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Navigating the Copier Contract Frontier: 6 Key Questions to Ask Your Service Provider
Heather Fudger /
/ Categories: Blog, Printers & Copiers

Navigating the Copier Contract Frontier: 6 Key Questions to Ask Your Service Provider

So you are about to sign a contract with a service provider for a new copier. Imagine a scene from an old Western movie: except that instead of two gunslingers, you and your imaging reseller are standing on either side of the negotiation table, ready to strike a deal. While it might not be as dramatic as a showdown at high noon, preparing is still important.

Signing a copier contract does not have to feel like a high-stakes duel. With the right questions, you can confidently ensure you are getting a fair and beneficial deal for your office. 

Here are the six most essential questions to ask your service provider when signing a printer contract:

1. How much will it cost?

Of course, one of the most crucial questions is about the cost. Get a clear breakdown of all the costs involved, including the upfront price, monthly fees and any added charges for services or overages.

Knowing the full financial picture of your technology spend in all categories of the office environment related to printing, software and conference rooms at the start will help you budget appropriately and avoid any unexpected or wasted expenses. This is your opportunity as the buyer to ask about these other areas and if your partner can maximize the potential of your current technology spend to achieve your total office solution. 

2. What is included in the service agreement?

Before you sign on the dotted line, get a clear understanding of what is included in your service agreement. Never assume the contract covers everything you need. Does it cover routine maintenance, repairs and toner replacements? How are overages reconciled? What other types of products can your vendor service? Are you pausing to check your desktop printers as well? What if you could pay only for toner and get your labor and parts for no additional cost? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you avoid any surprise costs down the road. It is like knowing if your saloon serves free peanuts or not – essential information!

3. What is the average response time for service calls?

When your printer breaks down, you need it fixed quickly. You need to know how long it takes for the technicians to respond and complete service calls before you sign the contract. Ask about the service provider’s response time for service calls and their other services. Are they a full-service provider for the help desk and other business areas that could provide help that would give time back to your employees? Knowing how fast they can respond and repair your equipment or support all your technological needs can save you from significant downtime and productivity loss.

4. Are there any usage limitations or restrictions?

Some contracts might limit your monthly print volumes and charge extra for overages. Make sure these limits align with your business needs to avoid unexpected costs and the flexibility to change during a partnership. Clarify any restrictions to ensure that the contract suits your company's printing requirements.

5. What proactive support plans are available from your provider?

Establishing a regular cadence for partnership reviews, contract evaluations, future technology goals and financial planning is essential. Ensure that your teams conduct Executive Business Reviews (EBRs) and that you have layers of subject matter experts in place to support the growing needs of your organization.

6. What kind of training and support does your provider offer?

Ensure that your staff will receive adequate training on using the new copier efficiently. Additionally, inquire about the ongoing support options available in case you have any issues.

Armed with these key questions, you are ready to approach your service provider with confidence and clarity. Remember, the goal is to secure a solution that meets your technology environment’s needs without any hidden surprises. By asking the right questions, you can expand your knowledge of what is available through one partner vs. many while ensuring smooth operations and avoiding potential pitfalls down the road. So go ahead, step into that negotiation like a pro and make sure your team has the reliable, efficient copying and technology services it deserves.

Not sure who to consider for your next contract? Sharp has a large network of authorized resellers and branch offices in the U.S. Easily find one near you through our interactive locator.


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