For the average modern business, documents need to flow fast, cost-effectively, and with minimal need for maintenance. Not only is it the heart of the document processes, but the right or wrong device can literally make or break a workflow. However, with so many different manufacturers and models on the market, finding the right printer is a daunting goal. Then comes the task of paying for this significant investment – and the options add another spin on the entire process. Is it better to lease or buy? That’s what this article is about. Read on to learn about the advantages of each. 

Choosing to Lease or Buy

Leasing devices and purchasing them outright are the two most common modes of acquisition when it comes to acquiring office technology. Each has advantages or disadvantages which may make one choice or the other more appropriate for a given business. Here’s a close look at the advantages of each. 

The Advantages of Leasing a Printer

Leasing a printer – or renting one under contract for a specified period of time – is common when companies work with managed service providers. There are two types of leases: operational leases and capital leases. In the former, companies rent a printer and have the option to buy it at the end of a lease under certain conditions laid down by the lessor. In contrast, the latter operates as a lease-to-own contract, wherein the company is essentially financing the printer during the period of the lease. Both routes have clear advantages, including:  

  • The acquisition of high-end technology at a lower initial price. Leasing eliminates the acquisition cost of printers, which may put more powerful devices into the hands of companies with smaller budgets. This helps them get what they need to compete with more well-funded, established competitors. 
  • The option for managed services. When it comes to office printers, leasing often means much more than simply renting a printer 
  • Provided maintenance. Many leases come with a clause guaranteeing the maintenance of the device, which is one less thing with which the company needs to concern itself.
  • No obsolescence. Printing technology undergoes major updates every few years as it is an industry which is rapidly growing. With a leased printer, a company can avoid falling behind in its printing capabilities because they can lease a newer model at the end of their lease. 

The Advantages of Purchasing a Printer Outright

In many ways, purchasing a printer outright is the more straightforward option. There’s no contract involved, and the company has total control over the device. Likewise, purchasing the printer delivers other potential advantages, including:

  • Cost-savings over the long run. Although the acquisition cost for purchasing a printer might be greater upfront, it might be cheaper in the long run to buy it.
  • The ability to resell. An owned printer may be sold, whereas a leased printer is returned to the lessor at the end of the term.
  • More control over the model. Many managed service providers will work with clients to identify the best model for a company’s needs, but purchasing a printer outright means the company can take advantage of the cheaper costs of remanufactured or used devices. 
  • Better tax deductions. Owning a printer may result in higher tax deductions for the device as opposed to leasing it. 

Things to Consider with Either Option

Leasing and purchasing a printer are both viable routes – neither one is necessarily better than the other. However, regardless of the route chosen by a company, there are still a few things to consider in the process. These might include:

1. Flexibility

With a lease, a company is free to release the printer and switch it out for a new one, potentially another model. However, in the meantime, that may also mean a company is locked into a contract – something which can hamstring an office should the printer not work for its needs. Likewise, purchasing a printer may grant more flexibility in initial options but it may also make it harder to sell in the long run if the device is more specialized. 

2. Hidden Costs

Hidden costs may come in a variety of ways. For owners, they may take the form of unexpected maintenance and supply costs. For leased machines, it may take the form of outsourced printing when the device cannot handle a job.  

3. Maintenance

 Owners are generally on their own with maintaining a device – a responsibility they may be prepared to handle. Likewise, leased printers are often maintained by the owner, but that can mean waiting for an available technician. 

Explore the Routes to Printer Acquisition

The decision to lease or buy a printer has no clear-cut rule about which is the better option. Either may prove ideal for a business depending on its needs, capabilities, and preferences. Virginia Business Systems can help businesses identify the best route forward when it comes to office printer acquisition. Before making the decision, contact a specialist to gain a deeper insight regarding what is best for your company.

Virginia Business Systems has 60 years of experience helping businesses refine their processes. Contact us today