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Buyer’s Guide to Photocopiers

In the past, photocopiers were simple machines that did one thing – make copies. They simply sat in one corner of the office waiting for someone to open them and start making copies. It’s a whole different story in today’s world. Photocopiers do more than just copying. Some are capable of printing, scanning and faxing. These are called multifunction machines. If you need a copier but overwhelmed with all the choices, here is a simple guide to get the best one for your business.

Determine your Copier Volume

Copier volume is the total number of pages your machine will copy in any given month. This is important as your lease/service contract may penalize you if you go over the monthly average.

You can determine your monthly output by looking at your bills from the print shop. If you already have an existing equipment, check the meter. Some companies use apps and programs that can tell you all the number of copies sent from the network to your device. Some dealers also audit your volume.

Black and White versus Coloured

Colour copies are usually more preferred especially if they contain images, graphs, etc. because they are more attractive and easier to digest. The price of color copiers has gone down in the past years so even small businesses can enjoy them. Most models also have an ink saving feature to help owners control costs. If you want to own a coloured copier, first determine your colour output needs for the past several years. Next, find out if this number increases in the next few years. Include output from colour printers and outsourced jobs. It might be a good idea to exchange your colour printer for a multifunction device.

If you find that the number is too low, it might be a good idea to keep the printer and buy a monochrome copier. This will keep your costs low. Black ink is cheaper than coloured.

Simple Copier or Multifunction?

Different departments in your company may need a specific function from your copier. For example, your marketing department may need a coloured copier/printer for their marketing materials. The accounting department may just need a simple black and white device. The sales department may need a colour scanner.

The decision you make will impact all these departments. If you need more than just copying, a multifunction device is for you. Your choice of model will greatly impact your team’s productivity.

Financial Considerations

Saving money is every business owner’s priority so it is important that you choose the right model that will boost your bottom line. Smart owners will know to also look at the total cost of ownership. They want to find out what it costs to buy and how much to run the device over the course of its lifetime. Included in this calculation are servicing and parts replacements and supplies.


Do these things to determine the right model for your company.

  • Look at lab test reports – You want to know how a machine performs especially under tough conditions.
  • Test drive – Most suppliers will be happy to install a test unit in your office for a set amount of time. This is the perfect time to examine productivity, image quality, ease of use and reliability.
  • Test your dealer – Ask your dealer if they will provide training for your employees. Ask what happens when the machine breaks down. How fast will they be able to fix it? Will they send a replacement if they need to pull it out from your office? Will they provide software that can be used with your existing programs?
  • Look at one model higher and one lower – If you made a choice, it’s good to examine the next model up and the next one down before finalizing your purchase. You may find that the cheaper version will also work for you or the higher version might be very useful for when you grow.


Next is to ask proposals from vendors. The proposal should include the following:

  • Price
  • Maintenance
  • Servicing
  • Cost of supplies
  • Response time for problems and issues
  • Warranties

If there is something you don’t understand in the contract, ask that they be explained to you. You can also ask for a demonstration of their products if you haven’t done so.

Choosing a Vendor

There are 3 things you must look for in a vendor:

  • Product offerings – Check out what brands and models are available. You should find something to match your requirements.
  • Reputation – Ask your friends and colleagues if they have tried this vendor. You can also request for references. Call them and ask about their experiences with this vendor.
  • Response time – It is critical to make all your tools working flawlessly day in and day out. If one breaks down, your whole operation can be affected. Ask how fast their response time is and if they have a help desk to answer your queries.

End Notes

Finding a supplier should not be hard. If you are overwhelmed with all the work involved in finding the right equipment for you, just fill up the simple form above and we will match your requirements to the best vendors in your area.