How Copier Reps Fleece You Through Minimum Page Counts

busy-copy day at the office

When people lease a copier, copier reps get them to think this complete lie:

“We don’t have a minimum page count; we can print as many pages as we want to print… We don’t need to worry about minimums or overages.”

The reality is far less glamorous. The real situation is more in line with this statement:

“We don’t know what they based our monthly bill on, but it can cover as much copying as we ever do.”

Here are three traits about the copier world that drove the rep to give you such a “great” deal:

  1. Copier reps get paid on commission, meaning they’ll get paid more if they sign you up for a larger contract.
  2. The idea of unlimited pages is pure fantasy. If you usually print 1,000 pages a month, and then one month you went up to 30,000 pages, your rates would immediately skyrocket. Someone has to pay for the additional toner you use. Also, more service calls need to be made with more usage since the copier will break down more.
  3. Copier reps design their contracts to protect their pocketbook and limit their exposure. Allowing for unlimited copies would open the company to massive risk. Copier reps set up the contract so you, the customer, absorb all the unknowns.

When signing up for a high page limit, what kind of deal are you getting?

Let’s say you’ve needed to get a copier for your company, and you see all kinds of contracts with tons of numbers. The process starts to feel overwhelming until you find a rep that gives you a straightforward quote, with no talk of overages; you get “unlimited pages” for one price.

This chart shows the average costs on a black and white copier:

Costs to Copier CompanyCost to Typical Customer
Service$0.003 – $0.005$0.004 – $0.007
TOTAL$0.01 – $0.012$0.014 – $0.017

These numbers are averages so that they may vary in your situation.

If you print 5,600 pages on average, the copier rep will likely suggest that they do maintenance, supplies, and support for up to 7,500 pages. So you “never have to worry about overages.”

If you agree to an additional 1,900 pages at $0.014 per page, you just gave $1,200 of profit to the copier company over the contract’s life, since you never use these pages.

How are you paying so much from this one little change?

Copier Company’s Costs

$0.01 cost X 5,600 = $56 X60 months = $3,360

Your Price

$0.014 cost X 7,500 X 60 Months = $6,300

An average of $0.01875 per copy ($6,300/336,000)

Your Price Without the Inflated Base

$0.015 cost X 5,600 X 60 Months = $5,040

An average cost of $0.015 per copy ($5,040/336,000)

If you take the smaller base, you will pay a little bit more per print. Copier reps use this leverage point to trick you into signing a bad contract. Many people look at this number and think they’re somehow paying less when in reality, you’re paying far more since you’re spending money for prints you never use.

Here’s How to Keep From Overpaying for Prints You Won’t Use

Sign up for 80% of your average print count. With this plan, you get reasonable rates for high volume, and you’re not paying for prints you don’t use.

Copier reps will scare you into not wanting to pay for overages, but that’s what you want to do. When you pay overages, you know you’re not paying for unused pages.

Don’t let unscrupulous copier reps trick you into signing a more expensive contract to “save you money.” Paying for overages is never pleasant, but if you know how much you print and sign up for a contract that covers roughly 80% of those prints, you will save thousands of dollars over your contract’s life.