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Copier Lease vs Buy: How to Decide if You Should Lease or Buy a Copier for Your Baltimore Business

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

When you are ready to get a new copier for your business there are many good copier companies in the Baltimore metro area to choose from. Once you have selected the copier company one of the first decisions you will have to make is to lease or buy the copier.

Back in the 80’s and 90’s the ratio of buy vs lease was about 50/50.

Today about 80% of businesses, medical practices, and schools (public and private K-12 as well as university) in the Baltimore area lease their copiers.

So why the major increase in the number of leases? The main reason is that technology changes so fast with copier/multifunction devices that it may pay to lease rather than buy.

A copier isn’t a copier anymore. Back in the 80’s and even the 90’s copiers just copied. Today they copy, print, scan, fax, and are an integral part of the document management of a professional office.

With so many businesses attempting to go paperless, the copier/multifunction device becomes a powerful technology tool.

A copier today is a computer that performs multiple document management tasks.

With a lease a business can just budget a certain amount of money for the copier and then every 2-3 years upgrade to a new machine with the latest technology that will help their business become more efficient.

As a bonus to the leasing option, in many cases I save my client money on their new lease due to the fact that technology gets cheaper and more energy efficient.

That’s the scoop on leasing. Now let’s talk about purchasing your copier.

Purchasing your copier also has it’s benefits.

The main benefit is that you save money by not paying fees and interest charges associated with a lease.

Some of my small business clients have expressed that fact that they like to run their business with little or no debt.

Technically a lease is not debt, but you are bound to the terms of the lease so many business owners and professionals consider it the same as having debt.

Another advantage of purchasing a copier is that you can do whatever you want with the copier.

You can keep it for as long as it makes financial sense to do so. With the reliability of today’s technology you could have a machine for several years without having a lease payment.

Also when you purchase a copier you don’t have to return the machine to the leasing company as is the case with most leases.

On the down side of purchasing many small businesses find that $8,000 to $10,000 for a mid to high end machine is a lot of money for to pay up front.

So there you have it. These are the main points to consider when deciding whether to lease or purchase your copier.

As I stated earlier about 80% of my clients lease their copiers for the reasons above.

Whether you lease or buy should be a decision based on your  how you will use the copier/multifunction device as well as your business objectives.

If you have any further questions about leasing or purchasing a copier please feel free to call or email me anytime.

Ed Worthington 443-570-0414 or

5 Steps to Buying The Right Copier for Your Business or Professional Practice

If you or someone you know is in the market for a new copier here is a simple 5 step formula for selecting the right copier for your business or professional practice.

Although my 5 step copier buying formula gives you a good framework for buying a copier your bound to have many more questions.

If that’s the case for you feel free to email me.

I’m happy to help.

Here are the 5 simple steps.

Step 1 is to decide on the speed of the copier. Standard office copier speeds range from 20-85 pages per minute. If you need help in deciding what speed  your copier should be than click over to my post titled, How Fast Does My Copier Really Need To Be?

Here’s the link.

Step 2 is deciding whether you want a copier that prints and copies in color or just in black.

Buying a color copier if you don’t truly need one can be a real drain on your budget.

So before you pull the trigger on a new color copier click the link below and read my post titled, Color Copier, Do You Really Need One?.

Step 3 is deciding what additional accessories you want for your new copier.

There are many options but the main ones are as follows.

1) Does the copier need to be able to fax? This ones easy.

2) How much paper do you need the copier to hold? Based on the amount of printing and copying your office does you may want to add additional paper drawers. Additional copier paper drawers keep users from having to stop frequently to add paper to the copier.

3) What type of copier finishing options do you want to add? Finishing options include things like sorting trays, stapling, folding and booklet making.

In Step 4 you’ll decide whether you are going to lease or purchase the copier.

A large majority of businesses and professional practices lease their copiers. There are many solid business reasons to lease your copiers but sometimes it make sense to purchase your copier outright if you have the means to do so.

For a more in depth study of this question check out my blog post below  titled, Copier Lease vs Buy: How to Decide if You Should or Lease a Copier for Your  Business.

In Step 5 should you choose to lease your new copier, is to choose a lease  type and term of the copier lease.

By lease type I mean whether you are going to do a fair market value copier lease or a dollar buyout copier lease.

For more check out the link below which will take you to my post which explains the 3 types of copier leases.

By lease term I mean the length of the lease. 12, 24, 36, 48, 60 month copier leases are all readily available in today’s highly competitive market.

Obviously the longer the copier lease term the lower your payment will be. The downside is that you will pay more interest and fees on the longer lease.

My recommendation on copier lease length is to go with a 36 month lease for 2 reasons.

1) Technology changes rapidly and new technologies can save your company time and money.

One example of this is toner efficiency. Every year copiers become more and more efficient in their toner use. This is good for you because if you use less toner, you have to buy less toner.  This should lower the cost of your service plan thus saving you money.

