There can be a huge difference between purchasing a used copier from a local copier service provider compared to purchasing the same copier model from an online wholesaler. Often, the initial price of the copier is less through an online distributor, however, there is much to be considered when determining the total cost of your copier purchase.

Consider that your local copier companies often choose the best of the best-used machines, and then invest 5-6 hours of time + $500.00 -$800.00 parts and supplies in the refurbishment process, after which they hand-deliver the machine, add the machine to the customer’s network, set up printing and scanning, provide training and offer an all-inclusive maintenance and supply agreement making the local copier company responsible for the performance of the copier for a minimum of 5 years. This compared to purchasing a machine sight unseen, from an anonymous, out of area, online distributor, offering drop shipment of an “as is” copier with no setup, no service accessibility, and little or no recourse if the machine doesn’t perform to your expectations.

Important information to consider when deciding where to purchase a used copier.


What Quality Means To Common Sense Business SolutionsWhat Quality Means To Common Sense Business Solutions

The quality of a used copier varies widely from one machine to the next and from one provider to the next. In our case, Common Sense Business Solutions (CSBS) owner, Ross Wiffler has a 35-year, personal relationship with his mentor, one of the largest copier wholesaler and exporters in the country resulting in the ongoing opportunity to cherry-pick the best quality machines before anyone else has to access to the inventory.

This means CSBS selects the top 1% of the most desirable machines and the remainder of higher quality machines are sold to other local copier companies that refurbish and sell the machines to their customers. The remaining, lesser desirable machines are sold to “online distributors, exporters and wholesalers”, who simply buy large lots of used machines, frequently sight unseen, sell them as-is, and dropship them to people all over the world. In many cases, the companies buying these used machines from online distributors, receive a machine that has had the quality parts and components harvested and replaced with worn parts, machines in immediate need of firmware upgrades, drums, developer replacement etc.

Our local copier company receives calls every month from companies that have purchased used machines online who then need immediate service just to bring the machines up to usable standards. In many cases, the cost to bring the machines up to specs costs more than the company paid to purchase the used machine.


Important Factors Regarding Refurbished Copiers

In comparison, every used machine purchased by our company and other local copier companies with similar business models is completely refurbished, top to bottom and has an average of $500.00 – $800.00 of parts and new supplies put into the machine and 4-6 hours of labor in the refurbishing process (market rate for labor is $145.00 – $175.00 an hour.) In other words, even though local copier companies are purchasing the most desirable used machines, they are still investing $1,000.00 to $1,500.00 into the refurbishment of the machine before our customers ever see the machine.

Following the refurbishing process, most local copier companies deliver the machine to the customer’s office, install the machine, get the machine onto the customer’s network, configure printing and scanning and provide complimentary training. Virtually all customers choose the all-inclusive maintenance and supply agreement meaning they can then rest easy knowing their machine is guaranteed to perform for a minimum of 5 years and when service or supplies are needed, a local technician will arrive at their office in 2-6 hours, with the necessary experience and parts to fix any issue the machine may be experiencing. Under the terms of these all-inclusive maintenance plans offered by local copier companies, all service, parts, and supplies are included at wholesale costs distributed evenly on a fixed rate, monthly plan.


The Dangers Of Purchasing From Solely Online SourcesThe Dangers Of Purchasing From Solely Online Sources

It can be very challenging to find a quality, ongoing service, and support for a machine purchased from an online distributor, whereas the used machines purchased from local copier companies, with all-inclusive maintenance plans, transfer the responsibility for the performance of the machine to the local copier company that sold the machine. A used machine purchased from an online distributor generally arrives to the customer in “as-is” condition and in order to get service, the customer will first need to locate a copier service provider willing to service the machine, and then the customer is responsible for all labor and travel time at a rate of $145.00 – $175.00 hourly, plus the retail cost for all parts and supplies needed to repair the machine. At the risk of being redundant, many used machines purchased “as-is” from online distributors need hours of labor and hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of parts right out of the gate, just to bring the machine up to speed.


Service Programs Can Save You More Money Throughout The Life Of Your Machine

An important item of note is that copiers do not just need parts and service when they “break.” Over 80% of all service calls that require an experienced technician are calls simply to replace consumable parts that need to be replaced based on “usage” as opposed to “failure.” Think tires and brake pads on a car and compare them to fuser units, transfer belts, feed tires, and developer units on a copier. In essence, you are going to require ongoing, onsite professional service and support for your copier even if the machine never experiences mechanical failures.

In my experience, a high percentage of companies that purchase a copier online have little recourse if they are unhappy with the product they purchase, and even if the online distributor is willing to take the machine back (I have rarely seen this happen) the cost to ship the copier back is likely $500.00 – $600.00 and the machine needs to be prepared on a pallet for pickup which can become a very costly and time-consuming process.


Quality is Worth The Cost

In summary, based on the author’s 35+ years of experience in the copier industry, I would encourage anyone considering the purchase of a commercial copier-printer-scanner from an online distributor to consider the information outlined in this blog. If ever the term, “you get what you pay for” applies, this might be it. In many cases, even though the initial cost is less, online buyers can pay more, receive less, and have a machine that never has accessible service and support resulting in an ongoing, frustrating experience. You may want to consider the added value received when purchasing a machine that has been thoroughly refurbished by a local, brick and mortar company that will deliver and set up the machine you purchased while remaining available to provide quality service over the long life of the copier.