Copier leases can be a great opportunity for your company--or your worst nightmare. The difference? It all comes down to how well you're able to recognize hidden costs, translate tricky legalese, and negotiate terms that work for you. Luckily, with these savvy tips up your sleeve, you'll be a copier leasing master in no time.
The Basics of Copier Leasing
When you lease a multifunction copier or another piece of office equipment, you're basically entering into a long-term purchase agreement. The "catch" is that, in exchange for allowing you to pay monthly, the dealer charges you interest.
Copier leases come in two basic types:
Fair Market Value
In FMV leases, the dealer charges you the "fair market value" of the device (as determined by the dealer themselves) to own the equipment at the end of the lease or gives you the opportunity to upgrade to a newer model with another contract. If you're looking for low monthly payments, this is usually the best way to go.
At the end of this lease, as the name suggests, you own the equipment for the price of $1. This type of lease has higher finances rates, and you'll end up paying more per month in order to have "paid off" the machine at the end of the contract.
Leasing is a great option when you can't afford to pay the upfront price of a new machine but still want those copies as soon as possible. However, remember that you're spending more than the copier's price-tag for the opportunity to pay monthly.
If leasing is the best choice for your business, the next step is to make sure you're getting the best deal. Here are a few tips that will help make you a savvy shopper!
#1: Ask for the purchase price first.
Monthly payments can quickly become a trap because they seem so easy to manage, especially when you don't take the total cost into account. However, shady dealers will use this opportunity to mark up the real price of the copier--so before you even look at the terms of the lease, ask to see the total purchase price. This will help you make sure you're dealing with the real cost and not a marked-up number.
#2: Use average monthly volume, not duty cycle.
When considering which machine is right for your business, rely on the average monthly volume. This is a measurement of how many pages a copier can print in one average month. Duty cycle, on the other hand, is the maximum number of pages a copier can print in an average month--a measurement that can be used to manipulate you into choosing a more expensive machine than you need.
#3: Know the difference between maintenance and equipment costs.
With a copier lease, you'll be paying for both maintenance on the machine and the machine itself. Don't let the maintenance costs be part of the lease itself, or you'll end up paying more in the long run; instead, pay separately and enjoy a bit more flexibility--for example, in choosing your own repair experts.
#4: Know what you're agreeing to.
Remember the difference between "lease to own" and "lease to upgrade" contracts, and be sure you know what's best for your needs. In most cases, lease to own is the best financial choice, because the existing machine will be paid off and will likely still be meeting your company's needs.
In conclusion, copier leasing can be a great thing for your company--as long as you do a little research and come prepared. Remember never to sign anything before you understand exactly what you're agreeing to, and don't forget to have these savvy tips up your sleeve!
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