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Shop For Company Printer Devices Like a Car Buyer

man shopping for cars

Half of the process of shopping is having your discomforts soothed.

Shopping for printer and copier devices for your company can be confusing. Unlike buying a car, most of us are relatively unfamiliar with the various styles of printers, copier companies, and which truly stand out in their class.However, when you take the time to consider the imaging needs of your company and your philosophy on technology in general, the most appropriate selections will likely rise to the surface.

In this piece, we're going to compare something less familiar—the printer-device-shopping process—with something fairly more familiar—the car-buying process—to help you assess the printer and copier needs of your company.  

What type of imaging does your company do most?  

If you've ever shopped for a car, you likely didn't hop into the first car that caught your eye. You probably took a moment to think about how you use your current vehicle the most.

If you live in the city, a compact car that fits into tight spaces may be appealing. If you have a long commute, a touring-edition sedan may look pretty nice. The same goes for trucks, vans, SUVs, and the like.

Copier and printer shopping should work exactly the same way. Take a moment to consider the imaging needs of your staff. Take a look at most of the printed documents or copies of reports floating around.  

  • Are they more text-heavy or graphics-based?  
  • Are there printouts in a wide format, such as architectural plans or maps?  
  • How colorful are they? How colorful would you like them to be?
  • Does your team tend to make more copies or printouts?  

Ask around to see what kind of copying or printing your team does the most. Also, ask them if they feel that your company's current devices are limiting their ability to perform their tasks efficiently. Jot down your answers to the above questions and your team's feedback. You'll quickly start to see your company's device needs take shape.  

How much does your company print?  

While shopping for a vehicle, finding a ride that can keep up with your mileage needs is likely a significant consideration. While a commuter car with a small gas tank may be suitable for getting around the city, frequent interstate driving will likely require a larger tank capacity to keep you from having to stop for gas regularly. Other vehicles may not be fuel-efficient enough to justify for longer commutes.

This use frequency and need for efficiency are also significant factors when purchasing a copier or printer. If your company's monthly copy or printout page counts are low, the device equivalent of the fully-loaded roadster may not make a lot of sense. However, if your team relies on being able to crank out reams of copies in record time, such models may be justified.  

What are the security and accessibility needs of your company's imaging?  

Most of us have that friend that can't wait to show us the latest feature in their new car. The seat-warmer for getting around in freezing conditions. The self-driving mode. The voice-activated navigation system. While some of these are just for fun, many may be crucial life-saving devices, such as child safety locks or backup sensors. Still, some people may not have children or an inhibited view of the rear of their car—making these features unnecessary.

Similarly, the necessity for many advanced functions and security features should be considered when selecting new copiers and printers.  

  • Do you frequently print, scan, or copy sensitive documents? 
  • Does your staff need to be able to print from remote locations? 
  • Would it be useful to limit certain functions to specific team members? 

Determining your security and device accessibility needs can be a quick way of narrowing your printer device selections and ensure that you're choosing the most appropriate imaging device. 

Does your company value having newer technology?  

Some of us enjoy that new car smell to the point of switching our vehicles every few years—whether via leasing or otherwise. Others couldn't be happier with cars with six-figure odometers, a handful of cosmetic dents, and a fully paid note. These attitudes often extend to the technology in our lives—from our smartphones to our TVs and, yes, even our company's copiers and printers.  

The relatively new copier or printer device with responsive controls and fast imaging can be a relief from using a slightly older model that may take just a bit longer to deliver copies or printouts. As nice as a brand-spankin'-new model may seem, some companies with lower volume and capability needs may be just fine with a lower-tier device. 

Recognizing such attitudes can save your company thousands or the headache of accidentally opting for copier devices that struggle to meet your needs. 

What is your company's budget for printing devices? 

Though the sticker price on a car may be the first consideration for vehicle shoppers, this may be one of the least important factors for printer device shoppers. Why? While there's no arguing that price is important (ask any accounting department), determining the true cost of a copier or printer goes far beyond the initial sticker price.

Some device models may advertise an extremely lucrative upfront price, but have an incredibly high ink or toner cartridge replacement cost. The price of these consumables can drastically alter the overall estimated "cost-per-click" (the cost a page's worth of imaging) over the course of the machine's usable lifespan. Upon further investigation, some companies may find that they will actually end up saving money "per click" by replacing their older models with newer, seemingly "expensive" models. This dynamic may mirror the need to consider gas mileage, vehicle maintenance cost, and insurance prices before purchasing a vehicle.  

Free Worksheet 

To help you determine the printer device needs of your company, you're invited to download a need-consideration free worksheet. Use this worksheet with the leadership of your company to achieve an understanding of what you need before you ever even reach out to a printer or copier dealership.  

Download Your Worksheet Here 

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