Many people are buying used copiers/MFPs because of the economy. Often these are ¼ the original MSRP and if put under a maintenance agreement it’s hard to tell the difference between it and a new one. The customer simply calls when something isn’t right and it gets fixed.

However, there are two important considerations before you buy or lease. First, make sure it’s new enough that scan drivers are available from the manufacturers. For example, when Microsoft came out with System 7 it obsoleted a lot of the older used color copiers because scan drivers weren’t going to be available from the copier manufacturers. Even if you’re using XP today it’s just a matter of time before you upgrade to System 7. At that point the new PC won’t be able to Scan; just the older ones.

Another consideration on a used color copier is are you using Macintosh. You can’t assume that the color copier you’ve just been quoted will work with Mac. Make sure you ask the sales person about this. The color copier needs to have Postscript to work with Mac. And again, if it’s a newer Mac make sure the Scan Driver is available from the copier manufacturer.

A final consideration is the copy/print quality of the color. Each successive generation of color copier gets a little better. Some people don’t care. They just print pie charts and graphs and want a low price. If that’s the case refer to the beginning of this blog about scan drivers being available.

If you also want copy/print quality equal to what’s available on the new color copiers get a model that’s just now coming off of lease and is only 3 or 4 years old. It costs a little more than the older color copiers but you will notice the difference in quality. You’ll also have all the software enhancements in the areas such as Security and Scan to Email.

An often overlooked area is the cost of the maintenance agreement which includes supplies. This should be in the neighborhood of $.08 per page for color and $.015 per page for black. If it’s much higher I would be suspicious. That would tell me the dealer anticipates a lot of service and doesn’t want to loose money on the maintenance/supply agreement. By the same token, if you’re a low volume user make sure you ask about the monthly minimum. If you don’t ask you may be in for a surprise later.

For those of you passing on a maintenance/supply agreement ask for a list of supplies you will need to buy; the expected yield; and your cost. Color copiers use a lot of different supplies. For example, there are 4 different toners; 4 drums; and 4 developers. In addition to that things such as fusers are considered consumables and the cost will be passed onto the end user. Once the cost per print is calculated make sure it is less than what you’re currently paying for color prints and copies. It usually is.

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