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Buyer's Guide

Does This sound Familiar ? ...
So you're getting tired of running down to your local copy shop. You get in your car and drive down to make a few copies, pay your 5¢ to 10¢ per copy then drive back to your office only to realize that you still need more copies made. What an inconvenience of time lost running back and forth.

With shopping the local copier dealers, you are shocked to learn that a new copier can cost from $2,000 to $25,000. Your next stop is the local office supply or superstore which offer the smaller PC grade type of machine starting at about $400 up to about $2,000.
There are four primary considerations when buying a copier; 1) is how many copies you will be producing monthly, 2) what features you require, 3) space and machine size requirements, and 4) how soon you will outgrow the machine.

Other important considerations are, the reliability of the machine, cost per copy, and how many copies the consumable parts yield and their replacement cost.
With our experience (over eight years) working on all makes & models from AB Dick to Xerox we have found that... "The Golden Rule is there called and generally the factories that make the best Photography equipment make the best . *Canon *Sharp *Ricoh and *Minolta."
There are three basic grades or classes of photocopy machines. The first grade of copier is the PC (Personal Copier) grade that are often sold in office supply and department stores. The second and generally most preferable grade of machine is the standard Business Grade machine. Next there is the Commercial ReproGraphic Grade machine that is primarily designed for high volume users who produce 50,000 to 100,000 copies monthly.
Most PC grade machines are sold by your local office superstore. They are designed to produce a maximum of 500 to 1,500 copies monthly. In buying the PC Grade Machine ; The convenience of a new small PC grade copier may soon be over shadowed by the lack of features, capacity, high cost per copy, and lack of available on-site service.
The pluses are 1) “instant warm-up” that means when you turn the machine on it is ready to make a copy within one minute, 2) operator replaceable drum / copy cartridges, and 3) low purchase price. Now lets get to the minuses, 1) slow only 5-10 copies per minute (CPM), 2) high cost per copy aprox. 7¢, 3) lack of available features and paper sizes, and 4) lack of on-site service.

In event of any repairs needed, most of these machines are not on-site serviceable and are shipped off to "Repair Depots" resulting in a loss of your copier (possibly for several weeks) during the repair period. However we would like to note that PC grade machines in general enjoy an excellent record for reliability and customer satisfaction.
Cost per copy / toner yield is figured on a percentage of how much toner is applied to a letter size copy. If all the toner applied to your letter sized copy is condensed down to a solid block / field it would equal a percentage of the size of the copy. Thus this "toner field" is the quotient in which cost per copy / stated yield is based upon.

In regards to PC type machines, the "stated yield" or copy cost is generally based upon a 5% field per letter sized copy. If the stated yield of the Drum Cartridge says 2,000 copies, average yield will be more like 1,200. Reason being, most documents copied run an average of 8%-15% field. And with copying any graphics you can easily be upto a 25% to 50% field. These machines even for low volume users can rapidly become cost prohibitive to operate.
The standard Business Grade Machine for most users is the best choice. This is the most common grade of machine. Features and machine size will vary, they can range from a simple desktop model to a large stand alone machine. Business grade machines are generally recognized by a low cost per copy and the availability of "Full System" options. Average cost per copy is 1¢ (includes paper & toner).

Common features are R/E, ADF, and sorter. These machines are designed to produce from 1 up to 50,000 copies monthly. New purchase prices can range from $2,000 to $15,000. A Business Grade machine will give you years and hundreds of thousands of copies worth of service. This grade of machine truly represents the best overall value.
The commercial grade copier will generally include many of the full system features and produce 50 plus copies per minute. Differences that separate this type of machine verses the business grade machine are 1) monthly copy volume, 2) lower maintenance (generally required only every 100,000 copies) with service costing no more than business grade copiers, and 3) low cost per copy. The minus to this type of machine is the slightly larger size over business grade. New purchase prices can range from $25,000 to $40,000. However good used or recondition machines can be purchased for the price of a business grade machine. With low maintenance cost and low cost per copy, machines like this can become quite attractive.
R/E : Reduction & Enlargement, some machines may also have a zoom lens in which the image size can be altered in 1% increments. DF, ADF, RADF : Document Feeders automatically load the original(s) to be copied onto the copyboard glass. The Document Feeder feeds only a single original at a time. The Auto Document Feeder will feed a stack of 20 to 50 originals automatically to the copyboard glass for copying. The Reversing Automatic Document.

Feeder has basically the same function as the ADF except it has the ability to handle two sided originals. This feature will recirculate and flip over the originals allowing it to copy the second/back side of the original. SORTER : This collating feature will allow you to make multiple copies of multiple originals, e.g., the ability to make books and manuscripts. The number of sorter bins/trays vary between 10 to 40, the most common a 20 bin sorter.

Misc. Features : Some of the other features may include Duplexing (automatic two sided copying), Image Editing, special Book Copying Mode, and multiple colors.
Purchasing a pre-owned copier will help you avoid that immediate 40-60% drop in resale value which happens the moment you take delivery of that brand new photocopier. With thousands of well maintained copiers coming "Off Lease" and or being repossessed monthly purchasing a pre-owned copier maybe your best choice. Lots of great equipment available at a fraction of the new cost.

There are three basic sources in which to buy a pre-owned copier from. One is the franchised dealer, another is from a private party, and the third is from a Independent Photocopier Sales & Service Company who maybe your best and wisest choice. They generally offer Fully Serviced or Re-Conditioned Copy Machines at a fraction of the cost of new equipment and generally include a 30-90 Day Warranty.

An Independent Dealer will generally offer better prices on copy machines, service, and supplies. Most of these independent dealers buy their machines from Wholesalers and Leasing Companies and then fully service or recondition them before resale. These "Independents" generally select only machines for resale that are in above average condition and are known not to have been produced with factory design defects.

It is recommended that when buying a pre-owned copier you always get a warranty. Some sellers may offer you a lower “as-is / no warranty” price, its your decision do you like gambling? Obtaining a 30 day / 3,000 copy warranty allows a sufficient period for evaluation of machine condition.