Office copiers can be expensive-and not every company has the cash to purchase a new copier. If your business needs a copier but you’re not sure you can afford to buy, leasing may be a better option. However, leasing isn’t always the best deal in the long run-and not every leasing agreement is beneficial to the lessee. Here are a few things to consider before you decide to lease a copier.
Compare pricing on leasing vs. buying. Many companies decide to lease copiers and other expensive office equipment because it makes cash available that would otherwise have to be used for the purchase price. But leasing isn’t necessarily less expensive than buying. When considering, compare the cost of the purchase price of the copier you’re leasing, its useful life, and its value at the end of that life to the purchase price and value of the equipment at the end of the lease agreement of the leased copier.
Consider the package. Some companies will give you a lease agreement that includes an extended warranty, service contract, and sometimes even toner, paper and other consumables for a single monthly rate. While this might seem like a good deal, it often works out to more than you need to pay-and it makes determining your exact monthly costs for copier consumables and services difficult to do.
Watch out for extra charges. Some companies will charge extra for heavy usage of office equipment. This can be problematic when you’re leasing a copier, as these often undergo very heavy regular use in most offices. Be sure to read the fine print to make sure you’re not going to get charged extra for using the copier as much as you need to.
Is a buy-out lease right for you? Buy-out leases allow the lessee to own the equipment at the end of the lease period. This may or may not be a good thing for your company. At the end of the lease period, you may be stuck with an older copier that has little resale value-heavy usage shortens the life of copiers, and companies often overestimate how long they’ll use the copier. Your dealer may allow you to trade it in for a new copier, but some dealers will mark up the price of new equipment to compensate for the trade-in discount they’ll give you.
Choose the right dealer. When considering a lease, you’ll be entering into a relatively long-term relationship with a dealer. This makes it essential to choose one that’s known for exceptional service. Be sure you choose a dealer with a reputation for fast service, as it can be catastrophic for some businesses to have their copier machines out of commission. Discuss what you need with a dealer, and choose one that can customize a lease agreement to fit your needs and your budget.
Get the shortest-term lease you can afford. Short-term leases tend to cost more than long-term leases, and businesses looking to save money will often choose the long-term lease. When you lease a copier, you’re stuck with that copier until your lease expires-you can’t simply sell your copier and buy a new one, although some leasing companies may allow you to “trade up” for an added cost. Still, technology is advancing every day-and you’ll want flexibility when it comes to major equipment like copiers. To avoid being stuck with an obsolete piece of equipment, get the shortest-term lease your budget allows.
Leasing isn’t the best deal for everyone. But if you’re concerned about having the cash or credit to buy, it’s a good option-especially for start-ups or struggling companies. If you’re considering leasing, be sure to read the fine print on any agreement to ensure you’re not getting charged extra for usage. Choose a company that won’t leave you hanging when it comes to repair-check references if needed to get unbiased reviews of the company’s service. In addition, talk to your dealer representative to create a lease agreement that works for your company-don’t assume you have to take the package the company offers to you, as these can be changed according to your needs. With the right terms, leasing a copier may be a perfect deal for you.