New or used – Which is it to be?
I don’t know about you, the reader, but personally, I do love a bargain! So long as I know I am going to receive the same quality item I originally wanted, I am usually happy to have a good look about, mainly via the web, for the same item, hoping to stumble upon the same item at a discounted price. “Who doesn’t do that these days anyway?!?” I hear you cry. In today’s day and age, with the use of our smart phones, any typical consumer is far more savvy & informed than ever before. And so long as the product that you pay for is of the same quality, why wouldn’t you?
Obviously, when looking to source a replacement printer, it’s not quite as simplistic as buying a pair of your favourite shoes! Although, with headline figures of used printer hardware, it can be very tempting to treat your purchasing decision in exactly the same way.
Excuse my poor English, but there is nothing overridingly flawed with opting for used hardware instead of new, so long as the million dollar questions has been asked and answered..
- What’s the device going to be used for?
- How many people will be using your printer?
- What requirements will everyone have of your printer?
- How much prints/copies & scans will be demanded of your printer in a given month?
- Will your demands likely increase over the short /medium term?
Asking these questions will help to guide you ensuring that your replacement hardware, whether leased or purchased, lasts what you consider an acceptable period of time before the same set of questions need looking at again.
Over and above these questions, there are other points to consider. These are below, and depending on what you feel are ‘musts’ will also help you to make the right decision the first time round.
How much can be reasonably afforded? Of course, leasing can be a great option to help spread the financial burden, but really only if you have trading history as a business, or if you’re an individual, that you’re prepared to take personal liability for your printer should you not be able to keep up repayments. Used hardware will tend to be 50 – 60 cheaper than the price of the equivalent new hardware; sounds tempting, doesn’t it! Well yes, but please read on…
Maintenance & Costs
Maintenance costs to maintain a healthy printer will be key to your decision. First and foremost, just like a shiny replacement but used car, we can never expect our replacement vehicle to weather the miles as well as a new car. Given the number of moving parts within a printer, the same analogy applies. Although, at basic level, functionality of used hardware is pretty much the same new hardware, used hardware will inevitably require more upkeep to ensure a serviceable condition, whilst the costs for this care will incur additional costs. Even if your device is supplied with a maintenance agreement to cover these eventualities, costs expected to cover these eventualities will reflect in the price of the maintenance agreement, usually billed per page.
The higher your volumes to print/copy/scan, the more likely you will have a breakdown along the way. Used hardware will tend to cause more downtime than new. What is the cost to you or your business for this downtime?
IT Applications / Windows Operating Systems
One big factor to consider is.. “how old are our PC’s?” and “what IT Applications such as software based systems are we likely to link with our hardware?”
Printer manufacturers, much the same as any industry, are continuingly updating/evolving their technology within their hardware, aligning them with a myriad of software applications out there designed to help us work faster, more efficiently. Depending upon its age, eventually the compatibility of used hardware will no longer be supported by the software running upon your network, rendering some functionality on your hardware effectively useless.
As dramatic as this sounds, this is a realistic issue that will eventually occur when the generation of your IT moves on due to upgrades, and your printer hardware does not.
With new hardware comes increased reliability for you or your office, although the cost or lease rental will reflect the premium for the latest available hardware, so you need to consider the additional upfront cost, or increased monthly rental. You will know better than anyone how important a working day of printing downtime will be. If you opt for used hardware, ensure the hardware is sure to provide at least a couple of years serviceable use at your current business head count, and that you do not expect your volumes to dramatically increase. Ensure your used hardware is of low meter count to help keep downtime to a minimum over the period, and lastly, make sure your hardware is still within 3 generations from current. This way, you should be okay with manufacturer support when it comes to IT compatibility.
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