How Long Should A Houston Copier Last?
Whenever you are spending thousands of dollars on a specific piece of equipment, it is a critical question that needs to be answered. You want to, of course, maximize the ROI on your purchase or lease.
However, it is a loaded question, and unfortunately, the answer is often: it depends.
What I can tell you is that with regular maintenance and average use, that a mid-range floor copier should be able to operate for around five years, and a lightly used mid-range model or high-end model can last for about 10 years.
A copier’s lifespan can be looked at through two filters:
- How much the device is used versus how much the device has been designed to be used often measured relative to suggested monthly volume and monthly volume.
- Is it useful for your business still? As functions and features continue to improve every year, a copy may be in great working condition still, but not provide as much productivity value that a new model could give you.
Depending on the person you ask, you will get a different answer to the question “how long should a copier last?”
- The manufacturer
- The technician
- The salesperson
We will be discussing their perspectives blow. However, let’s first cover the contributing factors that affect the lifespan of a copier (no matter who you are talking to).
Like any complex device, there are some that are lemons, no matter how much maintenance and repair is done, they continue to break down. In an MPS agreement or lease, those machines will be swapped out quite often. If you bought the machine, most likely you will need to rely on your warranty.
Today, just a low percentage of copiers are lemons. What causes some copiers to live a long life, while others die a premature death?
How Much Is The Copier Used?
That is easy. If your printers and copiers are run at maximum capacity, they will wear out more quickly. If your copier is rated at a 60,000 pages per month duty cycle (with a much lower recommended volume). If you print 60,000 copies per month, then the machine’s lifespan will be short. That would be like you driving your car at its top speed for many hours each day.
Proactive, Regular Maintenance.
Similar to changing the oil on a regular basis in your vehicle, your copier needs to have maintenance performed regularly as well. Keep it clean, replace any worn out parts, and treat your copier in a gentle manner so that it will return the favor by providing you with good performance. In general, you should follow the maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer and keep it clean to ensure that the copier lasts a long time
List type of copier will not last as long from the purchase date as a machine that is brand new, but it will cost less and if you keep it well-maintained it can last for many years after you purchase it.
Does The Machine Still Do Everything You Need It To?
Your printers and copiers might be working perfectly still. However, the needs of your business might have changed. Your copier might be still working great after four years, but it might make sense for you to upgrade to a newer model that is capable of meeting your business’s expanded needs. You might be able to trade your piece of equipment in or move it over to a different department in your office that has simpler needs. For your copiers, make sure you have a strategy and a plan for how they need to support your business. Do not keep them around simply because they still work.
From the perspective of the sales team, a copier should last you around 3 to 5 years. Usually, this is the average length of a copier lease. That isn’t as cynical as it might sound. At this point, a sales representative who has your best interests in mind already will know whether or not the machine that you have currently is meeting your needs or whether it is time for you to replace it.
- Are you maintaining the same print and copy volumes that you estimated originally at the time of purchase? Is it less? Is it more?
- Have there been any changes within your organization like the number of people using the copier, new requirements for printing 11×17, need to print color documents, technology improvements, etc.?
- Is your current copier compatible still with the technology you are using both now and into the future?
Cloud-based, mobile, scanning and security technologies are continuing to evolve very rapidly, so if your copier is unable to keep up, then holding onto a piece of equipment just to squeeze a bit more mileage out of it, in the long run, could end up costing you a lot more. So although your copier could potentially last longer, it might be better to consider upgrading it – or getting an additional copier. A good salesperson will help identify what you actually need, and not simply what they would like to sell to you.
Any experienced copier technician, like a reputable mechanic, will tell you they can keep your copier running as long as there are parts available still. However, at what cost? As previously mentioned, in terms of copiers, there comes a point of diminishing returns. This is especially true in terms of security. Copiers, similar to cars, need to have preventive maintenance done on a regular basis. Also, over time, the major components may fail and the cost to maintain your copier might become more expensive than to purchase a new one.
There is a complete aftermarket that is specifically focused on pre-owned certified copiers that can save you some money upfront. However, how much will cost you down the road? It is risky to buy office equipment from anybody except an authorized dealer. Dealers have developed long-term relationships with manufacturers and that means they stand behind their products and often have the manufactured certified technicians for servicing the equipment.
Go directly to the source. The major players – Ricoh, Xerox, Canon, etc. But before you do that, make sure you proceed with caution. Life expectancy ratings are published by copier manufacturers for nearly every model they make and they focus on two really important things – recommended monthly volumes and duty cycle. However, their duty cycles are not conservative in any way and often are inflated numbers of the actual limit of the machine.
This is why it is a good idea to lower your expectations when it comes to the recommended duty cycle whenever you are evaluating equipment, or you should talk to the service manager of the print provider and ask about the specific equipment you are considering. If you were to run your copier every day just because your duty cycle suggests that you can, that would be like stepping on your car’s gas pedal all the way down to the floor for 8 hours every day.
Keep in mind that the ratings from the manufacturer come from testing within controlled environments, which might not be the same as the way you will e using your copier in your office. Factors like regular wear and tear, dust, humidity, and heat are not always so easy to replicate within a test environment. There is a tendency for high volume production machines to have a life expectancy that is slightly longer since they are built using heavier duty materials as opposed to a lightweight office copier. However, it deepens no how it is used.
Keep An Open Mind
As with any major investment, if you are not sure still about how long your equipment is expected to last, you can check the reviews for the model and make that you are considering by going to reputable online sources like Buyer’s Lab or industry-specific trade journals. Just be cautious with random poor revies. Look instead for repeated claims (bad or good) that may help you gain more insight into the performance expectations of a copier.
A Note On The End Of Life Of A Copier
When you make the decision to trade your old copier in, make sure to ask the copier provider about the kinds of aftermarket wholesale and recycling programs that they partner with.
Disposing of office equipment improperly is very hazardous to the environment and there are many e-cycling organizations that are available to help business dispose of their equipment responsibly.
Generally speaking, if your copier is kept clean, you don’t overuse it, do routine maintenance on a regular basis, then your office machines should last beyond an occasional paper jam and a few issues, for many years.