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Is it better to buy or lease a copier?

Office Printers: The Facts About Leasing vs. Buying

A laser printer (or digital copier) makes sense for companies with high demand for printing and copying and large workgroups. These tools come in a variety of versions. High-end laser printers/copiers tend to be big in every way: They often take up substantial floor space, support a variety of paper sizes, deal with high print volumes – and often have a big price tag to match. Machines can range from the low-miles to over $10,000.

That can be a big bite of the budget for an individual or a business to break off. And the initial investment does not include a laser printer’s ongoing costs such as toner replacements and paper, nor the unavoidable maintenance and repairs.

The high price points and ongoing maintenance demands have led many small companies to consider leasing their laser printers. Leasing is commonly referred to in the world of printing technology as “managed print services,” which include many products and services beyond the printing press itself.

Leasing a printer: Introducing managed print services

In the traditional sense, you can lease a printer/copier but the concept of leasing has evolved into what industry analysts refer to as managed print services over the last decade. Managed print services go beyond just leasing and take a holistic view of your needs as a printer. This often means that the leasing costs are bundled with maintenance and paper and toner costs so that businesses get an all-in-one lease package.

Big data and IoT went even further in managing print services. Your print use can be tracked down to the departmental level. Managed print services may include equipment, preventive maintenance, on-site assistance, billing and utilization monitoring and more, depending on the manufacturer or supplier. A managed services lease offers a path to streamlined management for organizations with limited IT bandwidth (and it’s just less hassle).

Types of business equipment leases

There are two primary types of business equipment leases: operating leases and capital leases.

Operating leases: Many businesses opt for operating leases, also referred to as fair market value leases, as they offer lower monthly payments than capital leases. If a company purchases a copier or printer operating contract, the machine is actually leased, and the commodity is never added to the lessee’s balance sheet. The lessee has the right to purchase the copier when the contract expires, but the lessor must measure the buyout costs based on terms of arrangement, depreciation, wear and tear, new technologies, and consumer demand. Operating leases generally make the most sense for companies that don’t want the hassle of owning a copier or printer, preferring to lease recent models on an ongoing basis instead.

Capital leases: Capital leases, sometimes called $1 buyout leases, are the less common choice for companies. When a business gets a capital lease for a piece of equipment, it’s more like a loan on the money than rent on the equipment, so the interest and principal to be paid is going towards the copier ‘s cost, and the copier is going to the balance sheet of the lessee.

The monthly rate for a capital lease is higher as it funds 100% of the equipment’s expense. A capital lease, however, provides a benefit to lessees who wish to ultimately buy, since at the point of signing the contract stipulates the buyout cost. Capital leases generally make the most sense for businesses that want to buy and own a printer or copier without making the entire purchase upfront.

By Geraoma - Own work, Public Domain,
By Geraoma – Own work, Public Domain,

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Office Machine Specialists has been servicing and selling office equipment since 1995. A family run business that has dedicated our efforts to providing the best equipment options and after-sales service to our clients. Our goal is to ask the right questions and guide our customers to make smart decisions about new machine leases and purchases.  We were servicing copiers long before the internet was a viable resource, and have transitioned to the digital workflow environment of color printing, scanning, account control and fleet management. With over 20 years in the industry, we have extensive experience with many brands and consider OMS to be a valuable resource to any organization. Contact us for all of your copier needs here!