Almost every small business can save significant time and money by investing in a high-powered, reliable copy machine. But knowing which copier best fits your business needs and budget can be a challenge.
As to basic brand and model considerations, here’s a link to some of the best copiers for small business used on the market. But how do you sift through all these options to find the one that works best for you? Here are 5 key factors to weigh as you shop for your next copier:
1. Color or Monochrome?
Some small business owners falsely assume that it’s too expensive to buy a color office-grade copier for their business. Instead, they buy a black-and-white copier and then outsource any color copies they occasionally need done.
But the fact is, color copying machines often can cost little to nothing more than black and white ones. You pay more for ink, but using the right settings, you can print quality color copies for as little as six cents per page (versus 75 to 90 cents per page if outsourced!)
Plus, you can check on the average number of pages you’ll get per ink cartridge when shopping for you copier, and then, with many models, use third party ink refills to save even more. Thus, you really can get the high-quality graphics of professional office copiers with less spent and less hassle than if you bought a monochrome copier and outsourced color copying.
2. Speed and Capacity
The next question you’ll need to ask yourself is how heavy of use you expect to put your business copier to on a regular basis. Even the lowest end, least expensive professional copiers can give you good production levels, but if your office is extremely high-volume and you need print jobs done very fast – consider a top model.
Even the smallest of small businesses should get at a copier with at least 27 ppm (prints per minute), but an average sized small business would do well to have 52 ppm or higher. And you’ll need to ensure a high paper capacity too so you don’t have to constantly refill the tray for large projects.
3. Additional Capabilities
Besides copying and printing, you should ask yourself what other functions you want to include in your copier. Scanning is a nearly universal add-on, but some machines can scan both sides of a page and have an auto-document feeder for scan jobs, while others don’t.
Some copy machines offer auto-collation, stapling, saddle stitching for booklets, three-section folding for mail-outs, hole punching, and more. These special capabilities can greatly enhance how a copier assists you with both marketing campaigns and in-house use.
4. Sufficient Memory
Today, nearly all professional copiers are digital, which allows them to store information internally and follow through on large, complex print/copy/scan instructions flawlessly.
But the size of your copier’s RAM (often between 250 and 1.5 GB) will affect how efficiently your machine can handle the largest orders. If your office requires multiple projects sitting “on deck” on a regular basis, opt for a higher-range memory capacity.
5. Maintenance and Warranty
Since a digital color office copier can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000, depending on what level of service you expect out of it; you need to be sure to protect your investment. A strong and long warranty is the first thing to look for.
But also find out if the copier is low or high maintenance. And if you plan on getting a service agreement from the provider or from someone else, don’t neglect to examine it in detail. Does the agreement cover toners, drums, and cleaning of blades. Are all copier parts covered? Which types of maintenance and repairs are covered and which aren’t?