January 31, 2008
- Color copiers are the sexy product that salespeople will want you to buy, but black-and-white copiers are still the mainstay of most offices and far less expensive to operate. Don’t buy more color than you need.
- Take monthly duty cycles with a grain of salt. Use them for comparison purposes only, but don’t expect to get the full page count month in and month out.
- All prices given are list prices (suggested retail price); the reality is that you should be able to buy these products for 25% or more off, if you negotiate.
- Most color copiers now have pretty good color, good enough for office work. If you have more exacting color standards, consider getting a high-end EFI controller or something comparable.
- Cost per page is determined by negotiation with your dealer. That cost may be far more important than the sticker price. Make sure you hammer down guarantees before you sign on the dotted line.
- Service is another area that has to be negotiated before you sign a contract. Make sure you have an agreement on how fast the vendor will respond on site to a copier problem.
- Advanced accounting and permission features are very critical with color, as you’ll want to control unnecessary use of expensive color printing.
- In comparing machine prices, be careful to find out whether printing or scanning functions are included in the base quote. What looks like a bargain may be quite expensive when all the goodies (scanning, PostScript, networking) are added on.
- Color copiers tend to have even shorter runs than black-and-white ones, so it’s easy to pay for more speed than you need.
- Faxing is an expensive option on most copier-multifunctionals, even though it costs vendors relatively little to add it on. It might be more cost effective to buy a standalone fax if you need it.
- Instead of faxing, scanning to email is becoming a far more convenient and efficient solution for document distribution.
- Salespeople will boast that their machines are more productive than same-speed machines from other vendors. Our testing has shown that current machines operate at between 85 and 100% of rated speed. The performance gaps are just not a big issue.
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