NEED TO KNOW, WHEN BUYING A COPIER IN MINNEAPOLIS – ST. PAUL AREA MN
It has to be an overwhelming process to buy an office copy machine in the Twin Cities. Yellowpages.com lists about 50 copier dealers in Minneapolis – St. Paul area. Trust me, there are many more than that. They all say their service is great, their product is great, the customer is number 1, blah blah blah. How do you decide which company to trust with one of the most vital tools in your business operation? In this blog I’ll talk about what I believe to be the most important factors to consider when making your office copier buying decision. This is only my opinion but it is based on more than 25 years of experience in this industry, specifically in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area.
You should consider a copier dealer that represents more than one manufacturer. Here is the inside scoop on why this is important. Rarely will one brand have excellent performing devices in every copier segment. (Without getting too complicated, consider “segments” like this; a 10 page per minute copier is one segment, a 30 page per minute copier is another segment, a 50 page per minute copier is another and so on.) If you’re dealing with a single brand representative you can only hope that the segment copier you need is not one of their under-performers. Service departments know which devices these are. I have seen many disputes between service departments and sales departments over this. Service doesn’t want that device to be sold because they lose money due to the high maintenance requirements of the under-performing copier. Sales wants to sell it because it is their only option. Sales almost always wins the argument and you end up with a service intensive copier.
Copier dealers that represent multiple brands can pick and choose the best copier for the various segments. Everybody wins!
Response time is important but response time alone is virtually meaningless. The ‘go to’ response (no pun intended) to the response time question is 4 hours or less. Every dealer says this. The other part of the equation that should go hand in hand with response time is “first call fix rate”. Response time only tells you how quickly service responds, not if the problem was resolved. Response time plus “first call fix rate” tells you how quickly you are back up and running. That’s what you really care about. For years there has been an assumption that response time is the indicator of how fast your copier is repaired. It is a factor, but not a true indicator. How fast do they get there and what percentage of the time do they fix it on that first call – that’s what you really want to know.
Always expect the 4 hour response time answer AND always ask for the “first call fix rate”.
Another common request from companies during their due diligence process is for customer references. You know you’ll almost always get references of satisfied customers. Lazy account reps may simply give you names and numbers of accounts that they assume are happy customers. If they assumed wrong, you may actually get a negative assessment from that account. This is rare but can happen. That account rep likely just lost you there. Thorough account reps will know who their happy customers are, probably have long term relationships with them and know they can count on them to give a glowing reference. What have you really learned? Maybe you got some valuable information, maybe not.
Often overlooked is the ability of the copier and the expertise of the dealer’s support staff to integrate into your existing software. I’m not talking about “scan to email” and the basic functionality that all copiers have today. I’m referring more to, for example, native integration into your electronic document management system and other types of back end business systems. Even if you don’t have the need now or don’t even have those types of software systems, will you in the future? Chances are you will be entering into a 3 to 5 year lease commitment for your copier. You need to consider possible future needs. Todays multifunction copiers are capable of so much more than copying, scanning, printing and faxing. They can be an integral part of a total office automation workflow providing efficiencies you may not know exist.
Don’t just decide for now, consider the future – you may be making a long term commitment to that copier.
I ended the last segment with “you may be making a long term commitment”. You don’t have to. Many companies don’t know that and it is understandable. Since I have been in this industry, copiers have been acquired the majority of the time with a 36, 48, or 60 month lease. That’s just how it’s always been. Those who believe their needs may change soon typically go with a 36 month term. Those looking at minimizing cash outflow generally go with 60 month terms. Some split the difference and go with 48 months. Whatever term you choose, if your needs change and you need a different copier, you’re typically stuck. Generally your only option is pay off the existing lease and enter into another one. Usually the lease is paid off by rolling your existing payment obligation into your new lease and financing that debt. Who wants to do that? Sadly, many companies are forced to – they simply have no choice.
Recently and new form of financing your copier has been gaining in popularity. In addressing two of the most important factors of office equipment acquisition, it offers the benefit of lower cash outflow with the ability to change out your copier if your needs change – at any time. Sound too good to be true? It is true and it is available in the Twin Cities right now!
Cash flow benefits AND flexibility. That just makes sense. Copier lease
If you are in the Twin Cities metro area, or west side of WI and would like service or repair in our service area fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.As always feel free to ask me any copier buying or service question and I’ll do my best to give you a solid answer.
Thanks for stopping by.
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT COPIERS OR WOULD LIKE A COPIER OR PRINTER RENTAL QUOTE PLEASE CONTACT ME 763-509-0054