As a new business owner, or even a well-established one, it makes perfect sense to consider copy machine rentals or copier leasing instead of buying an expensive machine. Aside from the investment savings, leasing a copier can actually help you save on your income taxes as well.
But what about renting a copier? How do leasing and renting differ, and which will cost you more in the long-run?
Leasing equipment generally makes it yours to own eventually, but you divide the payments up over time. Renting equipment does not make it yours to own, but the payments can be significantly cheaper. Non-US based countries often use the phrase "copier hire" as well.
Do you need to own the equipment?
Ask yourself whether there is any compelling reason that you need to own the equipment. Some of the considerations might be for security reasons — most printers these days have a hard drive or memory installed and potentially sensitive documents will be saved to the machine when you print them. If you don't own the printer and it needs to go into servicing, then you risk potentially exposing sensitive client information. It's important to consider only those printers which use enhanced security features on their hard-drives managed by your system administrator.
Do you need the copier for a short term project?
Does your business need to have a copier for a long term or a short term project or filing/document management job? If you are only going to be using it for less than a year, or if you would like to upgrade later on because your company is expanding, then you could potentially think about renting instead of leasing.
Rented copiers come with contracts that are usually less than 12 months, so this might be ideal. On the other hand, if you're not likely to expand your printing needs and won't require a printer or copier upgrade any time soon, then you may prefer to lease a printer instead. These contracts usually last a couple of years and many of them result in you owning the copier at the end of the lease.
Is your business hoping to expand within the near future?
Another factor that will help determine whether you should lease or rent your copy machine is how many staff you have and how much they need to print. You might also want to think about whether your staffing and printing needs will increase or stay the same a year from now. If you're likely to need a speed upgrade within 12 months, then renting is probably a better option. If, on the other hand, a copier leased today will fit your needs just as well one or two years from now, then a longer lease may be more appropriate for your business.
Signing the contract -- whether you rent or lease
This is important for any contract you sign as a business, but it's always good to read every detail of the contract and have your legal team consult the document as well. For example, if you want to break a 36 month lease to upgrade your copier after only a year, what fees and penalties would be involved?
So... what's the better option?
If your business will be relatively stable and you won't need a printer upgrade anytime soon, then a lease is probably your best bet. Consider renting though if you're going to need to upgrade your copier at any point in time – and make sure the fine print gives you the chance to upgrade without a costly penalty.
All in all, it's important to consider whether you want to lease or rent your copier instead of buying it, because you can really save a lot of money. Also make sure you shop around and compare multiple companies that offer copier machine rentals and leasing. You can often get good deals by bargaining between suppliers with multiple quotes.