Most if not all businesses need a copier. The question is – is it better to buy or lease one?
There are so many points to consider when choosing whether to buy or lease an office copier and we’re going to go into them one by one in this article. By the end, you’d be certain which way is the right way to go for your business.
Once it’s established that you need to acquire a copier for your business, one of the first questions you will have will probably be “What is the best copier brand available?”
When it comes to stocking your business with the perfect fit of technology, brand names do matter.
In Malaysia, the most popular copier brands are
This is important, especially for those who are considering buying a copier. Most copiers last between three to five years, under average circumstances and at maximum, high-end copiers and floor-standing models that are not used often may last up to seven to 10 years.
But, no matter how well a copier is made, it’s just a matter of time before it becomes obsolete or incapable of performing tasks the way new and improved models can.
And, of course, there’s the unavoidable malfunction. Even the best copier is going to require repair or servicing someday.
Copier rental and leasing sound similar and can sometimes be mistaken for the same thing, but they have one main difference which is that renting is for a short-term basis, while leasing is for long-term usage.
So renting is suitable for when you need a copier for an event as opposed to leasing which is what offices opt for.
When it comes to office copier costs, the variation in prices can be rather dramatic. Commercial-grade copiers such as the Xerox Altalink C8055 are often more expensive than you could imagine.
Whether you are buying or leasing, the end price of having a copier installed in your office depends on a few factors which include:
With these factors put into consideration, you know that the price of your copier is mostly up to you.
On the low-end of the spectrum, you can find a small, second-hand desktop copier starting at around RM 2,000++.
On the other end of the spectrum, a high-end, commercial copier can cost as much as RM 60,000 or more. The costs differ by a huge gap so you will have to examine your current process and how you’ll use your devices in the future to decipher the perfect copier for your business.
For leasing, the cost varies based on the type of copier you choose and the length of the lease. Most leases cost between RM 68 and RM 188 monthly but could be much more based on the factors listed earlier.
Before we determine which is cheaper and most effective, let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of both options — starting with leasing.
The most mentioned benefit of leasing is that it has lower out-of-pocket costs as opposed to purchasing a copier or printer outright.
It could cost several hundred or thousands of dollars out of the cash flow to buy a copier and for most small businesses, that’s simply not reasonable.
With leases, you can easily acquire the latest technology without shelling out a lot of cash and enjoy benefits, such as repairs and maintenance being included in the monthly lease fee.
Typically, the longer the lease period is, the smaller the monthly fee will be, but you can choose the lease period that suits your budget best. Your lease period can be as short as 12 months or as long as 60 months or more.
Tips: If you only need to rent a copier for a short project/event, opting for a short-term copier rental is more beneficial.
Companies that offer laser printer and copier leases are usually flexible with lease terms and conditions and require less commitment from their clients in comparison to buying.
Knowing exactly how much you’ll pay each month for the copier is helpful for budgeting purposes and keeping a better eye on your expenses.
With the constant upgrades in technology, this is a huge pro. When your lease term expires, you can trade in your old copier for a newer model with better technology.
If you choose to lease your copier, each leasing fee can be considered an official business expense.
Business expenses like this one can typically be used as a write-off on your yearly taxes, which can help lower your taxable income.
While leasing can be quite cost-efficient, it also has a few downsides which include:
In the long run, you could easily find yourself spending more on leasing a copier than you would have to buy the same one. A RM 2,000 copier could end up costing around RM 5,000 if you spread the payments over five years.
While leasing companies may be flexible with the payment, they’re not as flexible when it comes to breaking your leasing agreement. It’s difficult to get out of a lease, even if your needs change you will have to stick to it until it expires.
Once you sign the agreement, you’re stuck making the payments for the remainder of the term, even if the equipment is not being used. So you’ll need to carefully consider the terms and conditions of the lease before you enter it.
The third and final disadvantage of leasing is that it doesn’t give you ownership of the leased copier. Instead, the device remains the property of the leasing company.
Although some companies offer the opportunity to buy the device at the end of the lease others may request that it be returned at the client’s expense.
Looking asides the major complaint people have when it comes to buying a copier, there are several noteworthy pros of buying a copier which includes:
The immediate ownership and the peace of mind that comes with purchasing is perhaps the most significant benefit of buying one.
Once you purchase it and have it installed in your office, you are free to do whatever you want with it and maintain it in whatever way you see fit.
If you hate excessive paperwork like some of us do, then you’re going to be pleased with this point. Buying a copier is very straightforward. You hand over the cash and the deal is done.
Leasing involves an application process and providing the leasing company with detailed financial information, credit check, and more anxiety-inducing procedures.
Yes, it’s true – the price tag attached to buying a copier makes it difficult for one to imagine that it would cost less in the long run but –
Aside from maintenance, buying such a device is a one-time investment not affected by other conditions so it’s unlikely that the cost increases more than what you pay once.
A common comparison used is that you should think of buying a copier like buying a car: You can save thousands of dollars by paying cash upfront and avoiding interest.
The entire cost of a new equipment purchase is tax-deductible. With a lease, you can only deduct the total amount of the monthly payments for that year.
The act of buying a copier might be an expense, but owning it is an asset. When you purchase a copier, it becomes a part of your business’ equity.
And just like any other asset or equity, it can be liquidated or sold in case you need to insert some funds into your cash flow urgently.
Here are the most prevalent cons of buying a copier:
Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way, shall we? Professional copiers and similar office appliances like laser printers are just ridiculously expensive.
As a result, purchasing one for cash can wipe out a considerable portion of your monthly, quarterly, or even annual revenue. For many small businesses, this is an unwise move to make.
Technology is always changing and newer and better models of devices are constantly being put out. As mentioned earlier, the lifespan of an average copier is 5 years after which you will most likely need to get a new one.
Even if your copier is in perfect condition, it will be outdated by that time. Also, if your copier needs change, you won’t easily be able to replace it.
Remember the comparison we made of buying a copier to buying a car? Just like cars, copiers depreciate over time so if you need to sell it, don’t expect as much money as you spent to purchase it.
In the case of leasing, once the paperwork and stressful parts are over, you simply pay the leasing company and they take care of all the costs and problems that come attached to your copier.
If you own the device, however, you may dodge the paperwork responsibilities but become responsible for all the costs and problems of your copier.
You have to figure out things like how to get the best deal on ink cartridges, finding the most qualified technician to fix it if it has a malfunction and so much more.
As we have established throughout this article, both leasing and buying have their distinct pros and cons but, here is the answer to the question – is it cheaper to lease or buy a copier?
For companies that don’t have room in their budget to spend thousands of dollars at one time, leasing is the cheaper option. While leasing doesn’t grant you the ownership benefits that come with buying a copier, it relieves you of the additional financial responsibilities and gives you easier access to upgrading if your copier needs change.
However, it must be stated that although the upfront expense for leasing is minimal, it is more expensive than purchasing a copier in the long run. For this reason, larger businesses with ample cash flow might benefit more from buying a high-end copier outright.
Overall, leasing is the most cost-effective and convenient option out of the two. In addition to taking a much smaller toll on your cash flow than buying, its true value lies in the convenience that it comes with.
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