Too often when it comes to buying or leasing IT services, companies will jump to the “solution” without taking the time to identify what their actual business problems are. The odds of finding the right technology for your business are about the same as a blind squirrel looking for a nut – sure, you’ll get lucky once in a while, but you’re not going to be very successful at it over time.
If you’re considering leasing (or buying) a copier or new office equipment and you haven’t thought through the steps below . . . . well, good luck finding that nut. (This advice is relevant for nearly any IT initiative, not just for copier leasing.)
There are very few people who actually enjoy contracting and negotiations. Reading the legalese is mind-numbingly dull and will send you repeatedly to the dictionary. It’s much easier to just sign where indicated and get on with your day.
B U T
Once you sign an office equipment lease contract, you have entered into a legally binding agreement for the length of that lease (and we’ll talk about what you need to know about your contract in a later post).
To be sure you’ll be happy throughout the length of your contract – and there’s no reason you can’t be – there are a few, common sense steps you can take to be sure you get the best contract fit for you.
Define your needs.
We are consistently surprised when customers don’t take the time to determine what their exact business needs are. You need to define your needs first – either internally or with the support of a third-party – THEN get the office equipment to meet those needs.
Does it fit your budget?
Often, when you’ve defined your business needs, the budgeting process is much simpler. Our goal is to work with all of our customers to fit our products and services within the constraints of your budget. However, we are a business too and there are limits below which we can’t go. Determine your budget and don’t break it because you “think” you might need an additional feature or capability (you simply might not need to print in color).
What are your averages?
Because many office equipment lease contracts are based on a set number of copies/prints per month, don’t make the mistake of measuring your output during a peak time (invoice run or whatever). If you determine your monthly output by confusing it with a peak output time, you’ll pay for more copies than you need over the course of the copier lease. This number is also used to decide which equipment best meets your needs – a mismatch between duty cycle of the device and of the number of copies will have you paying too much or overwork your machine, decreasing its working life and possibly leading to more maintenance issues.
Talk to the user.
We’ve often heard of and seen the needs of the end users not being considered because the person signing the contract never actually uses the copier. If this is you, be sure to have a conversation with those employees who will be using the copier. If the users aren’t happy, you’ll never achieve the productivity improvements you should from the equipment you are leasing.
Follow these four steps and you won’t go “nuts” trying to fix a poor agreement six months from now because you didn’t do your homework.