Years ago, in order to efficiently stock your organization’s “copy room,” you would need to buy or lease separate machines for printing, copying, scanning, and faxing. But today’s multi-function machines can handle all of that and more. With so many features and functions built into a single machine, how do you choose which one is right for your business?

Analyze your applications

The first step in the decision-making process is to realize your goals for your new copier. This requires taking a look at the functions and processes of your organization and the demands they place on your copier/multi-function printer. For example, an accounting firm or the accounting department within an organization will need different features than a marketing agency or department. Your answers to the following questions will help guide you toward your ideal copy machine:

  1. Color. How important is color printing and copying? For some organizations, a monochrome (or black and white only) machine will be sufficient. Others require basic color output, and still others have more graphic intense needs, so their machine must be equipped with advanced color accuracy and graphic output.
  2. Speed. Are there times when you must print or copy a large volume of pages in a short period of time? If so, you’ll need a copy machine that can handle this type of throughput. A machine with the ability to copy/print 40-50 pages per minute is ideal for many organizations, while some require as much as 75-90 pages per minute.
  3. Paper stock. How many different varieties of paper size, color, and weight are you required to print on? Would multiple paper trays be helpful to save you the hassle of frequently changing the paper? Do you need a machine that can print larger formats such as on 11 x 17 paper? Is it necessary to have MICR laser check printing capabilities such as for accounts payable and/or payroll?
  4. Finishing. Do your business processes demand that you print or copy several sets of the same documents? That would make a machine with sorting and stapling capabilities an ideal choice for you. Another question to ask is, do you perform a high volume of mailings that would necessitate the machine to have folding functionality? If hole-punching is a frequent task of your department, you may look into a machine that comes with that ability.
  5. Security. Do you want to set limits on who can use the machine, or is it necessary to keep track of the machine’s usage in order to pass those charges on to a client? Some copiers can be configured to require passwords and account code entry prior to operation. Another important component to security is the ability to have the machine’s memory wiped clean once you have reached the end of your rental or lease agreement. Be sure to have this built into your contract, since it is likely that the machine will be used to reproduce proprietary or confidential information which you’ll want to prevent from getting into the wrong hands.

Assess your Average Monthly Print Volume (AMPV)

Once you have a clear idea of the features you’re looking for in a copier, you’ll need to assess your Average Monthly Print Volume (AMPV) for both copying and printing. How many copies do you expect you make each month in black and white? In color? No need to be exact, but a ballpark figure will be valuable when negotiating your contract or agreement. Most rental or lease agreements come with a monthly charge that includes a pre-determined number of color and black and white copies, and you will be charged for each page exceeding that amount.

Some copier rental companies provide the toner, supplies, and technical support necessary to set up and maintain your copier. You can either pay for your supplies as you go or opt for a per-page cost model based on usage. Contact the experts at SmartSource Computer & Audio Visual Rentals for advice on selecting the multi-function copier that fits your unique needs and budget.