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An honest comparison of the different types of copier companies.

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You’ve got the power. Yes, you. Your organization has the power to choose between different kinds of copier companies. With so many options available to you in seconds with a Google search, what type of company might be right for your company? The copier industry is still very much a robust industry with more than its fair share of healthy competition. That’s great news for you, the customer, since you have the power to choose between a bunch of different competitors that push one another to provide better business solutions at better prices. 

We here at ClearView Business Solutions have seen more than a few competitors (of different sizes) in our time. We’ve learned a lot about the different kinds of copier companies and want to help companies find the ideal solution for their business. We’ve broken down the types of copier companies into three categories: mom-and-pop businesses, privately-owned but authorized dealers and manufacturer-direct branches.

Even though we here at ClearView believe in the benefits of a privately-owned authorized dealer, we know there are times when we’re not the right fit. With this article we will provide an honest comparison of the benefits and drawbacks of each type of copier company to help you make an informed decision. 

What are the advantages of a mom-and-pop copier company?

These are your small, family-owned or independent businesses. Mom-and-pop businesses have their advantages. Check them out:

  • Personal attention

Mom-and-pop businesses are obviously a lot smaller than, say, large corporations. As such, they can provide the personal care and attention that larger organizations can’t provide as easily. In practice, mom-and-pop businesses pick up the phone, rather than putting customers through a maze of steps in an automated phone system before they finally speak to a real, live, human being.  

  • Flexibility

Since the copier industry is somewhat unregulated, small mom-and-pop shops can resell many different systems without the systems’ manufacturers’ authorization. They can also offer more financial flexibility for no-credit or low-credit clients, since most of what they do is in-house.

What are the disadvantages of working with a mom-and-pop copier dealer?

The small size of a mom-and-pop business also comes with its downsides. For example, mom-and-pops don’t usually have the latest training and manufacturer certification on their equipment, so that can affect their ability to make repairs in a timely manner. They may have to use third-party parts and toner, leading to more service required for their systems. Also, they sometimes can’t resolve service calls, because they don’t have the resources and full support from the manufacturer. 

Organizations that do not require the guaranteed reliability and full support of the manufacturer might want to consider getting equipment from mom-and-pop businesses.

What are the advantages of privately-owned copier dealers?

Then there’s another kind of copier company: privately-owned (but authorized) copier dealers. The following are the advantages of working with a business of this size:

  • Best of both worlds

Privately-owned (but authorized) copier dealers provide the best of both worlds.

First, customers receive the personalized service of a smaller organization. With service for billing questions, for example, privately-owned dealers provide fast, immediately-accessible support.

Second, compared to larger organizations, privately-owned dealers have a greater variety of hardware and software solutions. Privately-owned dealers can sell equipment from multiple lines and copier manufacturers. They have full access to all OEM parts.

  • Certified parts

Privately-owned dealers enjoy access to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. Mom-and-pops usually don’t enjoy such access. OEM parts are authentic, fully-legitimate parts that come directly from the manufacturer. They’re the real deal.

  • Certified technicians

Somewhat similar to certified parts, certified technicians are manufacturer-certified by global giants like Toshiba, Canon and Xerox. Those global brands put their stamp of approval on technicians to recognize that they have passed their tests and training.

What are the disadvantages of privately-owned copier dealers?

Privately-owned copier dealers sometimes aren’t the best fit for giant, global corporations with offices dotted across the world. Privately-owned dealers often simply don’t have the geographical reach to get to customers halfway across the world.

Privately-owned dealers also aren’t the best fit for very small organizations that satisfy their document-based needs with small equipment like a desktop printer from a big-box store. In such cases, other than good advice, privately-owned dealers offer more than necessary.

The bottom line is that generally speaking, organizations with a need for a reliable system and manufacturer-certified technicians would do well to consider a privately-owned, manufacturer-authorized dealer.

What are the advantages of a manufacturer-direct branch?

A manufacturer-direct branch is a subsidiary of a large global corporation. For example, Toshiba America Business Solutions is a subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation. A manufacturer-direct branch is “a business model in which the manufacturer sells its goods directly to the end-user of the product.”

Learn about a manufacturer-direct branch’s advantages, such as:

  • Efficiency

A manufacturer-direct branch’s business model is efficient. It sells straight to the end-user.

  • Resources

Large, manufacturer-direct branches have the backing of a whole corporation behind them. These corporations tend to be global, large corporations, with a wealth of resources to provide.

  • Financing

Manufacturer-direct branches can offer their own financing, independently of a leasing company. That simplifies the process for customers, so they have fewer parties to deal with.

What are the disadvantages of working with a manufacturer-direct branch?

Manufacturer-direct branches’ selection is limited by the fact that they sell equipment from only one manufacturer or other specific partners. Moreover, manufacturer-direct branches are risk averse to low-credit clients. Smaller clients may be prioritized behind the needs of large, corporate clients. Also, the small to medium-sized business can often be overshadowed by larger accounts.

So, large corporations that manage big, national and global fleets should consider manufacturer-direct branches. For such corporations, cost and uniformity are more important than value. Manufacturer-direct branches are better at providing uniform systems at a predictable price. They’re not excellent at providing customers with value.

What kind of customer shouldn’t buy from any of these kinds of businesses?

Some organizations don’t have to buy from any kind of copier company. An example of such an organization would be a small business with a low volume of printing, scanning and copying. Such an organization would also have no need for the guaranteed reliability, service, support and supply fulfillment of a managed service agreement. Also, if your organization doesn’t place a high priority on copier and data security, then it shouldn’t bother to work with a copier company.

What’s the best type of copier company for you?

At this point of the article, you might be asking yourself, “So what? Why does this matter?” Well, now that you know what each kind of copier company has to offer, you can choose the kind that best matches your organization. As I said at the beginning of the article, your organization has the power to choose which kind of copier company it wants to do business with. Hopefully now,your organization can make a very well-informed choice in copier companies.

Small organizations with low volumes of printing should consider mom-and-pop dealers. Enterprise-level, global corporations would do well to take a look at manufacturer-direct branches. Finally, depending on whom a privately-owned, authorized dealer serves, small to medium-sized organizations, as well as enterprise-level clients, could benefit from a privately-owned, authorized dealer.

If you’re considering choosing such a dealer, then why not consider ClearView Business Solutions? We offer all of the advantages of copier companies of our size, plus a few added benefits.

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