As Business Grows So Does Need for Commercial Copier

December 2, 2016|

By Scott Thurmond

How do you know when it’s time to step up to a commercial copier?

It’s that time of year that we business owners reflect about where we have come and where we are going. We’ve all made it through the depths of the recession, and the strategies which we adopted during the worst of times we find have helped us succeed in the best of times. We are all looking –or should be looking—at our 2017 goals along with our longer term business plans and developing strategies to take us where we want to be at the end of the coming year.

Having the resources, both in terms of people and equipment, is crucial to your success. Yet, every business owner, particularly those who survived the recession, has a fear of getting in over one’s head in business investment.

When you opened the doors of your business, you probably just went down to the office supply store around the corner or to one of the big box warehouses. You went cheap, you toted the printer home, and plugged it up. Later as your business grew, you may have progressed from an inkjet to a laser. As you added employees, each had a personal printer, with the newest being faster than the older, which often got replaced as the patience of waiting for a printed page wore thin. Your business was suddenly swimming in a myriad of personal desktop printers, and your budget was being attacked by growing costs of ink or toner cartridges.

Let’s define commercial copier versus big box warehouse version. Mainly, the difference is the way the unit is designed by the manufacturer. Box store products are mainly designed to be serviced by the end user. Cartridges are replaced whether all the components of that cartridge are expired or not. Commercial machines are designed with each component separately. A professionally trained technician will have to exchange these pieces when they expire. Because the full life of each component can be gained, the design saves money in the long run.

How do you know when it is time to bite the bullet, so to speak, and take your business to a new level with a commercial copier? There are several questions we routinely ask small business owners to determine if they are ready for the next level, such as “How much do you spend on cartridges a month?” and “How many sheets of paper do you use in a month?”

Typically, customers who are spending in the neighborhood of $100-$300 a month on ink or toner need to look into commercial copiers. Those who run through a third or more of a case of paper in a month’s time need to think about entering the commercial market of copiers.

You need to consider other things as well. For example, is your company sending printing to a fast-print company because greater quality is desired? Are you paying the fast-print company to produce your pages on a commercial machine? Would you be able to produce that file at your office, if you had a commercial copier? How much time would that save driving back and forth to the fast-print store? Another common issue is service. Help when an issue does occur can save time. If your current equipment breaks, does it have to be mailed off for repair or replacement? This can be very disruptive to an office environment.

Today, the commercial copier industry has a wide range of options for a small business wanting faster, more professional results. Entry level machines come in either desktop or small freestanding units. They are physically smaller, but possess most of if not all the same features of the bigger versions.

Most machines today will copy/print/scan (folder and email). Common options are fax, staple and more paper sources. Use your salesperson as a resource. They will ask you all these questions, not to “up sale” but to qualify. This will help make sure you get a machine to match your needs.

If you are purchasing the first copier, get multiple quotes on a new and maybe an off-lease machine. An off-lease machine could get you more features for less money. Because most copiers are sold with a service agreement, the dealer will stand behind the product. However, if technology is a major factor, newer is most always better.

We all know the end of the year is a good time to purchase cars, but it is also a good time to purchase copiers as companies upgrade their machines at this time. If this is your first upgrade or you are adding more copiers, keep in mind these can be purchased or leased. Your salesperson can help with this also. Ask about end of term options.

Don’t stay frustrated with your current situation. There are many flexible options to take you to the next level.

Scott Thurmond is CEO and Co-Owner of Duplicating Systems, Inc. (DSI), which provides multi-function copiers, software solutions and other technology. The company has been serving the CSRA for more than 30 years. For comments or questions, email

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