I can relate to the service contracts. We currently lease a couple of office copiers as well as own some but all of them have some sort of contract for either service or supply. I have one Konica Minolta that I’ve had good experience with and just bought an office that was also running a Konica. The other two are Canons. Only one do I pay on a per page printed (what I believe you guys refer to as clicks) method but I hate it because we always seem to go over and get hit with big charges. I’d prefer to own the machines if possible unless there is a big disadvantage to doing that.With a production level digital printer you will want a service contract, that’ll generally cover your maintenance and toner costs. But everything is money. You normally pay a cost per copy for this, some vendors also want a minimum monthly charge on top.
I don’t know that Epson offers production level equipment in this field…wide format yes but not a conventional printer that you’d do most of your work on. Major digital production players are Ricoh, Konica, Canon, and Xerox.
Like another suggested, a lot of people here are like me, running an in plant. I’ve been doing this over 15 years. It’s probably best to first find the key people that’ll be trusted to make the equipment / etc decisions, instead of buying whatever and then trying to staff it. Will save you a lot of money in the long run, towards making the most efficient purchases, researching local service companies, and negotiating the best prices. Printer sales people are often like used car salesmen…greasy and will say what you need to hear to try to make a sale, and will take advantage of you if you’re not an expert. I cut our monthly print expenses by $3000 because our former owner didn’t negotiate the contracts and bought worthless to us accessories, not to mention huge efficiencies gained by bringing the right tools in.
There’s also more than just pushing print and finishing a job…especially if you are doing work for other people, my experience is many do not send print ready files, and require manipulation to get good results.
In a later post you ask about using a storage pod - absolutely not a good idea for paper. Printers and paper prefer specific temperature and humidity levels to avoid problems.
I’m currently working with a couple of local colleges with graphic design programs to see if any seniors would be interested in coming on to do the graphic design work as well as run the machines. But, whether them or someone else, I’ll probably be starting the company with people who know very little about the business. Do manufacturers offer in-depth trainings or is it more of a “here’s the instruction manual, call us if you have questions” method.
I definitely know that I’m in this for a long, slow growth and am prepared for that but I also don’t want to buy a bunch of equipment that just collects dust. My Peloton already has that job covered.