Even small photocopiers are complicated pieces of machinery. They require constant replenishment of consumables like paper and toner cartridges, and they consist of numerous moving parts. Consequently, all photocopier machines – black and white, colour, free-standing, desktop and A3-compatible – need regular maintenance, and there is always the chance that something can go wrong and repairs will need to be done. The industry standard for dealing with this is are photocopier service contracts. This is an agreement that the customer makes with either a supplier or directly with the manufacturer of the machine that ensures the machine will be repaired in the event of damage, and in many cases will receive regular check ups, and be refilled with the necessary consumables.
There isn’t a single standard service contract that can be applied to all models of photocopier. Partly because photocopiers differ so widely in terms of size, power and capabilities, and partly because there are a great many differentials to any agreement, the details of service contract are as variable as the machines themselves.
The following things are all possibilities in terms of what might be covered in a service contract. The first thing, naturally, is the fee. This is usually a monthly fee, and its size will depend on the contents of the contract. As is to be expected, the more services that are included in the contract, the higher the fee will be, but it will also depend on the size and type of machine. A black and white desktop machine that handles paper sizes no larger than A4, is likely to involve a significantly lower fee for its service contract than a free-standing, colour, A3 handling machine.
Another key factor that determines the eventual fee of a service contract is whether or not it includes the costs of consumables, and also whether or not labour and the prices of any replacement parts are covered in the agreement, or to be added on as an additional expense.
Another key element of a service contract is the nature of the routine maintenance visits, namely the frequency that the engineers will be expected to check on the machine, and what they will be expected to do. It is possible to have a service contract that stipulates the regularity of maintenance checks and determines the exact routine tasks that will be performed, such as cleaning the machine and restocking it with consumables.
In the event of something going wrong with the machine, providing you have a service contract, you can be confident that it will be repaired by a dedicated professional. However, it is worth bearing in mind that it is possible to agree exactly what the response time for the technicians will be. If your business relies on its photocopier to perform tasks that are integral to the successful running of its operations, it helps to know exactly how soon a technician will be on hand to deal with any problems. Industry standard call out times are between four and eight hours. Some suppliers are even able to include a guaranteed fix time, and this can be just as significant a factor in the call out time. It doesn’t matter if the engineer arrives immediately if they cannot then fix the machine in a reasonable time frame.
Another thing that could be included in a service agreement is the assurance that a replacement machine will be provided in the event that any more serious repairs need to be undertaken. Likewise, it is important to check what the service contract says about which party will pay for the costs of the labour and the prices of any replacement parts. Such details can add to the overall fee of a service contract, but peace of mind can be priceless, which is why service contracts are an essential step for any small to medium enterprise that uses a photocopier machine.
The best way to make sure that you are getting the right service contract for your business’ photocopier machine, i.e. one in which the fee is in perfect balance with the services you expect to need, is to compare a number of offerings from different suppliers. By making a comparison between a handful of reputable suppliers, you will be able to see what is on offer for the type of machine you have, and only then will have the opportunity to make an informed decision and keep your company’s ongoing expenditure to a minimum.