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Buying a Top-Rated Copier May Be Your Worst Decision This Year

Posted by Kirk Studebaker // VP of Sales | Feb 22, 2018 8:00:00 AM

We are fixated on the “best.”

Number 1.

The leading.

Blue ribbon. 

First. 

You get the idea.

If you're looking for a new restaurant to try, typing in “best hamburger joint” into Google works out well. 

When it comes to deciding on which tools to equip your office with, finding the “best” of anything is only part of equation.

For instance, searching for the “best” copier isn't going to entirely answer your question. The best black and white or color copier? The best for a small office or a large office? The best for adding to your office as the center of a digitization effort? The best for cranking out a large volume of copies?

The fact is the “best” copier is the one that does what you need it to do. The best copier helps your business get more done and saves you time. Choosing copiers solely on the basis of a high rating or that it's the “best” because online reviews said so is a mistake.

We provide dozens of copier and printer models from Kyocera, Sharp, KIP, OKI, and Lexmark. The truth, depending on what YOUR office needs, any of them can be the best. 

So before you make the mistake of clicking “buy” for the “best copier” you just found via an online search, at least ask these three simple questions:

Question #1: If my office prints X number of pages a month, will this device fit our needs?

One of the most important factors in choosing the right copier is the volume that you will be printing. If you look on the back of a copier brochure, you will see all kind of technical specifications that can help you determine if that product is right for you.

Two specs in particular are often confused and can lead you to over or under buy - monthly duty cycle and monthly page volume. Maximum monthly duty cycle is the maximum number of pages a device can be expected to deliver in a month without jams or errors. The recommended monthly page volume is the amount your should expect to print each month in order to keep your machine in optimal condition.

Confusing? We think so too.

Think of it in terms of a car that has a speedometer that can reach 180 mph. You wouldn’t drive that car 180 mph every day, all day, would you? If you did, your car would start to have mechanical failures and need more maintenance much sooner than if you didn't drive at max speed. The same goes for copiers and laser printers. 

Let’s say you are considering a device with 20,000 page per month maximum duty cycle. Sounds about right if you know you go through about 4 cases of paper a month right? Wrong.

If you take 20,000 and divide it by 30 (days in a month), you get 666 pages per day. 666 is the maximum number of pages your device could handle printing on occasion, but by no means every day. That would be like driving your vehicle at the highest speed all of the time. You just wouldn’t do that.

Instead, look for the recommended monthly page volume (it will be a lot lower than the daily maximum duty cycle) and make sure that number fits within your office’s needs.

If you still aren’t sure of what you office’s actual print volume might be going into a buying situation, a good rule of thumb is to start by assuming every user prints an average of 35 pages per day. If you want a little more insurance for overages, add 10-15% to your final estimated volume.

Question #2 & #3: How can my users perform basic functions? What additional features should we know about that could save us time and money? 

I'm lumping these questions together because they're related. Many buyers are easily talked into products because of a cool feature their salesperson showed them in a demo. Yet, the reality is that more than half of all features on a device are ever even used. That’s why knowing what your users will be capable and open to using is important in your selection. 

If you do want the latest bells and whistles (because your demo was that cool) be sure to dedicate someone in your office as a key operator to be fully trained on the machine, and be available to other users for troubleshooting and followup training. If they don’t use it, they will lose it. 

Conversely, don't limit yourself to the basics. A good copier sales representative will be able to listen to you and suggest features and functionality you could use, but have never thought of.

Copier and printer selection is not one size fits all. Don’t make the mistake of buying on a rating alone. Buy what makes sense for your office, request a demo, and have a basic understanding of what you might need going into it.   

If you take time to understand the products you are considering, you will actually save time, money, and the headache of buying something that is not capable of supporting your needs.

One way to ensure you acquire the right mix of devices is to actually track your output. Most copiers today have reporting capabilities that are ignored.

Turn on print tracking reports and understand how much you really are printing and copying each month.

Not sure how to do that? We can help – we can even do an in-depth print audit too. 

Want more tips about selecting the right equipment? These posts will help:

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Topics: Optimizing Your Business, Printers and Copiers

Written by Kirk Studebaker // VP of Sales

Kirk has been in the Office Technology sector for 20 years working in the dealer world focused on supporting sales teams. Having worked for Manufacturers and dealers as well as his own entrepreneurial ventures, Kirk is dedicated to the development of people in the sales profession.

Outside of work Kirk has a wife and two children and enjoys being outside whether hunting or horseback riding.