Is a “Free” Color Copier Upgrade Right For Your Business?


The word “free” is the most powerful in marketing. Many industries all over the world use that word for good (such as a free report to educate their prospective customer) or for evil (with a bait and switch that will cost the customer much more money in the near future.) Unfortunately, copier reps tend to go the latter route.

In this case, copier reps will begin their pitch by talking about a black and white copier. In the middle of the presentation, they’ll direct your attention to a color copier they want to present as a “free” upgrade.

How This “Free” Offer Hollows Out Your Bank Account

Why would a copier rep give you a color copier, with many more components and a typically higher price, at the same rate as the black and white model?

The answer is this: color prints are where the copier companies make their real money.

Every copier company wants to own your color prints because this area is where copier reps make their real money.

Are There Any Situations Where You SHOULD Take This “Free” Color Upgrade?

The reasons why taking this offer would be smart are few, but they do exist. Let’s cover some of them here:

  • You already need a color printer, and this arrangement would genuinely save you money.
  • Your company would have systems in place to discipline your company’s color usage, and would only allow for color in particular use cases.
  • You know the difference between black ink only gray and composite gray and how to set your copier defaults accordingly.
  • You are using a high-priced color printer for marketing.

When Should You Say “No, Thanks” to This Upgrade Deal?

In many instances, you should run screaming from this deal. Here are a few of those situations where rejecting the upgrade offer would be the smart move:

  • You don’t need color printing for any case.
  • Your employees use color prints whenever they feel like it, and you don’t have a system in place to reign in their color usage.
  • When you already have a color printer that does color prints at $0.07 or less per color print.
  • You need a reliable printer. Color copiers have far more internal components than black and white copiers. Because of their increased complexity, they will break down far more than their simpler black and white counterparts.

How Much More Money Will You Pay for Color Prints?

If you print 500 color pages per month (roughly 20 pages a day), which you aren’t expecting, you will pay close to $2,500 extra to your copier leasing company over four years.

These numbers are conservative estimates; the real number will almost certainly be more. Before you take a color copier, make sure you need color prints.

Don’t let yourself fall for a bad deal by not considering the long-term implications of taking the “free” color upgrade. Be sure to make the best decision for you and your business.

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