Cost of Rental vs Buying

Which is the right financial choice for your business?

Cost of rental vs buying
How does the cost of photocopier rental compare to buying a machine outright? Depending on the size of your business and the monthly printing volume you produce, it is more likely your requirements will fit into one of three types of photocopier: low, mid or high volume.

To illustrate the cost of renting a machine in comparison to buying it, we’ve compared the average costs of a colour printer from each level.

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Photocopier Volume Type Typical Features Average rental payment per month Rental over 1 year Rental over 3 years Rental over 5 years Average Purchase Price
Low (700-5000 copies per month) Print, copy, scan, 30-35 copies per min £30 – £40 £360 – £480 £1,080 – £1,440 £1,800 – £2,400 £800 – £1,000
Mid (8,000 – 40,000 copies per month) Print, copy, scan, fax, 36-50 copies per min £60 – £100 £720 – £1,200 £2,160 – £3,600 £3,600 – £6,000 £2,500 – £4,500
High (40,000+ copies per month) Print, copy, scan, fax, binding, booklet, stapling, network connectivity, 60+ copies per min £150 – £300 £1,800 – £3,600 £5,400 – 10,800 £9,000 – £18,000 £5,000 – £10,000

As you can see the difference in cost becomes really apparent when you compare a longer term period. For businesses which only need access to a photocopier for short periods or for specific events, rental is a much more cost effective option. However, once you start lengthening the rental period to 3 or more years it makes less financial sense and outright purchase may be more practical.

Other costs to consider

When it comes to the difference in cost between renting and purchasing a photocopier it can appear at first glance that the far cheaper option is to purchase. However, what you may not be factoring in your calculations is the ongoing running costs of a photocopier. In return for your monthly rental payments you will usually also receive free supplies and a repairs / maintenance service. When you buy your own machine, you will be responsible for meeting these costs.

For example, renting a mid-volume, colour printer at an average cost of £80 per month will total £4,800 over 5 years. To buy this type of photocopier outright would cost (on average) around £3,500 which is clearly less. However, if we estimate the likely running costs for the machine over the same period:

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Toner cartridges: 3 x £70 per year x 5 years = £1,050
Paper: £180 per year
Repairs: £250 per year

= £1,480 investment over 5 years

When added to the original purchase price of £3,500 this amounts to £4,980 to buy and run a photocopier for 5 years which, compared to the £4,800 paid over a 5 year rental, is actually slightly more expensive.

We’ve focused our research on the three most common volumes of printing needed for businesses. However, it is possible to purchase a desktop photocopier for less than £100 but these models tend not to have the quality or capacity needed for businesses. They generally have low copy rates and poor resolution and, if overused, will be prone to faults and breakdowns. At the other end of the spectrum there are machines that deliver up to 100 copies per minute as well as specialist printing, folding and binding functions. They are large in size and are usually only required by the very largest of businesses with a need for continuous printing. Prices for this level of machinery can be £20,000 and higher.

Benefits of purchasing a photocopier

If your business uses a photocopier consistently it may well be worth considering investing in a machine as an outright purchase.

Investment in your business
Owning a photocopier means you are taking on an asset that your business will continue to reap the benefits of.

No photocopier contracts or ongoing payments
Buying a photocopier means there are no lengthy contracts that are tricky to cancel or ongoing payments to factor into your budget.

Lower long term cost (for the machine)
In terms of the cost of the machine itself, purchasing outright will work out cheaper than renting in the long term. However, once you’ve factored in the ongoing maintenance and supplies needed this may not be the case.

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Benefits of renting a photocopier

For businesses which don’t require constant access to a photocopier renting is a much more flexible option.

No large upfront expenditure
Rental agreements are based on affordable monthly payments to spread the cost and enable you to budget effectively.

No asset depreciation
While purchasing a photocopier is investing in an asset, this asset will quickly depreciate in value.

Technology upgrade or downgrade
As your business’ needs change so can the photocopier you rent and, as a result, the monthly payments you’re making.

Flexible photocopier contracts with no long term commitments
Most rental arrangements can be cancelled with around 30 days notice.

All-in-one service
For a rental fee you will usually also receive quick installation of the equipment and free training for your staff, plus ongoing maintenance and supplies.

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