7 Frequently Asked Questions when Leasing or Buying a Copier

FAQs When Leasing or Buying Your Business Copier

Should you buy or lease a copier? Sometimes this can be a daunting decision, especially if you are an office manager or executive assistant who has been assigned to this task.   How much do they cost per month? What’s the right machine and accessories for your office?  What if it doesn’t integrate with your current environment?  

Let’s start with the basics, lease terms.  Leasing a copier (also called an MFP, for Multi-Function Peripheral) is an extended payment option for businesses or private parties who need to upgrade or replace their current capital equipment with flexible payment terms. Leasing allows you to pick a payment term (which can extend anywhere from 12-64 months, in most cases) and lease type (FMV lease or $1 out lease). 

What is the difference between a FMV Lease and a “Dollar Out” lease?

The difference is, FMV leases are simple and are the most common leases executed within the business equipment and copier and printing industry.

FMV stands for Fair Market Value, which means at the end of lease term, the customer or buyer (the Lessee) has the option to purchase the machine for sole ownership at that time for its Fair Market Value. This is an appraised value that is determined by the bank issuing the lease (the lessor).

 A $1.00 out Lease, or “buck out” is even easier. It is identical to a FMV lease, but the only difference is what happens at the end of the leasing term. Once your lease comes to fruition, instead of the option to buy your machine for the fair market value, the bank states the value of the machine at the beginning of your lease term (instead of the end), which of course is $1.00. So, you own your machine for a buck when your lease is over. Of course there is a catch here- your payments are higher than that of an FMV lease.  

If you want copier lease pricing use this tool.  


Below are answers to more frequently asked questions about MFP/Copier Leasing & Purchasing

  1. Should I lease, rent or buy a copier?
  2. How much does it cost to lease a copier?
  3. What is the difference between leasing and renting a copier?
  4. What is the average length of a copier lease?
  5. What speed copier should I buy or lease?
  6. Should I buy or lease an inkjet, laser copier, or digital copier?
  7. How do I get out of a copier lease?

Should I lease, rent or buy a copier?

This is often the most difficult question asked when making this decision. Here is some advice. Typically It makes sense to lease a machine if you are confident that you are capable of paying your monthly payment, each month on time, for the entire duration of that lease term. It also makes sense to do this if you are trying to conserve capital for other expenditures. Leasing (and renting) also qualify differently for deductions; under most standard accounting practices leasing and renting a copier can be written off entirely each month whereas a direct purchase must be depreciated over time. However, Section 179 of the US Tax Code counters this measure; we recommend that you consult with a CPA or tax attorney for specific details.

Renting a copier is great if you are certain that you will only need a machine for a short duration of time and do not foresee the need to keep the device long term. Renting is very popular with traveling trade shows, accounting practices and CPA firms during tax season or law firms who have taken on a large case and need additional resources quickly. Typically, renting involves a monthly rental fee that is fully inclusive of a predetermined page / copy volume, toner, parts, labor, service etc. There is also a delivery and pick up fee that will apply as well.

Buying a copier is, in most cases, the most uncommon practice for businesses because you immediately own the machine from the minute you pay and take possession of it. Depreciation can be a future factor.  Most machines make a reasonable amount of upgrades in each iteration and owning your machine may loop you out of the ongoing value in upgrading at lease end.


Consider your service agreement.

Service agreements are the second largest evaluation to make when purchasing a copier. Service agreements are basically a warranty for the equipment that you pay for monthly, which include a predetermined page volume and all toner, parts, labor and consumables. In most cases your service agreement  includes everything, with the exception of paper and staples.

Many buyers get easily misled by predatory dealerships with service contracts; you do not need to lease a machine just to get a service contract. You can still get a service contract if you purchase a machine. Many dealers will bundle a service contract into the copier lease but bundling  is NOT a good practice. Here is why-

Advantages to bundling a service or maintenance agreement into a copier lease:

When you bundle a service or maintenance agreement you get one invoice every month instead of two. That’s the only advantage.

Disadvantages to bundling a service or maintenance agreement into a copier lease:

  1. When you bundle your agreements your page volumes are set in stone at the time of lease inception (so, if you “think” your volume will be 5,000 black and white pages per month and 1,000 color) then you sign your life away when you sign your lease. If you are wrong, and your true volume turns out to be 3,000 B&W and 100 color, tuff cookies! You signed up for 5000 and 1000, and that is what the bank will bill you for. This is often discovered after a few months into a lease when a desire is expressed for a volume change but, tuff cookies. The banks will not care, and you signed a contract which means you are obligated to pay it.

