The Ultimate Buyer's Guide to Photocopier Machines

Purchasing a new photocopier machine can be an expensive task especially when after making all the considerations you end up with a machine that is not suitable for your needs. Given the speed at which technology rapidly changes, it can often be overwhelming just trying to keep up, especially when it's been several years since you've had to consider what the market has to offer.

To help out and to ensure you are making the right decision we have put together six key points for you to consider when buying a new copier.

1. Volume

It can be hard to determine, but first finding out how much you are likely to print each month plays a big part in which device best suits your needs. It's obvious that if more people are using them, the better options for printers are ones which can put out a high volume. However, even small offices can do substantial volumes and it really depends on your line of work.

Each device has its ideal range and maximum print volume. Putting tens of thousands of prints through a small home-based machine will ultimately do more damage to the machine than if the same volume was being done through a copier more suited to industrial scale printing. Copiers and printers are designed with a set volume in mind so finding your sweet spot should be first on your list.

2. Speed

When it comes to copying, speed literally means how fast the photocopier spits out the prints. In the printing industry this is called pages per minute or ppm for short. Your machine's ppm can range anywhere from 20 pages per minute right up to 90 pages per minute.

After determining your monthly premium you will then need to ask yourself or your staff how quickly you need to produce your print jobs. A machine's volume plays a hand in determining how fast of an output you require but you don't want to be waiting any longer than you need for a large print job.

3. Chroma

Deciding whether you need a photocopier that can print in color or whether just black and white will suffice is another big consideration to make. There is market research to show that printing color invoices can increase payment response time by up to 30%. That's not to say that everyone needs a color copier however.

With modern technology you can default all printing to black and white and enable color printing when you desire. So now you're probably asking why purchase a black and white machine? It's a well-known fact that color tones and inks cost more than black and if the end-user's printing cannot be controlled, a black and white device may be suitable. However, there are many ways to control end-users printing with additional software so don't be afraid to splash a bit of color.

4. Configuration and Extra Features

Modern copiers can staple, punch holes and even fold. Many people are amazed to learn that if they invest in the right copier, they will no longer have to manually undertake these tasks. The ultimate question is whether all these mod cons are necessary for your needs.

The aim is to understand the main functions of your business. Do you need to print on envelopes or labels? Do you require fax capabilities? How much time is spent stapling? The more features you require, the greater the cost, so understanding the necessities for your workflow will determine a great deal.

5. Running Costs

Often when purchasing a new copier, a supplier will typically offer a service agreement or contract where you pay a set amount for each print. This cost per copy or cost per print typically covers replacement toners, parts, labor and travel, to keep the machine operating at an optimum level. It's important to know that the cost per copy will vary based on the type of copier, the age of the device, the size and who the supplier is.

As a rule of thumb, the larger the device, the lower the typical running costs due to scale. However, the machine needs to be outputting the ideal volume for this to be the case. Make sure to ask the supplier all the appropriate questions about the terms and conditions. Although cost per copy should form part of your decision-making process, it is also advisable to give significance to company service and backup support.

If you are looking to buy a new photocopier machine, do all the appropriate research, read the fine print and identify what your needs are. Suppliers will often use their machines' running cost as a selling point however it won't be cost-effective to pay for service when the backup support is not meeting your needs so make sure you do your homework on everything before making a purchase.

3 Min Read

Five Essential Lessons to Keep in Mind When You're Starting Your Own Business

"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told at my dismissal, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Over the years, I've learned quite a few tough lessons about how to successfully run a business. Below are five essential elements to keep in mind, as well as my story on how I learned them.

Find A Need And Fill It

I gradually became successful at selling various products, which unfortunately weren't profitable enough to get me off the ground, so I asked people what they needed that they couldn't seem to get. One man said, "Honey, I need baler wire. Even the farmers can't get it." I saw happy dollar signs as he talked on and dedicated myself to figuring out the baler wire industry.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up.

Now forty-five years later, I'm proud to be the founder of Vulcan Wire, Inc., an industrial baler wire company with $10 million of annual sales.

Have Working Capital And Credit

There were many pitfalls along the way to my eventual success. My daughters and I were subsisting from my unemployment checks, erratic alimony and child-support payments, and food stamps. I had no money stashed up to start up a business.

I paid for the first wire with a check for which I had no funds, an illegal act, but I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I made a deposit to cover the deficit before the bank received the check. My expectation was that I'd receive payment immediately upon delivery, for which I used a rented truck.

Little did I know that this Fortune 500 company's modus operandi was to pay all bills thirty or more days after receipts. My customer initially refused to pay on the spot. I told him I would consequently have to return the wire, so he reluctantly decided to call corporate headquarters for this unusual request.

My stomach was in knots the whole time he was gone, because he said it was iffy that corporate would come through. Fifty minutes later, however, he emerged with a check in hand, resentful of the time away from his busy schedule. Stressed, he told me to never again expect another C.O.D. and that any future sale must be on credit. Luckily, I made it to the bank with a few minutes to spare.

Know Your Product Thoroughly

I received a disheartening phone call shortly thereafter: my wire was breaking. This horrible news fueled the fire of my fears. Would I have to reimburse my customer? Would my vendor refuse to reimburse me?

My customer told me to come over and take samples of his good wire to see if I might duplicate it. I did that and educated myself on the necessary qualities.

My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Voila! I found another wire supplier that had the right specifications. By then, I was savvy enough to act as though they would naturally give me thirty-day terms. They did!

More good news: My customer merely threw away all the bad wire I'd sold him, and the new wire worked perfectly; he then gave me leads and a good endorsement. I rapidly gained more wire customers.

Anticipate The Dangers Of Exponential Growth

I had made a depressing discovery. My working capital was inadequate. After I purchased the wire, I had to wait ten to thirty days for a fabricator to get it reconfigured, which became a looming problem. It meant that to maintain a good credit standing, I had to pay for the wire ten to thirty days before my customers paid me.

I was successful on paper but was incredibly cash deprived. In other words, my exponentially growing business was about to implode due to too many sales. Eventually, my increasing sales grew at a slower rate, solving my cash flow problem.

Delegate From The Bottom Up

I learned how to delegate and eventually delegated myself out of the top jobs of CEO, President, CFO, and Vice President of Finance. Now, at seventy-eight years old, I've sold all but a third of Vulcan's stock and am semi-retired with my only job currently serving as Vice President of Stock and Consultant.

In the interim, I survived many obstacles and learned many other lessons, but hopefully these five will get you started and help prevent some of you from having the same struggles that I did. And in the end, I figured it all out, just like you will.