Choosing a Vendor
It’s best to set up competitive bidding situations among several vendors. Even if you’re happy with your current vendor and equipment, it’s still worthwhile to re-examine your equipment operating costs periodically against costs offered by competing devices (see the Due Diligence section). In general, newer units have lower costs per page than older ones due to pricing competition among manufacturers.
Most people lease office equipment, and if you currently lease your copiers and MFPs, expect your supplier to approach you with a new agreement before your old one expires. Even if you’re completely satisfied with your current vendor, you might still want to entertain competitive bids as a way of doing due diligence on your current costs.
1. Looking at Brands and Models. When selecting your dealer, the first thing you’ll be looking for is what brands and models are available there. The equipment should be a good match for your business’ unique needs, and different manufacturers’ equipment offers different strengths.
2. The Service Organization. The second factor to consider is the supplier’s service organization. You want a response time guarantee of four hours or less (your contract can stipulate a penalty if they don’t meet that response time). Because most copiers and MFPs are now connected to a network, you’ll want to be sure your vendor has the networking expertise to handle unique IT problems if they arise. You’ll also want to ask if they offer a help desk if you have questions or problems. Finally, it’s good to know how experienced the dealer’s service personnel are, particularly with the equipment you’re purchasing.
3. Reputation. Reputation is also important. If you haven’t done business with a particular dealer before, ask for references from customers in businesses similar to yours, and call those references to see how well they handle problems. Check with the local Better Business Bureau as well.
Who you buy the equipment from is critical. If the best product is not maintained properly, your company’s productivity will suffer. If your dealer can not respond quickly when you have downtime, the costs and soft costs can grow quickly.