In most offices a malfunctioning photocopier will cause serious logistical issues and a great deal of frustration. Furthermore, due to the complexity of most modern machines they can be very costly to repair. Because of both these points, it is common practice to have in place a photocopier service or maintenance contract; so that for a pre-arranged monthly fee, a third party will take on the responsibility of ensuring the copier is kept in good service.
The arrangements for photocopier maintenance contracts vary but if you lease or rent your photocopier, it is likely that you will also be bound to an ongoing service arrangement; so be careful to ensure that you have read all the small print. Regardless of this however, the following should give you a better idea of the sorts of conditions and level of service to expect. Consider these points when assessing contracts:
- Will you have to pay a fixed monthly fee, a fee based on the volume of usage or both?
- How long will it take to send out a technician if the photocopier breaks down?
- Will the contract cover the cost of parts and labour if the photocopier needs to be repaired?
- At what cost will the photocopier consumables (toner, ink, etc) be supplied?
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Typical Photocopier Service Contract Terms
A typical photocopier contract will usually charge you fixed monthly fee plus an additional fee for every page printed over an agreed limit. This is because a heavily used machine will obviously require more in the way of consumables and maintenance than one that is used very rarely. In a similar vein to mobile phone contracts, there are usually lots of different price plans to choose from and these should range from those with very low monthly fees, lower copy limits and higher costs per excess page; to comparably very high monthly fees and unlimited copier use.
As pointed out above, in any office a broken photocopier will cause problems, especially as it’s fairly standard to have a combined photocopier and printer. In order to minimise the disruption this causes, any good maintenance contract will have a predetermined response time, within which the supplier is obliged to send out a technician. It is not uncommon for this to be the same day or even just a matter of hours, provided that the supplier is called within certain times. It should also make absolutely clear who will pay for parts and labour and under which circumstances. However, this will vary drastically depending on who owns the photocopier and therefore, should be thought about well in advance of purchasing a copier outright
Alternatives to a Photocopier Maintenance Contract
It is rare but in some cases it’s possible to have an extended warranty for your photocopier. This will usually only apply to cheaper machines, where it is not economically prudent to take on a service contract. Extended warranties will usually cover much less than a typical service contract and it is highly unlikely that a technician would be sent to your office. As such, relying solely on a warranty will usually mean long delays while your copier is sent away for repair.
In other cases it is possible to arrange a pay as you go contract, wherein costs are only incurred if the photocopier needs attention. Again though, this type of arrangement makes more sense for cheaper machines or those which are only used at a fraction of their capacity as the call out and repair fees are generally higher and so you are bearing a greater financial risk. In most cases however, the service contract is as indispensable as your photocopier its self due to the convenience and safety-net it provides.
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