Maintenance agreements, service contracts and extended warranties.
Service contracts or maintenance
contracts are an integral part of the photocopier and printer
industry. They are important to the supplier because they provide
a regular income that is essential to maintain their service departments.
Extended warranties mainly apply to some desktop machines and
printers, usually the low budget machines where a service contract
is not really cost effective.
Service or maintenance contracts
usually consist of a standing charge with an additional charge
per printed page, billed on a monthly basis. Sometimes a set number
of free pages will be included in the monthly charge, but there
are variations on this format depending on the particular supplier
and type of equipment involved. Some may have no standing charge,
others may have no free pages and some may provide limited supplies
or service. Overall you will have to find out what is included
in your contract as they are all different. To give a basic out-line
of the important factors that might be included in a typical contract,
see the example below.
Example of importanat details
in a typical service contract.
A standing monthly charge to include
500 A4 pages will be billed at £15.00 + vat per month.
All additional pages over the set
monthly limit will be charged at 1p + vat per A4 page, and 2p
+ vat per A3 page.
This will cover all toner, maintenance,
parts and labour.
All service calls will have a response time of 4 working hours
from the time the call was placed. Our service departments working
hours are 8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Fridays and do not include
weekends and bank holidays.
Please note that the company's
terms and conditions will also be included.
How your monthly total
Most companies will then contact
you on a monthly basis and ask you to read a counter or meter
that will be present on your photocopier or printer. From this
reading they will work out how many pages to bill you for. Please
note that an A3 page is twice the size of an A4 page and so is
Is a maintenance contract
Service contracts on the whole
are a good thing, as any machine with a mid to high volume output
needs regular maintenance, performed by a trained technician at
regular intervals. Trying to run it on a pay as you go basis will
not be cost effective compared to a service contract in the long
run. They also provide peace of mind for expensive and critical
machinery, minimising down time and keeping your machine running
at its best with regular maintenance.
When you may not need a
There are circumstances
where it may not be as cost effective to run a service contract.
volume machines (that is machines that only do a fraction
of what they are capable of in a month) may be able to run on
a pay as you go basis. Copiers and printers that may be needed
for their features rather than their potential print volumes may
be in this category e.g A3 is needed, duplex or simply for convenience.
In these circumstances pay as you go can be cheaper and free you
from a monthly out-going. In fact modern digital equipment is
very stable, and maintenance intervals may dictate that you only
require a service once every 2 or 3 years. Some particular photocopiers
and printers can be very easy to set-up and run your self, and
will require little outside support when used in low volume environments.
Obviously you will have to buy your own toner and pay for the
odd service call from an engineer, but in general this will still
work out much cheaper than a service contract.
A4 desktop machines
generally do not require a service contract. However some may
feel that it is desirable and convenient, which is quite common
and perfectly acceptable if it suits your needs. Extended warranties
are usually more common if you require peace of mind and usually
only requires a one off payment instead of an on going cost.
considerations and questions for service or maintenance contracts.
1. Find out what
charges are involved?
2. Find out how many pages the machine is designed
to produce a month (please note that monthly maximums stated in
most brochures and specs are the maximum that can be achieved
on an occasional month, and not on a regular basis. A regular
monthly figure will be approximately a third to a half of the
3. Find out the price of toner, and what the
call out charges are for an engineer on a pay as you go basis.
4. You do not have to have a service contract;
you can pay as you go.
5. Low volume equipment may be cheaper to run
on a pay as you go basis.
6. Service contracts are essential if you will
be doing a reasonable amount of output (for the type and size
of machine) or have critical use for the equipment.
7. The running costs (toner and servicing) over
the life of a machine is singularly the most expensive part, and
can be many times the initial purchase price, especially for cheaper
To sum up
There are many service options
depending on your needs and circumstances, and in the end only
you can decide which is the best option. There are no right and
wrongs only what suits. The main advice is to ask about what options
are available to you as there maybe more than you think.