How “Free” Upgrades to a Color Copier Can Cost You $2,500

Copier companies get inventive when looking for ways to extract more cash from their customers.

One new tactic they’re trying is to begin the sales pitch by appearing to sell you a black and white copier, and then change gears to upgrade you to a color copier at “no extra charge.”

What is the reason a copier rep would want to give you a free upgrade to a color copier? Besides, a color copier is a far more complex (and more expensive) machine than its black and white counterpart.

Why would a copier rep upgrade you to a color copier at no extra charge?

Copier reps don’t make the most money from selling the copiers themselves; their real money maker comes from the color prints these copiers produce.

Every copier rep wants to own a cut of your color prints. The costs for color prints add up fast, and the money they make from these prints pads their wallets nicely.

Are there reasons to accept a free color copier upgrade?

Some narrow circumstances exist where you would want to take a copier rep up on the “free” color upgrade. Here are some examples of such situations:

  • You already need a color copier, and taking this deal would save money for your company.
  • Your company enforces strict policies on how often workers can produce color prints.
  • You know what “composite gray” is versus “black ink only” gray, and you know how to change the copier settings to only use black ink for black and white copies.
  • You use a high priced color printer for marketing purposes.

When should you stay away from this offer?

The reasons for staying away from this offer are plentiful and common. Here are some examples of those situations:

  • Your employees frequently print more color prints than they need.
  • Each color print costs you $0.07 or more to produce.
  • Your company never needs color prints.
  • Your company needs a more reliable copier. Black and white copiers have three or four replaceable parts, whereas color copiers have closer to fifteen parts that can break down at any time. If you want a copier that won’t break down on you often, stick with a black and white copier.

Observe your situation carefully before accepting a free color upgrade.

Color print costs can quickly spike out of control if you’re not careful. If you produce an extra 500 color prints per month that you weren’t expecting, you can easily pay more than $2,500 over four years.

Color prints are fantastic to have. However, before you set your office up to print in color, make sure you need those color prints first.