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Should I lease or should I buy, now?

Your business needs a copier. It’s just a fact of having an office. But whether or not you should buy the machine outright or spread the costs out over time with a lease – well, that depends on your individual scenario. We’ve covered this topic on CopierGuide a few times, but it’s such a popular question – and with a plethora of information out there it’s easy to get information-overload. So, let’s break it down.

Purchasing can be a great fit for businesses who want full control over the machine and maintenance, or if your business is small and the leasing options just don’t make sense. Leasing can make the expense more manageable since you’re splitting the costs out on a per-month basis over a year or multiple years. Plus, you’re rarely required to provide a down payment. The bottom line is, leasing a copier is more expensive than purchasing one outright. But there’s more to weigh than just the bottom dollar.

Consider some of the larger purchases you’ve made in your adult life; buying a car or a house for instance. If you had been able to shell out the cash to buy your car, instead of financing, you would have paid less and probably would have been able to negotiate a better deal in the end. Financing has its place in the business world too, but it’s helpful to understand when it’s the right move and when it’s not. It’s a highly personal decision, which is why you’ll find it difficult to get a straight answer as to which is better; to lease or buy.


When does Purchasing Make Sense?

If you are the owner of a new business and are concerned about long term survival, then leasing likely doesn’t make sense. It’s incredibly difficult to get out of a lease. Once you sign the agreement you’re stuck making payments for the remainder of the term, even if the equipment isn’t being used. The alternative to that is purchasing the machine which is a very simple process, at the end of which you own the machine. When you purchase, there’s no contracts or details outlining how your machine can be used – it’s yours to do with as you wish.

Purchasing is the most cost-efficient route since you’re not having to factor in financing, interest, and any other hidden fees that might be added to your lease. The one caveat to that is when considering maintenance on the machine. You’ll undoubtedly need to either replace parts or generally service the machine at some point. Maintenance plans can get pricey and while they are often included in leasing terms they are generally not included when purchasing outright. Of course, just because they’re ‘included’ doesn’t mean you’re not paying for those too. So, whether you lease or buy, it’s a cost you have to consider.

If you’re a smaller business or if you would be making fewer than 700 copies a month you might consider buying an all-in-one copier which is usually a smaller desktop copy machine that can print, copy, scan, and fax – just at slower speeds. There are a lot of options when considering this level of machine, and one of the biggest is the cost per print; read more about how to calculate your cost per print here. Alternatively, there are always used copiers which can save you some significant expense as well and you can often purchase those with a warranty if you with a dealer. Just remember that technology changes quickly and used copiers may not have all the bells and whistles you’d find on a new machine, plus older copiers tend to have higher per-page printing costs.


When does Leasing Make Sense?

Leasing options, your business financial goals, and business history will vary your cost when heading the leasing route. You can read more about the costs of leasing a copier here, but most businesses opt to lease their copiers. It’s incredibly common. Businesses prefer the lower upfront costs often seen with leasing, the predictability of low monthly payments, and options to buy-out or upgrade at the end of a lease. If you’re a larger business or are considering more costly machines, leasing options help you conserve that capital for other business expenditures. Another benefit to leasing is that you’re usually provided an option to upgrade at the end of your lease; meaning it’s easier to pick up the latest-and-greatest machine or technology when your lease expires.

If service agreements are important to you, and they often are, you’re not alone. Most offices are ill-equipped to deal with maintaining this type of equipment so it’s important to seek out a service agreement that fits your needs and budget. It’s one of the biggest factors for leasing over purchasing, actually. In the end, most dealers will work with leasing agencies to include servicing your machine or machines in the agreement, essentially bundling the machine and service as one monthly payment. However, you can absolutely purchase a machine and then purchase a service contract – no leasing required. So don’t let this bundling option fool you into thinking you can’t get a service contract if you purchase instead.


Making a Decision

Generally speaking, the machine’s printing capacity has the largest impact on price. Low-end copiers that print about 20 pages per minute (ppm) start around $1,500. Mid-volume copiers capable of handling up to 35 ppm can cost as much as $10,000. While high-end copiers that can print at or above 60 ppm can cost as much as $50,000 or more.

With hundreds of machines available in each bracket with even more optional add-ons, the most valuable thing you can do to save time and sanity, regardless of whether you choose to purchase or lease, is to get a professional’s help to narrow in on the machine that’s right for you, your staff, and your bottom line. We know just how hard this process can be! Let our partners do the work for you – just fill out the form to the right and our partners will handle the rest.

About Kristen Lance

Kristen is a Marketing VP for a popular B2B software company. She has roughly 15 years of professional photography experience; primarily known for her visually stunning themed portraits. When she's not behind the camera or computer, you can find her creating fun and inspiring children's toys for her Etsy shop, or spending time with her husband and two girls.

One comment

  1. My friend is in need of a printer, but wasn’t sure if he should buy it or lease it. It’s interesting that most businesses like the low upfront cost that comes with leasing a printer. I know that it would be nice for him to be bale to save a little bit of money.

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