How to Know if you’re getting a competitive Per Click Service and Maintenance Rate on your Office Copier/MFDs

With the advent of more reliable copier/MFDs (or multi-functional devices), both the actual lease/sale price of the device and its accompanying service and maintenance per click costs have come down markedly in recent years. Service and Maintenance pricing, is usually in the form of a per click or per copy/print (but NOT scan as this should NEVER be chargeable by your copier service vendor).

Among the four large copier manufacturer players, in recent copier/MFD equipment, service & maintenance RFPs RAS is consistently seeing per click rates for service in the neighborhood of $.005 for black & white and $.05 per click for color, unheard of rates just five years ago.

Copier servicing costs are determined by suppliers from a complex formula that essentially benchmarks the # of copies between service calls, the cost of device consumables, all the variable costs that factor into service/maintenance per click rate. With devices running longer in between service calls, consumables coming down in price (with the additional influx of recyclable consumables) this have been pushing the service cost down to record lows.

However, in an example of an act of God,  the tsunami/earthquake in Japan a few years temporarily took its toll on product from Ricoh and Canon as well as consumables, which impacted service and maintenance costs to some degree in the years that followed.

One final thought about service and maintenance and that is each copier band or model typically has its own service and maintenance rate. Central Copy Center duplicator or high band devices like a Canon 105 page per minute devices have a much lower per click rate for service & maintenance than a low band copier/MFD that copies/prints at say 22 pages/minute because the duplicators generate high volume copies between service calls and the low band device produces far fewer copies between service calls. It’s not uncommon to see a fairly wide disparity in the service & maintenance rate between say a duplicator (at $.005 per click) and a low band device like a Canon 2022 which could have a click rate of $.0104–three times higher than the 105 copy per minute device!..

In most cases, the copier service provider will provide a “blended rate”, which means they will “average” the variable per click rate of all the different models provided in a customer bid. But be wary that they FIRST compute the total service and maintenance costs for all devices then divide by the total # of clicks to arrive at an average per click rate–they don’t just take an average of all the variable rates! In a recent RFP, RAS noted a vendor that did just that–they averaged the variable click rates of about 6 different models, irrespective of the volumes for each band and came up with a composite average of $.008–still less than what the customer was currently paying, but a statistically incorrect rate.

When RAS applied the various click rates to the different bands and computed the service and maintenance costs based on a monthly average copies/prints baseline for each device specified, the sum of the charges divided by the total clicks came to $.006, not $.008– a savings of over $60,000/year based on this customer’s high volume!

So remember to always verify a “blended” click rate by applying the variable rates to the individual devices by band and taking the overall average–not just the average of the variable rates–you have to use the all-important weight factor of where the clicks occur. In most cases over half of your clicks will be generated on Copy Center equipment, which should greatly offset the higher per click rate of convenience equipment at a higher rate.

Finally, Facilities Management Companies may charge a slight markup on their equipment, service and maintenance to cover their sourcing, technical integration and ongoing support, above and beyond the placement of the equipment and the service and maintenance. While many view this as a necessary “value-add” provided by most providers at gratis in some cases, remember you get what you pay for. In RAS’ view it is acceptable for the vendor to tack on 5% or so margin for the overall fleet management of the equipment–but impose SLAs to ensure they are meeting a high standard!

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