Understanding Your Copier Service Agreement

close up picture of a copier that is opened up from the front with a man inspecting the parts

You’re in the middle of purchasing a new copier and you aren’t certain what should be included in your copier service agreement. If this situation sounds familiar or you’re in the process of doing your research before making a decision, we are here to help you understand exactly what your copier service agreement means.

What Is Included In Most Copier Service Agreements

In most copier service agreements, you are paying a monthly fee that will include your parts, labor, and supplies. This includes drums, fusers, belts, gears, etc. that may wear over time and need to be replaced. You should, however, be aware, that as equipment ages out, these parts may be discontinued and no longer be available. When this happens, it is out of the control of your service provider and will be a clear indication that it’s time to upgrade your copier.

Also included in most copier service agreements is toner. Whether or not your copier is black and white or color, the toner is included with your service fee.

What Is NOT Included In Most Copier Service Agreements

While most of your parts and supplies are covered under a typical copier service agreement, some things will not be included.

In most situations, consumables, such as staples, are not included and will be an extra charge. This will be a question that you will want to ask upfront so that you have a clear expectation of any additional charges that you may be billed for throughout your service agreement.

Freight and shipping charges are an added expense you should expect to incur for parts and supplies. Some providers offer flat-rate monthly shipping fees that will cover unlimited shipments. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what the shipping rates are from your specific provider.

Most businesses utilize their network to access their copiers rather than directly connecting to an individual computer. This provides access to multiple users, the ability to control print costs, tracking, scanning capabilities, and cost savings. With that comes the potential for networking issues. Issues such as falling off the network, scanning, faxing, and print drivers are considered IT related. These are typically not covered under your service agreement once installation has been completed.

In addition, physical damage to the equipment is not covered under your agreement. Any damage that has occurred as a result of carelessness, accident, natural disaster, etc. will be at the expense of the owner/lessee to repair or replace.

Things To Watch For Before Signing Your Copier Service Agreement

A specific situation to look for in your copier service agreement is any reference to additional click charges for scanning from your machine. This feature should be free of charge. However, some providers are utilizing these add-on charges to offset price increases that we have seen industry-wide.

Another situation that is happening more frequently throughout the industry are rapid escalation charges. Service escalation increases are very common due to the increased wear and tear of the equipment year over year. However, providers have been offering a low initial service rate to win your business and then building-in high annual increases of as much as 25%. Before signing a copier service agreement, make sure your service provider is being open and honest about their service fee escalation. Double check the fine print to confirm those rates are what was put in writing.

How the Service Rate is Calculated

Your service rate will be set in one of three ways and will vary based on your print volume, the size of the equipment, and whether it is color or black and white.

The first method of establishing a service rate is a cost per click agreement. With this option, a service rate is established for every printed black and white and/or color print on your equipment. You are only billed for your actual print volume. Your charges will vary monthly, which provides a budgeting challenge, but is a good option for low volume printing.

The second is a set rate for a specific number of copies per month with a cost per copy charge for any overages. This will provide you with a general knowledge of what your monthly service charge will be. However, if you are typically over your number of alloted copies, it can result in substantial surprise overage charges.

The third option is not available with all providers, but is offered by a select few. If it is available, a one rate program provides unlimited copies for one flat monthly rate. Pricing is established based on the average print volume of the specific piece of equipment. Equipment that is designed to print 10,000 copies per month will cost more than a printer designed to print 3,000 copies per month. This option helps to manage expenses and takes any suprise overage charges out of the equation.

For more information on how to choose the right copier service provider, read Selecting a Copier Service Company: 6 Considerations.

Want a customized solution based on your needs? Not quite sure where to go from here? Let the experts at Ford Office Technologies give you a hand at 1-800-633-3673 or by emailing info@fordtech.com

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