Do you have a fleet of printers or copiers that needs service and support? Maybe you need a managed print service contract to go with your copiers. If you have hundreds or even possibly thousands of these devices spread all over the country, your first inclination may be to work with the device manufacturer, hoping for the best deal possible.
We have worked with many large organizations to help them optimize and standardize their printing and office copier fleets. We can help ensure that you have the most efficient and best copier and printer for your entire fleet as you work with our team.
As we go through this article, we will go over the issues that can help you to decide if a local office equipment provider with national coverage is right for you, or if a manufacturer makes more sense.
Advantages of a Local Provider
One of the biggest advantages you will have while working with a local dealer with a local rep is personalized attention to the importance of your account. Basically, what this means for you is that you will get help whenever you need it.
You can call your rep at 6 PM on a Friday and likely get help because you are an important account, especially if you have hundreds or thousands of devices. With the manufacturer, you may not get quite the same level of concern. The local dealer knows your contract, your lease term, cost, model numbers, contact info, and maintenance histories, monthly payment, etc off the top of their head.
Another benefit of working with local reps is you can often cover more than one brand. For example, we can easily cover Xerox, Canon, HP and Konica Minolta, with some other products like Brother on a case-by-case basis. This helps a lot if you have a mixed fleet of printers and copiers.
The local dealer can also help you work out your financials, too. Do you want a $1 lease or a capital lease? Do you prefer to purchase the devices and just have a supplies and service contact? The independent copier dealer will give you all your options in a concise manner. Another advantage of a local authorized dealer is that they tend to have software solutions which can cover implementations like rules-based printing.
When working with a local provider, you may have access to the CEO’s contact information, and be able to get the attention of everybody in the organization. The main advantage of working with the local provider should be the level of support you get from them. If you’re working with a local provider and not getting extremely high-level support, then you’re probably better off working with the manufacturer or another local provider.
When to Work with a Manufacturer
There are some advantages of working directly with a manufacturer you cannot get when working with a local provider. For instance, if you have a special need, the manufacturer can work with your engineers to create a product for specific applications. A local provider would be unable to affect the production line in such a tangible way.
We find the one area that can make a lot of sense is if you are part of the government. Sometimes there is a state contract or a copier service agreement which is pre-negotiated, and you are not allowed to purchase from a local office equipment dealer. In this case, getting the copier from the manufacturer could be quite logical.
There can be cost benefits by working directly with a manufacturer. We normally see this happening when the number of devices exceeds 1,000. The smaller accounts of 200-300 copiers tend to pay higher prices, because they are not always comparing competitors to get the very best price for the situation. If they have all the competitive information, then it’s very possible to get better pricing.
Another advantage of working with the manufacturer is they can sometimes modify the firmware, so that whenever a product ships it is preconfigured according to your specifications. This can save a ton of time for the IT department by avoiding the constant need to change out a multitude of settings in the initial install.
This does not mean a local company could not accomplish the same objective, but they are not as adept at these kinds of solutions.
One Reason Why Prices May Be Higher with a Local Dealer
Almost every manufacturer has pricing protections for their largest accounts. What this means is, the first company to acquire that account will get the best pricing from the manufacturer. This is basically a reward for bringing such a large opportunity to the table. It also benefits the dealer who is partnering with them, by ensuring that someone else who has done no work on the project will not receive the same exact deal. They believe it would not be fair if the company were to spend two years on getting an opportunity, and then someone else gets the exact same pricing.
So, if you go to the manufacturer first to get pricing, it is unlikely the local dealer will get any competitive special pricing. This makes it appear like you’re getting a better deal because you’re working with a manufacturer, when it’s simply because you went to them first. Being the first will probably get you the best price. So, the question you want to ask yourself is, “Who do I want to work with before I get the opportunity?”
The local copier dealer will also likely have a managed IT department and network support technicians to help your installation go smoothly.
Given that we are a local company with national reach, we would always hope that you start with someone like us rather than the manufacturer. If you would like to start the conversation about replacing your printer fleet, we would love to discuss your options and help you however we can.