This is just one of many examples of how new copier technologies can save your company or professional practice money.

2) The second reason is simple wear and tear.

As copiers get older and get more and more use they will go down more often. Copiers are machines and machines wear down and break down.

One mistake many companies make is taking a 5 year lease on a machine that just barely fits their needs today in terms of speed and maximum total monthly usage.

When these companies begin to grow they naturally make more copies and prints. Now they may have a machine that no longer fits their needs but has 2 years left on the lease.

In addition to having a copier that no longer fits their needs they may also have a copier that is breaking down often because it wasn’t designed to handle  the volumes it’s doing. These frequent breakdowns will result in the copier company raising the service rate to offset their increased costs.

Of course you can upgrade to a new copier but you WILL pay part or all of the money left on your existing lease no matter what the salesperson tells you. No copier company is going to eat 2 years of a lease in order to sell you a new copier.

Any company doing that would be out of business very quickly. It’s just too much money to absorb.

The dirty little secret of the copier industry (much like the car industry) is that they are simply adding the existing lease buyout amount into the new copier lease.

The bottom line is if you’re going to do a 5 year copier lease be sure you’re thinking ahead about how your company may grow. Even if you don’t forecast growth over the next 3-5 years I would recommend buying a faster copier that can handle larger monthly volumes than you think you now need.

It will save you a lot of headaches down the road and it only costs a small amount more per month.

I hope this was helpful. Feel free to contact me with your questions by email or by filling out the form below.

If your located in the Baltimore, Maryland, Washington, DC, or Northern Virginia area feel free to call me for a no obligation quote. I will give you a solid quote with no sales games or pressure. I can be reached at or 443-570-0414.

How Fast Does My Copier Really Need To Be?

November 11, 2012 Leave a comment

One of the questions I get the most and probably the first question you should ask yourself when purchasing a copier is, “how fast does my copier need to be?”.

The speed of the copier you select should be based on the number of copies and prints you will do per month.

Buyer Beware! When reading the manufactures literature they tend to overinflate the number of pages per month that their copiers can handle.

So in order to help with this question I have copied the information below ( how to determine your monthly output and the maximum duty chart) from BLI’s (Buyers Laboratory) website.

BLI is an excellent source of unbiased information for anyone in the process of buying a copier or printer. At the end of this post I have included information on who Buyers Lab is and how to contact them.

How do you determine your monthly output volume?

  • Bills for your service agreement and print shop provide a good snapshot of your current usage; so does a look at your current copier’s meter.
  • Some copier companies use network management utilities that can tell you all the prints, copies, faxes and/or scans sent from the network to your copier or printer.
  • Many dealers also use devices that audit your volume. However, audit tools can sometimes miss devices such as small printers.

The chart below compares the average manufacturers maximum monthly page output vs. what Buyers Lab recommends so you don’t  send your copier to an early grave.

Manufacturers’ Maximum Monthly Duty Cycle vs. BLI’s Optimum Monthly Volume

Monochrome Average Maximum Monthly Duty Cycle BLI’s Optimum Monthly Volume
Up to 20 ppm 19,094 3,600
21 to 30 ppm 50,983 9,000
31 to 40 ppm 123,140 17,000
41 to 49 ppm 145,141 26,500
50 to 59 ppm 259,070 37,250
60 to 69 ppm 314,865 55,000
70 to 79 ppm 347,059 82,000
80 to 89 ppm 530,000 135,000
90 to 99 ppm 750,000 175,000
Color* Average Maximum Monthly Duty Cycle BLI’s Optimum Monthly Volume
16 to 25 ppm 85,879 13,500
26 to 36 ppm 113,101 15,000
37 to 46 ppm 153,278 28,000
46+ ppm 225,306 36,500

* For color models that a have a different speed for color and black modes, the speeds listed are the black speeds.

Hope this helps!

Come back next month when I’ll cover the question, “Should I lease or buy a copier?”.

If you have any copier buying questions please feel free to contact me.

If your business is located in Baltimore, Maryland,  Washington, DC or Northern Virgina and you are in the market for a new or used copier please contact me for a NO OBLIGATION, ABSOLUTELY NO PRESSURE quote.

Ed Worthington- Senior Account Executive

Action Business Systems-Toshiba


Buyer Lab Info:

For over 45 years, Buyers Laboratory (BLI) has been the leading source for unbiased and reliable intelligence for the imaging industry. BLI was founded in 1961 by the late Arthur Kallet, the co-founder and 20-year head of Consumers Union, the publisher of the highly respected Consumer Reports magazine (BLI is not affiliated with Consumers Union). In February 2004, BLI was acquired by publishing industry veterans Michael Danziger and Mark Lerch, the current Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of BLI, respectively. In 2005, BLI launched its international division with offices in Hong Kong and London.

You can reach Buyer Lab on the web at