Choosing a Copier for Your Home Business

by Rich on April 15, 2010

laser toner cartridgesHome businesses have special requirements when it comes to choosing the right copier. You may need a machine that can copy high volumes of text on an ongoing basis or copy beautiful graphics for your next direct mail campaign—but you also need a machine that doesn’t take up a lot of space and doesn’t cost a lot when it comes to consumables. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to choosing a copier for your home business.

Consider the space. How much space do you have available for a copier? If you’re like a lot of people who run businesses out of their homes, the answer is probably not much. The rest of your family may have something to say about the enormous copier wedged into the dining room or the living room—because there wasn’t enough room for it in your office.

A large copier may not be the best thing for your home business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a copier. There are plenty of brands out there that make desktop copiers that take up a small amount of space—but can still handle business-level copying tasks.

Consider the other equipment you need. Do you also need a printer, fax machine and scanner? If so, you’ll take up much less space if you buy an all-in-one machine that offers several different capabilities at once. There are all-in-ones out there that can copy, fax, print and scan relatively high volume documents with good photo and document quality.

Consider what you need it to do.
Do you need to copy photos or brochure-quality graphics? Do you need to copy extremely long documents, such as complicated business proposals? Or are your copying needs simpler? Many desktop copiers and all-in-one machines can’t conveniently handle large documents, so be sure you know a smaller machine’s capabilities before you buy it. Also, bear in mind inkjet copiers are much better for photo-quality graphics, while laser copiers are better for speed, ongoing cost efficiency and text copying.

Consider cost-effectiveness. Your copier doesn’t just need to fit your budget when you buy it. It’s also got to fit your overall budget on an ongoing basis. Many cheaper machines will break the bank when it comes to ink and toner costs. For a more cost-effective machine, try a laser copier—they cost more up front, but the cost of consumables tends to be less. Also research the cost of paper—especially if you’re copying a high volume of documents—and the amount of energy the machine uses, as some copiers can add noticeably to your electric bill.

Consider capacity. Chances are you don’t have time to feed individual sheets of a long document into the copier feeder. Depending on what you’re likely to need, look for a copier that has a paper capacity of at least 250 sheets—minimum. You should also consider buying a machine that can handle at least 30 sheets in its automatic document feeder.

Consider speed. You may not use your copier for several hours, several days or several weeks—depending on the size of your office and whether there are other employees there who have to copy documents. You don’t want to have to wait a long time for your copier to warm up every time you turn it on. Look for a copier that can warm up in ten seconds or less—as well as one that can copy relatively fast.

Consider duplexing. Do you need a copier that can also fold, staple, and arrange papers in a certain order as they’re being copied? This feature can save you a lot of time, if you’re regularly copying out complex documents that need to be collated in a certain way.

Not every copier is created equally when it comes to meeting the needs of home businesses. Be sure you know what your needs are when it comes to a copier—and look for a machine that can meet those needs in a cost-efficient way while not taking up too much space in your home. If you do, you should be able to find a copier that suits your requirements—and the requirements of your home business.

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