etc.? Is the company that’s servicing your copy machine not responding fast enough to meet your expectations? Or is the existing machine on its last leg and ready to be retired?
You could go down to your nearest retailer and pick up what seems to be a great deal on your next printer or copy machine, but we don’t recommend it. It seems like a good deal, but it really isn’t. Check out our article on those retail discounts.
Those questions are what brought you to this decision, but now you need to decide where you’re going to purchase a new copy machine or printer. If you want to get the lowest price, you’re going to need to know who the players are and ask for multiple companies to bid for your business.
Researching the Right Company to Buy From: Who are the players?
You have a couple of different types of companies to choose from. First, there are the copy machine manufacturers. If you live in a fairly large metro area or city, you will probably find that most of the manufacturers have some type of business presence with a sales office including installation and support personnel.
Copy machine Manufacturers:
Here’s a list of some of the best copy machine manufacturers:
Canon: A Japanese company with headquarters in the U.S. as Canon, USA. Canon was an early maker of copy machines. They specialize in optical, imaging, and camera products. They are one of the most popular brands in photocopying.
Konica Minolta: Another Japanese company that began, and is well known, in the photo or camera imaging business. All of their photo copy machines use a single platform called “Bizhub.”
Kyocera: Based in Japan with sales offices all over the US, Kyocera began as a ceramic company that has adapted its ceramics to the manufacturing of copiers based on their ceramic drums. These drums allow Kyocera to offer longer warranties and longer periods between service.
Ricoh: A Tokyo, Japan based company with regional headquarters in the US as Ricoh USA, Inc. for the last 50 years. They introduced the fastest digital color printer (15 pages per minute) in 1990.
Sharp: Known for their consumer electronics. Began making belt buckles in Japan long before copiers. In 1962 they established their first overseas subsidiary in New York City selling home appliances. They are now a leading manufacturer of TVs, microwaves, and copiers.
Xerox: A USA brand and company with headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut. They are a household brand synonymous with the name “copy machine.” They have one of the widest range color copy machine models.
Depending on the size of the city you live in you may also have authorized copy machine dealers. These local companies may represent one or more different copy machine or multi-function printer brands of equipment and have built their business on servicing local businesses providing exceptional price and service.
Local Authorized Copy machine Dealers: A Solid Choice For Your Next Copy machine?
A recent study of hundreds of businesses detailing purchasing decisions for a new copy machine or multi-function printer found the perception was they could receive a better price from a manufacturer than their local dealer, which just isn’t true.
Authorized local dealers and manufacturers all receive the same wholesale price, and in most cases, you can achieve more competitive pricing from a dealer since they have lower overhead.
And when it comes to service, depending on the size of your business, you may find their overall service is better since you may be considered a small fish to the larger businesses in your city.
To learn more about why you might consider purchasing from a local authorized dealer, check out this article. And don’t forget to ask if they have a local showroom. I don’t know about you, but I want to see what I am buying.
Consider These Questions When Looking for the Best Copy Machine Companies
Here’s how you can make sure you are going to be working with the best company. If you ask these questions when speaking to each company, this should give you the answer you are looking for.
Do you have a list of all the features you are expecting your new copy machine to do? If multiple companies bid for your business (which is a great idea to get the best price), make sure you have them all bidding with the same features (speed, cost per copy, stapling, folding, etc.).
Some other important areas to consider about price:
Do they offer both a lease or purchase price?
What’s the total lease price or the total purchase price?
What can your business afford?
What’s the length and the interest rate on the lease?
Is there a buyout at the end of your lease or do you just keep the copy machine or printer?
All copy machines do 3 things: Copy, miss-feed, and jam. You’re going to need a maintenance contract, so what’s that going to cost?
With every purchase or lease of a copy machine you are going to need to pay someone to maintain the hardware. So how do you decide on the best copy machine service company? Well, we have provided you some areas to consider?
What’s the cost of the maintenance contract? How long does it last? And what does it cover?
What’s the cost per copy? Also referred to as the “CPC.”
Are there monthly volume limits for copies (black & white and color)?
How are your monthly volumes reconciled by the company?
Is there a charge for scanning? There usually is since there are moving parts in the scanning mechanism of a copy machine and it’s going to need maintenance over the life time of the copy machine.
Is there a warranty? What does it cover.
The current industry states a standard response time of 2 hours. How long does it take for the company to respond to their current service calls?
What’s the fastest way to contact them when I need service? By phone, email, text message, or fax? Do they have a chat feature on their website? How about after hours service?
Does the company have service metrics on the quality of the service they provide to their current customers and they are willing to share?
How many service technicians do they have to support in your market and how are they trained?
How large is their inventory of parts and equipment?
What other services can a Local Authorized Dealer provide your business?
Looking for more value than just a copy machine?
Does the business provide any other services that you could take advantage of or maybe receive more affordable pricing by combining services? Some local authorized dealers offer other services like:
Phone systems (VoIP and Datacom)
Managed Network Services
Content Management and Security
Strategic Solutions Planning
Managed Document Solutions
So how do you find the best copy machine company in your market? Do your homework. Our customers at AIS have done just that. They ask questions about the price and how many customers and machines we service.
Taking a deeper dive
Here are some more questions that can identify a winner or break a tie. Don’t be afraid to ask these hard hitting questions.
What’s the average time it took to respond to their customers last year?
How accessible is their technical support staff? More specifically, how many different ways can you reach their support team when you have a problem?
How many technicians do they have to service your market and how skilled are they (how many certifications do each of them hold?).
How much inventory each of their service technicians carry on their vehicle at any given time—this is very important to provide you with a quick resolution, to minimize any down time.
Do they support other customers in your same industry? If so, how have they helped them and ask for some references (your competitors may not want you to know how good their copy machine company really is).
What other technology do they use to ensure they are providing you the highest levels of customer service? And what are they reinvesting in their business to support your business over the next 5 years (the normal length of a copy machine contract)?
Ask them what their 'Net Promoter Score (NPS)' is. If they don’t know it, they should. It’s how likely their customers are willing to refer them as a company. It’s a simple question and most serious brands have one. Companies like Netflix, Apple, and Amazon all have scores between 68-75.
By taking a little time and doing your own research, you’ll not only get a very competitive price on your next copy machine or multi-function printer, but you will find the best copy machine company in your market to support your business today and tomorrow which could actually add to the bottom line of your business.
At AIS, our core business line is selling, maintaining, and servicing copy machines. We pride ourselves in our ability to service our clients. Don’t take our word for it. Just contact one of our technology consultants and start a conversation with them today. And make sure you test them. We’re not shy, ask all of the questions above to see how we answer them. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
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.