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Colour copier maintenance contracts

Colour Copiers Buyer's Guide

With the essential role of the photocopier for so many businesses, it is crucial to negotiate a service agreement that meets your requirements in terms of time to repair. Prices for such services agreement may vary considerably from one reseller to another. Ask for quotes for the same level of service to make sure that you can compare between different resellers.

Contract Assumptions
Definitions of your expected copying volume are typically involved in determining the price of service contracts. However, your volume may well vary from one month to another. Be sure to avoid the trap of accepting an unreasonably large minimum copy volume just because you wanted the lower per-copy rate. Conversely, try to make a reasonable estimate of your requirements because going above pre-set limits may also be expensive on a per-copy basis.

It is typically better to opt for a service contract based on annual usage than monthly. This also allows you some margin to manoeuvre if required.

Service contracts can be structured in different ways. You may be able to sign a contract to include photocopier parts and service without supplies, or reduce monthly payments in return for a higher charge per copy.

When comparing quotes from different resellers to compare, make sure that you also receive a full list of what parts are covered in the service contract. From reseller to reseller, this definition of parts may vary. Even if parts that break during use and parts that wear out over time are typically included, this needs to be specified in writing.

Emergency repairs
The service contract should also state if emergency repairs are covered in the price or if this is an extra per-incident charge. For the latter, you need to know in advance what the cost will be. A written commitment on response time and hours of availability is also necessary. Watch out for this if you are planning to use your photocopier in the evenings and at weekends.

Ask if the reseller will lend you a machine if yours is out of action for a significant amount of time. Many resellers will provide a similar or better machine on this temporary basis, but again this must be specified ahead of time.

To avoid ballooning service contract costs, find out what the annual pricing trend has been recently. A maximum of 8% is the typical industry figure.

Who will supply the consumables that you use? Unless you negotiate an all-inclusive contract that covers everything other than paper and staples, consumables like toner generally do not feature in the contract. However, you are not obliged to buy consumables from the reseller who sold you the machine. You may well find that you can economise up to twenty percent by buying from a different source.

It does not hurt to let the reseller know that you're looking around for different sources of supply. This also encourages them to be competitive on their pricing. As a final note, it is illegal for a reseller to claim that you are required to purchase your consumables from them, even if they have sold you the photocopier.

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