Why lease a copier versus buy?

Why lease a copier versus buy a copier? Which is better? What is the difference between buying and leasing and which is better for me? These are questions many businesses and organizations ask when seeking new office technology. Perhaps these are your questions too. 

The answer is … well … complicated and it depends on your situation.

First, let’s take a look at the pros and the cons to leasing and buying office equipment.

Leasing a Copier: The Pros

Leasing keeps your equipment up-to-date.   We’ve all bought computers, cameras, phones and other technology, thinking we were getting the next and greatest technological wonder, only to discover that such-and-such company just released one better, faster and more user friendly. Frustrating, isn’t it? Well, with leasing you can get the copier or whatever tech you need and at the expiration of the lease, say, three years later, get the newer, faster and more efficient piece of tech. This can help you keep your equipment and network current and talking with whatever new Windows or Mac OS updates may have been released.

You’ll have predictable monthly payments — making for easier budgeting. This benefit is especially attractive to organizations with limited budgets as money is typically tight. The monthly payment makes keeping up with costs more bite-sized and manageable.

You don’t have a large payment upfront, if any at all.   There is generally less expense upfront leasing than buying. It’s just your monthly payment. Plain and simple.

You can free up money to get other technology.   Because you are not draining your financial coffers with big purchases, the extra money made available you can invest into a network upgrade, a new data back-up and recovery system or even a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phone system. Shameless plug here: Yup. We can help you with all that too.

Leasing a Copier: The Cons

You'll have extra financing fees.   Generally, but not always, much like leasing or renting almost anything else, you end up paying more while leasing than you would have if you had just bought the equipment outright.

You still have to pay for it, even if you don’t use it.   A slow economy or other circumstances may forcecompanies to trim their workforce. With less staff, some organizations may find some of their copiers going unused. That said, during our most recent economic downturns, we saw companies renegotiate their leases with us to allow for less expensive equipment or a fleet reduction, lessening their costs. We’re flexible, but other dealers may not be. Be sure to ask before you sign. 

Your selection of desired equipment may be limited depending on what the leasing company will fund. Your dealer should let you know of any limitations if any are present.

Buying a Copier: The Pros

It’s just plain easier.   You know what you want. You find it. You buy it. No lease paperwork. You don't always have to share financial information as you must in leasing. No giving of sensitive information concerning how and where the equipment will be used. No complicated lease conditions. You just get what you want. End of story.

You control your equipment maintenance schedule.   In most cases, leasing companies often require you to do maintenance on their schedule according to their specifications as ultimately, the equipment is theirs and they want to protect their investment. Conversely, with you as the owner, it’s your equipment and you’ll do with your investment however you like. This is a bit different with R.K. Black. As a servicing dealer, whether or not the equipment is purchased or leased has no effect on the way we service equipment. It depends on how our service agreement is set up.

You get what you want.   You're not limited by the leasing company's stock. You can get the brand or model you want, depending on what the dealer can get you. In our case, the leasing company does not limit us. We can lease any of the business or office equipment we sell and the leasing company does not stock any equipment other than lease returns which they can only wholesale.

Buying a Copier: The Cons

You tie up a lot of money and have a higher initial cost.   Some pieces of equipment are just too pricey to purchase them outright and may deplete funds that could be used on other aspects of your organization or other technology assets. Going to a lower-cost option in order to save your company money may give you less than favorable results. With leasing you could get what you need and not be out tons of money. 

You bought it, you own it, but now it’s old and you're stuck with it.   Everyone knows technology is growing at an exponential rate, so now more than ever, by the time your equipment has “paid for itself,” it’s obsolete and it’s time to replace it. The trouble is, you’ve got a dinosaur you can’t use, others won’t take or, let alone, buy.

Image of RK Black copier in downtown Oklahoma City office building

Summing up: Figure out what you need and what you’re getting

It all boils down to what you are looking for and what your organization needs. Do your homework. Talk to your company’s finance people to see what you can afford, your tax preparer to see if leasing or buying would better serve you and ask lots of questions.

Now when you have those details figured out and are talking to a technology solutions provider, ask the following questions:

What kind of lease am I signing?   If it’s a capital lease, it’s like a hybrid of a lease and ownership. Rent to own, if you will. You have the benefits of being able to make predictable monthly payments, much like a loan, and calling the equipment yours and are thence able to depreciate it, but at the cost of owning soon obsolete and eventually unusable equipment. With an operating lease, the leasing entity owns the equipment.

What is the lease’s term?   Leases generally run from 12 to 60 months, depending on what a business needs. Usually, the longer your lease term, the smaller the monthly payments — but much like a home mortgage, you end up paying more in the long run.

Is the lease flexible in case my company grows or retracts?   Generally, your leasing agency will work with you. The term of your lease may change, but your monthly bill will very likely reflect the differences. Remember to ask this before you sign!

What happens if I need to get out of my lease or upgrade?   Again, make sure to ask this question before you sign. Find out if you can pay off your lease early. Often there’s a penalty for terminating early. In the case of termination, if you want to get out early, you will likely be accessed a string of payments and a penalty.

Do I have a buyout option?   With a fair market value buy-out option, at the end of the lease period you can return, upgrade or buy the equipment. For the latter, as an example, if you lease equipment whose value is $10,000 and the fair market value in the end is $3,000, you can purchase the equipment for the fair market value. We generally recommend against this, as any technology these days is obsolete within 18 months of its acquisition. On the other side is the $1 buyout option, which is essentially a lease to own agreement, but with a higher monthly lease payment. We usually recommend against this as well due to obsolescence and the higher lease price.

Will I have to insure the equipment?   If you are leasing, generally, yes. You’ll have to factor this cost into your monthly spend, but as most businesses or organizations have standard insurance, most office equipment will fall under that policy. But in any case, ask your insurance company if this is true for your situation.


If you are asking yourself why lease a copier versus buy one, ask yourself these questions: What are your needs? What is your financial situation? Where do you expect or want your organization to be in the near future? If you are small and don’t see any growth or need for upgrades in the near future and you have the money, you may want to purchase, but if you need lots of technology, see potential for growth and can use your funds for other aspects of your organization, consider leasing. There you have it.

If you have any questions about business equipment, or leasing or buying a copier, give us a call at 405-943-9800. You can also just click the button below, fill out the form, submit and expect to hear from us right away.

About R.K. Black, Inc.

R.K. Black, Inc. is an Oklahoma City-based, family-owned leading provider of office technology solutions to small and medium-sized businesses in Oklahoma and Kansas. We specialize in everything business technology from copier, fax, printer and scanner technology to document management, onsite paper shredding services, VoIP phone systems and managed IT support to video surveillance solutions.

If you want to learn more about us, feel free to explore the website, read our other blogs or click the button below to be contacted by one of our reps and tell you! Also, be sure to keep watching our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter for more business tips from our blog.