On Average, copiers have a life-span of about seven years. After that, manufactures aren’t on the hook for replacement parts, and trying to prop up an old machine on your own is more trouble than it’s worth.
So, what are your options as a nonprofit when funds are difficult to come by and you’re in need of a new copier?
Obviously, the ideal way to do this is to have it funded, but that takes time and there are no guarantees that you will be able to raise money when funders are often more interested in directly supporting the mission. A second way is to obtain a low-interest loan from your bank. The third option is to lease a copier, which is like leasing a car, only instead of a car, you get a copier!
Before you begin the RFP process, carefully assess your organization’s needs, and be sure to include them. On average, how many copies are made every month? Do you need color copies? Expect to pay about 25% more for those. Will you use the machine to scan and/or fax documents? Do you need to print large quantities that require sorting and stapling? How quickly do you need to print copies?
With rapidly changing technology, choosing the right copier can actually be a pretty complicated process. Copiers today do more than just copy – they are capable of printing, faxing, and scanning, so make sure you know what your needs are.
Many copiers come with some or all of these features, so it may actually have little or no impact on the price.
The higher the number of copies produced per minute, the higher the price. Expect to pay more for high resolution copies, and “consumables,” such as toner(s) and service, must be factored in.
If you decide to go with the leasing option, consider the price, functionality, and length of the contract. The price is tied directly to the functions you require, such as high speed printing, color copies, scanning, duplex copying, etc.
Just like car leases, expect to pay more for shorter lease periods. Carefully review the amount of copies that fall within the contract parameters. Experts advise budgeting for an additional 15% use during the contract period, or else you can expect to pay a lot more for “overage.” And be sure to confirm that the lease price includes maintenance.
Comparison shop online, ask for in-person demos, and get input from other nonprofits. You can find copier leasing companies online, and consult your local Better Business Bureau throughout the process.
We often spend so much time thinking about the big technology issues in an office that we take for granted the most basic, and essential components.
Don’t give up on replacing your ailing copier because you don’t quite have the money for a new one. There are a number of options available organizations operating on a nonprofit budget.