Last Updated: February 09, 2023

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Most companies lease their copiers rather than buy them outright, but there are pros and cons to both. The approach that’s best for one company may not be what’s best for another. This article will help you understand the differences between buying and leasing copiers, including the difference in price. But first, let’s talk about some of the features that modern copiers offer.

Copier Features

Modern office copiers do far more than just make copies. The machines are known as multi-function printers, or MFPs. They combine the functions of copiers, scanners and printers to maximize office efficiency. Scan a document and email it to a client, print directly from a USB device or send a fax without leaving your computer.

MFPs automate most of the tasks that once had to be done manually. They have automatic feeders, automatic sizing and automatic shut-off features. The latest MFPs also have features such as high-resolution touch screens, color displays, full-size retractable keyboards and remote front panels (i.e. the MFP panel can be seen and operated from a computer). The image quality is sharp and the printing speeds, though variable from one model to the next, are fast.

About Copier Leasing

With a lease, monthly payments are made over a period of years - usually three to five. When the lease term expires, there are several options: return the copier, trade it in for a newer model or buy it outright. Some leasing companies offer a $100 buyout plan for an additional monthly fee: When the lease term expires, you can buy the machine for the bargain price of $100.

The copier never actually belongs to your company with a lease, and that can be a good thing or a bad thing. You’ll typically have a service contract to cover repairs, which means fewer out-of-pocket expenses, but you’ll have to schedule service around another company’s schedule. Service contracts come at a cost, too.

Leasing is more expensive in the long run, but it preserves short-term cash for other expenses, which is crucial if you’re operating on a tight budget. Typically, no downpayment is required. Leasing also prevents obsolescence - you’ll never be stuck with a machine that is too outdated to be useful.

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Leasing Prices

The monthly cost of a copier lease depends mostly on the value of the equipment and the length of the lease, but it’s also affected by your company’s credit history. You’ll pay higher leasing fees if your credit is less than perfect.

Here’s what you can expect to pay in varying scenarios if you have good credit:

  • For a $10,000, mid-volume machine capable of printing 21 to 35 pages per minute (ppm), plan on spending $325 to $375 per month for a three-year lease (total cost over the lease term: $11,700 to $13,500).
  • A higher-end mid-volume machine with color printing capabilities and advanced features that costs $20,000 to buy outright could be leased for $450 to $500 a month for five years (total cost: $27,000 to $30,000) and $700 to $750 per month for three years (total cost: $25,200 to $27,000).
  • A high-volume machine speeds of 35 to 56 ppm that sells for $50,000 could be leased for $1,100 to $1,200 per month for five years (total cost: $66,000 to $72,000) or $1,650 to $1,750 per month for three years (total cost: $59,400 to $63,000).

As you can see, the shorter the lease term, the less you’ll pay in the long run. So it’s always a good idea to pick the shortest lease term you can afford.

Keep in mind that the prices above are just averages. Prices vary from one leasing company to another and based on your geographic location. Opting for the $100 buyout plan usually adds anywhere from $5 to $50 to your monthly payment, depending on the value of the copier.

If you’re on a tight budget, considering leasing a refurbished copier. You may not get up-to-the-minute technology, but you can cut the monthly cost in half.

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