In the world of education, the management of resources, particularly technological ones, plays a vital role in providing an effective learning environment. One such resource, often overlooked yet integral to the functioning of a school, is the humble printer. If you read this blog, you should know by now that I never stop talking about school printers! It’s for a good reason…
Whether it's for administrative paperwork, teaching materials, or student assignments, a reliable printer is a must-have. However, when it comes to procuring this essential piece of technology, schools often face the decision: who to go with and how long the lease should last?
Leasing is an attractive option for many schools, allowing access to high-quality, up-to-date equipment without the significant upfront cost of purchasing. Yet, when 5-year agreements are common practice from print suppliers, business managers should consider several key factors before agreeing to the terms and conditions.
You May Miss Out On Technological Progression
The first and most obvious is the rapid pace of technological development. In our digital age, a device that is considered cutting-edge today could be viewed as a relic in a few short years and it’s no different with printers.
Heat-free print technology is the cutting edge, printing faster, at cheaper rates and using up to 87% less energy. But being locked into a 5-year lease would prevent your school from upgrading to this efficient, energy friendly technology without having to pay a hefty fee or restart the lease from anew.
Lack of Flexibility
Predicting a school's printing needs over the next five years is another challenge. With fluctuating student enrolments, changes in curriculum, administrative policies, and an ever-increasing shift towards digital learning, the printing landscape can look vastly different year over year.
Because most suppliers quote on a per-page pricing, this inevitably leads schools to go over their agreed limits and face paying additional fees. Pretty much every school I speak to is spending more on their printing each year than they anticipated.
The other way to look at the financial aspect is that a 5-year lease agreement locks a set amount of the school's budget into a fixed commitment. As a school you gain certainty for the years ahead, but this will be the minimum you will pay and there’s no opportunity to reduce your costs. As school budgets have been cut over the years, one factor in why many schools have struggled to keep pace is because they’re locked into lengthy contracts that mean they can’t shop around for a cheaper / better supplier.
Maintenance and Down Time
Don’t forget about maintenance and repairs. As printers age, they are prone to more frequent breakdowns, and may require expensive repairs or be out of action for days.
While some lease agreements include comprehensive service coverage, not all do so you may face more unexpected costs that you didn’t anticipate. And even when they do, printer downtime can disrupt school operations, causing more harm than just financial cost.
There’s nothing worse that having to tell your teaching staff that the printer is out of action!
Lastly, environmental sustainability, a value that more schools are increasingly focusing on, can be impacted by a long-term lease.
Committing to a printer for five years may delay the school's ability to adopt more energy-efficient or eco-friendly models when they hit the market. Recently I've talked a lot about heat free printing which is helping our schools take 100s of tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere every year!
Heat-free printing technology is now the gold standard in eco-friendly print technology, but many schools may not be able to take advantage of this for years to come as they see out their existing lease agreement.
While a long-term year printer lease may appear a straightforward, cost-effective solution, the reality is often more complex. The rapid pace of technological innovation, unpredictability of printing needs, potential maintenance costs, and limitations on financial flexibility and sustainability initiatives all argue for a more cautious approach.
Therefore, schools should carefully evaluate their unique needs, budget, and values before making such a long-term commitment. As the old adage goes, "Look before you leap," and that certainly applies when signing a 5-year printer lease agreement. This is why at Eco Printers, we offer a rolling 30 days agreement for any school. If you’re not happy with our service, or you want to change, then you can do so. You don’t need to wait years down the line to do so.
If you’d like to learn more about our contract free arrangements, or see our heat-free print technology in action, get in touch with us here and we’ll be happy to tell you more.