2.  You get 2 invoices every month instead of 1.

At Automated Business Technologies, we believe in the most ethical approach, which is NOT bundling your service contract into your lease.

When does leasing a copier not make any sense?

If you are the owner of a new business and are concerned about long term viability of your businesses,  it may not make sense to lease.  A copier lease is almost always impossible to break, so if long term commitment is not comfortable to you, then leasing is not a good idea. 

Additionally, new businesses can have difficulty getting approval from a bank for a lease; you should expect to sign a personal guarantee if you have been in business less than 2 years and are trying to get approval for a lease, just like any other leasing contract. 

Also, if your business makes fewer than 700 copies a month, it may not make sense to enter a leasing contract for a business-level or multifunction copier. You may consider buying an all-in-one copier, which is a smaller, usually desktop copy machine that can print, copy, scan, and fax just like a multifunction copier but at a slower speed.

How much does it cost to lease a copier?

Most businesses pay anywhere between $100 and $650 a month to lease a single multifunction copy machine. However, we can lease your business color copiers starting at $49.00 per month.

What is the average length of a copier lease?

Most leases conform to standard 12, 24, 36, 39, 48, 60, & 63 month terms. The most common lease chosen in the industry is 36 months FMV.

What speed copier should I buy or lease?

This is where you may find yourself  in “analysis paralysis”. 

What speed, what features, paper size…. This can be both confusing and overwhelming. Most machines come standard with all of the bells and whistles (Duplexing, collating, stapling, scanning, faxing, etc.). If this will be your office’s first copy machine, and you expect your volume to be around 3-5k per month (for color & B/W) then you should be fine with a machine that prints between 20-30ppm (pages per minute). 

Keep in mind that 30 pages per minute means you get 1 page every 2 seconds. What you need to do is really ask yourself and your staff what is most important to them when printing or copying, what they do with that job after it is printed or copied and how can this machine make you or your staff more efficient? Our line of machines allows you to scan right to email from the machine, scan to a thumb drive, scan to your iPhone, print from your iPhone and more.

If you own a law firm or have a high-demand need for copies or prints, with several users on staff who use the machine frequently then you should get a faster machine; at least 40 pages per minute and as high as 70ppm.

Should I lease an inkjet, laser copier, or digital copier? What is the difference??

Why Choose an InkJet Copier?

Inkjet copiers can be a very effective option for your business for a few reasons.  Typically, inkjet copiers offer high productivity enhanced with sharp image quality.  Heat-free technology speeds the printing process up, resulting in a faster print-to-page time.  Inkjets generally come with high-yield, long lasting consumables and fewer service calls.

Why choose a laser copier?

A laser copier or printer is the most popular choice among businesses because they print / copy at a faster speed and require toner (which costs less per page than inkjet devices). Not to mention, laser printer copiers produce much higher-quality documents (which should be important to you if you’re often printing presentations or contracts). Their toner is dry.

Why Choose a Digital Copier?

Most of today’s business or laser copiers are also called digital copiers. By “digital,” this means the device includes an internal scanner or fax, meaning the machine can scan and store documents. Scanning is very common these days as faxing is almost obsolete. This is very useful for most offices because devices can scan a document and then either store it immediately, fax it immediately or email it right from the copier.

Once a document has been converted to digital, it can then be archived on your computer or server instead of a paper filing cabinet. What is even more important about this element is the retrieval process of that document when it is needed. It can be found with a simple keyword within that document instead of digging through paper files. Think about that- what if someone misplaces an important contract in your filing cabinet? It could take you hours or days to find it. Digital never has that problem because a simple word will retrieve the document for you.

Analog Copiers: I am quite confident that no one is producing analog copiers any longer. The difference between analog copiers and digital copiers is the technology. Analog copiers would have to scan a document ten times, in order to make 10 copies of it. A digital copier can remember the scanned document and make 10 copies of it after scanning it only once. Additionally, analog copiers could not print, scan or store documents.

How to get out of a copier lease (or how do I terminate, cancel or end my current copier lease?)

We’ve been in the business of leasing office equipment since 2005 and we have very detailed knowledge in all of the current practices, needs, integrations, and more. If you need to exercise the termination of your lease, we will need to review your current lease, which you can email to us at info@yourabt.com, and partner you with a team member to guide you through the process.  

If you need to write a termination letter at the end of your lease, we have a lease termination template letter that is already written and covers everything you need to state to legally end your lease that you can download here.  Or, reach and we will send it to you immediately at info@yourabt.com

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