Printer & Copier Service Agreements in the UK
Buying or leasing a copier or printer can be a time consuming project due to the many different products and service agreements available.
Therefore it is important to read any and all contracts, ensuring you understand the ins and outs, so that you aren’t caught short later on.
This article provides an overview of printer and copier service agreements, so that you understand the terms of what you sign up to.
Where to Start
Initially, it is best to consider how many copies your business makes per month as this will determine a large number of criteria up front. When you know your volume of copies, how often the machine will be used and the budgets available, then this will enable you to decide which size and type of printer or copier is needed.
Photocopiers - To Lease or Buy?
If you are thinking of purchasing a printer or photocopier, it is advisable to look into the cost of adding a service plan, the price of any cartridges and toners, and if you are looking at spending over £1,000 - whether it is financially viable?
Leasing is widely available and is a popular choice for businesses that need a copier, but don’t want to invest in the full cost of a machine up front. In fact, for most businesses, leasing a copier is more cost-effective than buying one anyway. With toner and maintenance included in the monthly lease fee, leasing is a far more effective way of owning a copier.
Service agreements and contracts can be usually be taken out on a 12, 24 or 36 month basis. This can alleviate the worry of costly call out charges and expensive replacement parts that you would face when owning a machine outright.
Nowadays, many office copier machine providers work on a cost per copy or 'click charge' basis, meaning you pay for each copy as you go. This tariff is usually added onto a contract in case you to exceed your inclusive monthly print allowance.
Which Copier Service Agreement?
To have a cost per copy agreement, your machine should be equipped with a meter to record if the copy being made is colour or monochrome, as well as how many prints have been made. This is a good option if your business produces over 1,500 copies per month.
Printers and small photocopiers generally do not have a meter included so a hire or purchase agreement should be in place for maintenance purposes.
How Much Should I Pay?
Black ink prints can cost from 0.5p up to 2p per copy, whilst colour copies can cost anywhere from 5p upwards. These costs are dependent on the size, age and type of machine, the number of copies you intend to make and can also include maintenance costs (including accessories fitted and engineers' wages).
Some agreements include replacement toner powder or ink cartridges but there will be a limit on how much you are entitled to. This may be limited solely to black ink alone and might exclude colour replacements. If you need to check and clarify whether this is the case for your business, you’ll find this information on your contract and service agreement.
Within your service agreement there may also be an agreed minimum monthly page usage or standing charge.
What To Check Before Signing
Different suppliers provide a range of services, some free of charge and others for a cost.
Things that should be included in your service agreements are as follows:
- Spare parts
- Labour as required
- Free call outs
- Repairs within a certain response time
- Regular maintenance and servicing
- Toners (for some suppliers)
Those items not included in service agreements are usually:
- Misuse of machine by operator
- Delivery charges
- Paper, card, labels, etc.
- Accidental damage (though this may be covered by your business insurance)
- Relocating the machine
Before entering into any agreement check that you know:
- What services and maintenance you will receive
- Whether there are any minimum/maximum usage requirements
- Whether any costs will be incurred if limits are exceeded
- The price per page
- Which toners are included
- The cost of purchasing extra toners if necessary
Check the cancellation policy as you may need to give from upwards of 30 days’ notice in order to cancel a contract.
Photocopier Maintenance Agreements
Suppliers can offer a variety of maintenance agreements including pre-pay, technical advice only and flexible maintenance (this being the most popular).
A flexible maintenance agreement is a monthly premium which gives businesses the security of telephone support, guaranteed response times and lower on-site charges.
Service Agreement - Terms and Conditions
Within your agreement you should expect to see the following headings:
Effective Date of Agreement
This should specify the contract start date, length of contract and business involved.
General Scope of Coverage
This will provide information about what level of maintenance service you will get and any exceptions.
Extent of Services
What you should expect from your maintenance provider.
Items not included in your contract.
How long the contract and agreement will run for.
How much you should expect to be charged on your contract and description of invoice arrangements.
Inclusions and exclusions of warranty should be stated.
Compare The Prices
As previously mentioned, having all the necessary information before you start looking for a printer or photocopier for your business is paramount. Not only will this mean getting what is most suitable for you but also in terms of cost efficiency.
Comparing what is currently available is a great starting point and Expert Market is here to help. Simply fill out the form at the top of this page and we will help you find the best photocopier supplier for your business.