Photocopier contracts in a time of uncertainty
The way businesses operate is currently in a state of flux. The changes to the way many of us are working means that office photocopier contracts which might have been fit for purpose even as little as a year ago, may well not be the best way of structuring things for your business now.
Your print, copy and scan requirements in the office will have changed. More staff will be working from home some, if not all, of the time. You might be concerned about having a large machine with multiple users when considering social distancing and want to move back to more desktop machines. The printed output you need might have reduced significantly while businesses recover.
How photocopier suppliers operate
Suppliers of multifunctional printers are under pressure too. Their income is generated through three main streams:
supply of the hardware, either through customer outright purchase or more commonly through a lease or rental agreement
service agreements to maintain and repair machines
managed print services contracts where the customer pays a cost per copy, or total volume rental plans where the customer is contracted to pay for a set number of copies for the period based on their predicted usage
Often, these three income streams are packaged together in a single monthly or quarterly invoice to the customer.
In good times, this arrangement works well for both parties. In times such as these the balance is tipped more in favour of the supplier as it can be difficult or impossible to renegotiate or terminate a lease agreement, and the race is on to tie customers in to an ongoing relationship for as long as possible.
Photocopier contracts to fit your needs
Here at Clarity Solutions we work hard at our customer relationships. We recognise that these are difficult times for many businesses and we want to help. We have over 20 years of photocopier contracts expertise and we strive to come up with agreements that fit our customers’ needs as closely as possible by asking the right questions and taking the time to listen carefully to the answers. That hasn’t changed. We have focused on thinking creatively with our offerings to try and maintain that balance between us and our customers.
If you’re in a position where your current supplier is leaning on you to renew your current photocopier contract with more favourable terms if you recommit early (i.e. now!) for another three or five years you would do well to pause and take stock. It might look like a good deal now if it reduces your outgoings, but you might find yourself trapped in an agreement that isn’t beneficial in a year or so. This is an opportunity to renegotiate with your current supplier or to change suppliers completely.
What are your options?
Even if you have a lease agreement with a finance company, your supplier should be able to restructure it so you can change your machine for something more suitable. For example, more desktop printers might fit the way you’re company is working now instead of one large machine.
If your contract is due to end soon it’s worth asking your supplier if they will extend it on a more favourable in-house pay-as-you-go rental basis which will buy you some time until the economic situation is more stable.
Another option to consider is to set up your machines so your staff can print to them from home. Many multifunctional printers have this capability and it works well if you still have people in the office; see if your supplier’s engineers can set this up for you.
These are all solutions that we have been able to implement for Clarity Solutions customers. If you would like some advice about your current photocopier contracts, whether you’re our customer or not, please get in touch. Call Worcester 01905 721400 / Gloucester 01452 699400, or email email@example.com.