Many businesses need at least one copier. You may need to make copies of receipts, invoices, records, memos, signs, or many other things. For some businesses, a black and white copier is sufficient. Others may need a color copier. Either way, you have two choices: buy a copier or lease one. While buying may sound like the better option, it typically ends up being very expensive. That’s because if you own a copier, you’re responsible for all of the repairs and maintenance it needs. These can get very pricy.

How pricy? It depends on the repair, of course. It also depends on how frequently your copier breaks down. Small repairs may seem inexpensive, but if you have to have your machine serviced every few months, those small expenses will add up. Let’s take a look at some of the most common repairs business copiers need and how you can avoid these costs by leasing.


Paper Jam

Paper jams are probably the most common issue people have with copiers. Often, printer jams can be resolved by simply pulling the paper out, resetting the machine, and copying again. You typically won’t have to call a technician for a basic paper jam. However, if the paper jams up deep inside the copier, it may not be possible for you to get to the paper. It could also rip when you try to pull it out, leaving part of the paper stuck down inside the machine.

How much will it cost? If it’s a fairly simple jam, you may only pay the technician fee. However, this can range from $100 to $200 an hour. If the jam requires the copier to be taken apart, this can add up. You may also have charges such as travel time if the tech has to drive over a certain number of miles to get to your office. Fortunately, paper jams don’t usually require replacement parts, so you likely won’t have that cost.

A man sitting at a business copier machine with a post it note on his forehead saying out of order


Imaging or Drum Unit Replacement

Imaging drum, imaging unit, or drum unit are terms that refer to the same part of the copier. Without a functioning imaging drum, your copier will not work. This part is necessary in transferring the original image or text onto blank paper. If the drum unit no longer holds the electrostatic charge required to print, the copier will spit out blank pieces of paper.

Replacing the imaging unit isn’t easy. Usually, it’s necessary to call in a technician to handle the drum installation. That’s because there are several ways to damage the new unit, including exposing it to bright, direct sunlight. This component is very delicate, and even touching its surface can damage the drum. Fortunately, it’s not a part you’ll need to replace too often. When you do, the drum itself is usually priced between $60 and $120, depending on the model and other factors. However, you’ll also have to pay for the time it takes to replace the drum and any other maintenance charges.


Fuser Unit Repair or Replacement

The fuser unit is another part of the copier that most people haven’t heard of. It generates the pressure and heat needed to permanently attach the toner to the paper after it has been placed there by the drum unit. Each fuser unit has two drums, one for applying heat and one for pressure. The heat fuser drum gets very hot, so you always want to make certain it has cooled before touching it.

Fuser units are one of the most expensive parts of a copier. This part ranges from $200 to $400 or more depending on brand and model. Much like the drum, it’s not a part of the copier the average person is going to replace. You’ll want to call a technician, and that means you’ll also pay a service call fee plus time and other charges. However, without a functioning fuser unit, your copier won’t work.



Cleaning and Maintenance

Of course, even if your copier doesn’t need a new drum or fuser unit, it will still regularly need to be cleaned and have maintenance performed on it. If you purchase a copier, you will have to pay for all of this. Some stores and manufacturers do offer service contracts when you buy the machine, but these contracts normally cost extra and limit you to a specific number of service calls or expire within a year or two.

If you don’t keep your copier maintained and cleaned, it’s going to have problems more often. The drum could get dirt on it, which will prevent it from making perfect copies. Maintenance can keep the drum, fuser unit, and other parts working longer, but you still have to pay for the technician. With most manufacturers recommending maintenance be done every three months, that can add up.

The cost of professional copier cleaning and maintenance does vary depending on what the technician will do and what your machine needs. However, you can typically expect to spend at least $100 for a service call.


Toner Cartridge Replacement

Replacing toner is one of the most common costs of owning a copier. You’ll need to replace a cartridge once you notice that your copies are coming out very light or that the color is off. Usually, the copier will alert you when one of the cartridges is about empty and needs to be replaced. It will also display an error code if a toner cartridge is damaged, which is rare but can happen.

Toner costs range from around $30 to over $100, depending on the brand and whether you’re getting a high-capacity cartridge or not. There are some cheaper generic brands, plus you can purchase refilled cartridges. However, some copiers do not work as well with generic toner, and refilled toner cartridges aren’t always as durable as new ones.

Business Copier toner bay open so toner cartridges can be replaced


Print Quality Issues and Other Errors

There are a number of different issues surrounding print quality. Very light copies or color copies with incorrect colors often indicate that you need to replace the toner, while streaks and lines can mean that the drum or fuser unit is no longer functioning correctly. If the copier turns on but won’t function, it may mean that there’s something wrong with the circuits and controllers. Usually, the copier will provide you with an error code that you can give to the technician.

These error codes are going to be brand-specific, but most machines have codes for drum errors, fuser errors, damaged toner cartridges, and other common problems. The cost for repairs can range from the cost of a service call if the printer simply needs to be reset to nearly the cost of a new machine if there’s a major issue. In fact, sometimes it truly is better to buy a new copier instead of paying for repairs.


Lease Rather than Buy a Copier

If you lease a copier instead of buying it, these maintenance costs and repairs will usually be included in your contract. You won’t have to pay anything for repairs or maintenance since you don’t actually own the machine. This can save you a large amount of money over the years, especially if you have multiple copiers. In addition to the included repair costs, you also never have to worry about being without a copier. If one goes down and it cannot be quickly repaired, the leasing company can bring you a replacement.

If you’re ready to ditch the high cost of owning a copier, Common Sense Business Solutions is here for you. We lease a wide range of copiers, and we can help you find the right machine for your needs. Reach out today to learn more about leasing a copier.