Managed Print Services (MPS) vs Buying/Owning Copiers

Is someone trying to sell you on Managed Print Services? Do they glorify all the benefits without telling you about the possible downside?
Weighing the difference between low price-per-copy combined with high equipment lease payments vs owning/leasing your own machines is a good start. The initial contract is very important to consider. Contracts can incorporate costs on amortized cost to lease equipment. And have you prepay for a set amount of prints then charge when you go over, much like how phone companies charge for a set amount of data.  How to end the contract varies also. Some contracts only give you a narrow window in order to cancel and prevent automatic renewal. Here are some other questions to ask yourself and anyone trying to sell you an MPS contract …

  1. Is my current printer/copier really “worn out” or do I need a copier/printer with “cutting edge” technology?
  2. How long is the contract commitment?
  3. How much printing do I have to average per month for this business model to make sense?
  4. What happens to “clicks” I don’t use within the contracted period?
  5. How expensive are overage “clicks” (pages printed beyond the allowance)?
  6. What if the hardware fails to meet my needs or is repairable before the contract ends?
    a. Can I be undersold a machine then get charged for an upgrade later?
  7. What will it cost if I need to upgrade the hardware portion part way into the contract?
    a. Is there “negative equity” in the amount of 100% of the remaining lease payments rolled-in to the next contract?
  8. What is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) going to be for the life of the contract?
  9.  Does the Cost per Copy (CPC) offer savings over equipment ownership and maintenance?
  10. What happens if a critical printer/copier breaks? Can I afford to wait to print until the technician and parts arrive apposed to keeping compatible parts on site for owned machines?
  11. If I’m not happy with the service of the vendor, who else can I call?
  12.  Will I need a certified letter to opt out of contract and avoid automatic renewal?

You need to consider “How big are you?” and how big your needs are. Chains and large companies can really benefit from centralized printing with set monthly costs to budget. Smaller companies have the potential to pay more for less return–overage charges for too many “clicks” in a given month or overpaying for “clicks” consistently not used.

Before you decide where you fit, do a break-even analysis for the lease. This will include the lease cost vs purchase cost of printer/copier/supplies. Compare CPC and other service fees combined versus purchase and maintenance plans that could fulfill your needs. There are lots of pros and cons of MPS to consider, from change in convenience to possible loss of efficiency inherent in centralized printing. You know your business and your business needs. Don’t let someone sell you a big business product for your small business needs. Do your research and ask questions.