Ten Questions to Ask When Buying A Copier
Buying a copier for your office is no simple task. With all the different brands, models and types available, it is very easy to become overwhelmed as you gather information. However, to make a smart buying decision on a copier that will benefit your business, you will need to answer these ten questions:
1. What kind of budget do you have? Although everyone would love to have the latest and greatest copier on the market, cost will come into play for most small businesses. Some businesses are able to save money by considering refurbished copiers instead of brand new models. Also, consider which bells and whistles your business really needs from a copier. For example, if you don't need to make color copies, why pay extra dollars for a feature that you won't use in your office?
2. Does your business need other machines in addition to a copier? If your company has other office needs such as a fax machine, a printer or even a scanner, you may want to consider a multifunction machine. These all-in-one devices provide significant savings over buying several different machines at the same time, and their results are great. Another advantage is that these types of machines enable you to upgrade a large portion of your office technology at the same time rather than having to deal with outdated machinery.
3. How many copies do you make a month? Make sure your copier can handle your office workload. To figure out how many copies are produced in your office, take a look at the counter on your current copier. If you don't have a copier, check your receipts from your local copy shop to see how large your production runs are. By figuring out how many copies you make, you will be able to pick a copier which has the speed, capacity and durability to fit your business needs. When you determine what your current usage is, increase that amount by at least 25 percent to accommodate for company growth and to prevent straining the copier with overuse.
4. Do you need color copies? All copiers can duplicate in black and white, but not all of them can copy in color. If you need color copies, you will need to decide between an inkjet and a laser model. Color laser printers tend to be too expensive for most small businesses, but color inkjet copiers can produce laser-like results for a more affordable price. In general, color copiers cost more both for the machine itself and for the toner cartridges. However, color copying is a nice feature to have, especially if your business creates its own brochures, advertisements and presentations. Also, many color copiers can be connected to your computer and used as a color printer.
5. How much space do you have for the copier in your office? The size of the machine can play a big role in which copier you choose. Be sure to allow extra room around the copier to keep supplies such as paper and toner as well as a paper shredder and a trash can. If space is limited, you may want to consider a multifunction machine so you can put your fax, copier and printer all in the same place.
6. How fast does your copier need to be? Everybody is in a hurry these days, but it is important to note that a copier's price is directly related to its amount of copies per minute (cpm). Copying speed can range between four to 100 cpm depending on the machine. The main difference between slow and fast models is whether the copier takes a picture of your original (analog) or if it scans your original into memory (digital). When comparing color versus black and white copiers, color copies take longer to produce than black and white duplicates. Digital copiers are typically faster than analog machines because they only have to scan your original once, regardless of how many copies you need. This also enables you to have identical quality in each of your copies, which isn't always the case with analog machines. Because of these advantages, digital copiers will cost more on average. If you aren't in a rush to copy things, you should be able to save some dollars by choosing an analog model.
7. Do you need to collate and staple your copies? If you make copies such as booklets and reports, you may want to invest in a machine that can sort the copies for you. These types of copiers feature sorting bins on the side that move up and down to collate your copies into individual sets. Many sorters are able to staple your sets as well as fold and/or three-hole punch your copies. Features like this are great if your business has a need for them, but if you want just basic copies you may not need to have these benefits.
8. Do you copy multiple-page documents? If you use your copier primarily for single-sheet copies, all you would need is a flatbed design with a covered glass area where you place originals to be copied. However, if you have copy jobs that require duplicating things such as reports and contracts, you need to get a copier with an automatic document feeder (ADF). By having an ADF, you can copy an entire report at the same time rather than manually putting in each page. Depending on the copier, your document feeder can hold as many as 50 sheets of paper at one time. The feeder also should be able to adjust so you can insert the paper for portrait (8.5" x 11") or landscape copying (11" x 8.5").
9. Do you need to make double-sided copies? If you decide that you need a feeder on your copier, your next question must be whether you make double-sided, or duplex, copies. Duplex copies can be done manually by reinserting your completed copies into the machine, but an easier way is to buy a copier that has a recirculating automatic document feeder (RADF). These types of copiers flip paper over inside the copier so duplicates can be made on the front and back of the sheet. This feature is very desirable if you copy reports often and it helps you save on the amount of paper you use for copy jobs. However, RADF copiers have more complex internal machinery and thus cost more than a standard ADF copier.
10. What type of paper supply do you need? This area that is overlooked often when businesses are buying a copier. When determining paper supply, you need to look at two areas. One is the amount of paper the machine can hold at any one time. Some copiers have only one tray that can hold about 100 sheets while others have multiple sources that can hold a total of over 3,000 sheets. The other area is whether the source can accommodate different paper types. By having multiple trays, you are also able to use different types of paper in one tray such as letterhead, colored paper and overhead slides without having to remove the standard white paper constantly in the other tray. In addition, the trays should be able to adjust and accommodate different sizes of paper such as legal (8.5" x 14") and ledger paper (11" x 17"). By taking the time to consider these questions, you will be able to find the right copier to suit the needs of your small business.
**The descriptions, suggestions, recommendations
and other statements provided by OfficeMax are for informational purposes only.
OfficeMax makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, regarding
any product or product description. OfficeMax shall not be liable for any direct,
indirect or consequential damages arising from use of or reliance upon the descriptions,
suggestions, recommendations or other statements contained on this site.