Notices, assignments, handouts, letters to parents and official reminders: few places have such pressing need for photocopies, and in such large volumes, as educational establishments. Despite the increasing emphasis on digital technology in classrooms, with laptops and electronic whiteboards an ever-present in schools, colleges and universities across the country, there is still a considerable reliance on paperwork in Britain’s education system. Photocopier rental for schools is really the best solution over owning a machine that runs into several thousand pounds plus maintenance.
With a constant need for copies, and in abundant quantities, any school needs to make the right decision when it comes to the rental of its photocopier, or MFD (multi-function device) as they are often referred to in the public sector – a term which accurately reflects modern photocopiers’ extra features and capabilities. Make the wrong decision and choose an unreliable machine, or one that has a high cost per copy ratio, and the costs can mount up to an alarming degree – in repairs or supplies or both – with the end result being an unnecessary drain on the school’s already limited budget.
Official advice on photocopier procurement
So important is the issue of procuring photocopier machines in schools that the Department for Education has its own guidelines on the matter. The Government Procurement Services MFD framework stipulates that a school should not buy its photocopier (or MFD), but instead should enter into an operating lease agreement. It specifically states that schools should not enter hire purchase or rental agreements. The reason for this is that only with an operating lease agreement can the educational establishment be sure of getting the right level of maintenance and support in the event of anything going wrong with the machine. An operating lease agreement will also guarantee standard service checks at regular intervals, helping to ensure that the machine has a long and fruitful career.
The difference between an operating lease and a finance lease
Where an operating lease differs from a finance lease, for example, is in the nature of the agreement. With an operating lease, the machine is effectively owned by the leasing company, and the school borrows it for a fixed term, paying an agreed amount in rental fees for the duration. With a finance agreement, however, the machine is actually bought by the school with money that is loaned by the leasing company and then paid back by the school over a fixed period of time. With an operating lease, the maintenance of the machine is the responsibility of the leasing company, which is obliged to keep the machine in good working order. Each local authority will have its own measures in place to ensure that schools in the area get the best advice on procuring photocopiers, and should be consulted accordingly.
Research is key
As anyone in education is aware, only by doing your research will you be able to get the result you are looking for. This is as true for procurement as it is in any field of study. The best way for a school to find the most suitable photocopier available, with the right kind of lease agreement, and at the right cost per copy ratio, is to compare quotes from multiple suppliers. The process is an easy and painless one. By simply filling in a few key details here, you will be able to see exactly what local and reputable suppliers are offering. With no obligation to enter into an agreement, comparing quotes is an essential step in the procurement process for all educational establishments. A short and simple online form like this one takes the hassle out of the research, and means you don’t have to repeatedly enter the same details with each individual supplier. It also makes the process quicker and more efficient – essential considerations when your time is every bit as limited as your budget.