How much printing does your business do? In some industries, the volume is so high that it’s hard to put into words. In others, printing happens, but it isn’t the most important part of what a company does. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, every business has an office that needs to handle printing and copying. For that, it helps to have a good copier or all-in-one device on the premises. But, to get your hands on that device, you have to make a decision. Are you going to spend the money on an expensive machine, or will you lease the device? Which is the right choice? These considerations can help you figure out which option is better for your business.

When to Consider Purchasing Outright

Purchasing has advantages. Mainly, it costs less over long periods. Lease agreements are designed to be profitable, so eventually, you will pay more to lease your equipment than buy it. But, that only holds true in some situations. There are hidden costs associated with owning a copier, and considering those can help you make the right choice.

You have the capital.

The biggest difference between purchasing and leasing is the pricing structure. Leasing typically costs more in the long run, but there are no significant upfront costs. Purchasing outright requires you to pay the full price at the start, or at least a large down payment. If you have the liquid funds for those upfront costs, purchasing makes sense. If capital is short, then leasing quickly becomes the better option. If you have to finance the copier and accrue interest, you aren’t saving money over choosing a lease.

You have robust internal IT.

When you own a copier, you are responsible for all of the maintenance and support of the equipment. If you already have IT support that can handle additional equipment, then this extra cost is bearable. If you have to acquire more IT to deal with the copier, leasing will always be the more economical option. That said, you can still purchase and contract for service to save your team time. We will discuss that later.

Your equipment needs are small.

You get regular equipment upgrades that put you on the leading edge of printing and copying technology when you lease. You also spread out the relatively high costs of having top-of-the-line equipment. If you don’t need that kind of arrangement and a simple copier can do the job, then purchasing is much more affordable.

When a Copier Lease Makes Sense

Aside from the bottom line, the pros and cons of leasing vs. purchasing are tied into a few intangibles. These ideas focus more on those intangibles and how they might steer you towards leasing your equipment.

You need high-volume printing.

Every time you use the copier, you add to its wear and tear. The volume of printing in your office determines the copier quality you need. It also determines how long you can reasonably expect the copier to last. Low-volume printing will not prematurely wear your copier, and the purchase makes sense. Conversely, high-volume printing will create equipment turnover, and leasing suddenly becomes the cheaper choice.

Here’s a general rule. If you have to replace the ink in your printer more than three times a year, you’re in the high-volume category.

Financial regularity is a priority.

As mentioned above, the biggest difference between these options is financing. For some businesses, holding capital value in a high-end copier makes sense. For other companies, sticking to a regular budget matters the most. When you own the copier, you will run into irregular expenses for maintenance and eventually replacement. If your lease’s predictable, fixed monthly cost is easier to manage, that really decides for you.

You lack IT expertise or your team simply has more important things to spend their time on

There are two ways a Managed Print Services provider can help businesses that don’t have IT experts. First, by supplying expertise to help you secure the right equipment and make informed choices. Second, by maintaining your equipment and handling support. You don’t have to hire extra IT or spend hundreds of hours learning about printer maintenance and troubleshooting.

Copier Lease or Purchase? Which Is Best for Your Business?

Taking the above concepts, we can boil this decision down to three questions. Each answer will favor purchasing or leasing. When you put them together, it should give you a good idea of which option is best for your business.

What matters more, a regular budget or long-term returns?

Depending on your business’s finances, one of these things is more important to your current operations. Do you value long-term returns or predictable expenses more? Typically, if you’re operating on razor-thin margins, regularity in your budget matters more. If your business regularly makes capital investments, buying makes sense.

Does your staff have time to support the equipment?

If you can’t already support the equipment, purchasing is a losing proposition. Financially, having to pay for extra IT on top of the printer is just too much. It will never balance out, and you will lose money on this option. If you already have sufficient staff to maintain the equipment, then the copier can be a meaningful investment.

What kind of printing and copying does your business need?

Low-end printing at small volumes makes it easy to justify the outright purchase. You won’t need the most expensive machinery, and you can expect your investment to last for years. High-quality or high-volume printing requires significantly more investment in the equipment. The lower lifespan can destroy any financial benefit that might exist in purchasing as opposed to leasing.

Hopefully, these points help you think a little more clearly about how you can source printing equipment for your business. Contact Wisconsin Document Imaging today if you want to take a more direct, detailed, personalized look at your options. Our printer and copier specialists will review your business and make some recommendations to help you get started.