Operating Without Supplies Contract...

kdw75

Well-known member
I know a lot of people will buy a lightly used machine for next to nothing and just buy the supplies themselves. We have always been under contract, but it makes me wonder if not having a click contract makes sense. It appears with the prices of toner, that the click charge contract would be cheaper, but I wondered if anyone out there had any real world experience.
 

pippip

Well-known member
I've always had similar thoughts. Watch a few Just a Printer videos and everything seems possible but I always have to remember that his print shop is VERY different from mine and alot of other more traditional "Business Printing" shops. From what I see the majority of his jobs are books, and I'm sure most of the those orders are fueled by the Bookshop/Distribution side of his operation. I really admire him and watch every video but I do feel it can give a false sense of a "standard" printshop.

Personally we have one V80 and an old DC242. Most of my jobs are usual business stationary, flyers, brochures, ncr books, memorial items, posters etc. I generally have my jobs out the door 24-48hrs after being ordered. I just couldn't operate with any down time in diagnosing, taking apart and waiting for machine parts. I ring Xerox and hours later they're here, need a part and following morning they're back with the part, sometimes they drive straight to the warehouse and return with the part same day. I feel the V80 has been good, has its flaws like any press, but overall I rarely need service. However I have had 1 or 2 instances in the past where large amounts of the machine had to be taken apart and numerous parts replaced, at the time I was thinking thank f%$k I have a service contract.

I also wonder how those without service contracts are managing the likes of the Xerox drum fiasco, I'd imagine alot of wasted hours convincing them of refunds and returns.
 
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Ynot_UK

Well-known member
For us, it's not even a consideration. Having an experienced engineer (the same engineer each time) who arrives on site within a couple of hours of a call, with the ability to quickly identify and source parts when required within a couple of days, is worth its weight in gold.

Those that have done it, I'd like to see the value they place on their own time, as I'm a firm believer that you'll make more money than you can save, by investing that time into developing existing and new business, i.e. doing your core job, the one you do best.

Dan's ability as an electronics & mechanical engineer is exceptional, he makes it look easy, just like Brendan makes piano look simple. But neither are, and there is a really big risk the customer facing side of the day job will suffer due to downtime & stubborn problem pondering/trial & error/wait for more parts...

Each to their own though.
 

kdw75

Well-known member
I've always had similar thoughts. Watch a few Just a Printer videos and everything seems possible but I always have to remember that his print shop is VERY different from mine and alot of other more traditional "Business Printing" shops. From what I see the majority of his jobs are books, and I'm sure most of the those orders are fueled by the Bookshop/Distribution side of his operation. I really admire him and watch every video but I do feel it can give a false sense of a "standard" printshop.

Personally we have one V80 and an old DC242. Most of my jobs are usual business stationary, flyers, brochures, ncr books, memorial items, posters etc. I generally have my jobs out the door 24-48hrs after being ordered. I just couldn't operate with any down time in diagnosing, taking apart and waiting for machine parts. I ring Xerox and hours later they're here, need a part and following morning they're back with the part, sometimes they drive straight to the warehouse and return with the part same day. I feel the V80 has been good, has its flaws like any press, but overall I rarely need service. However I have had 1 or 2 instances in the past where large amounts of the machine had to be taken apart and numerous parts replaced, at the time I was thinking thank f%$k I have a service contract.

I also wonder how those without service contracts are managing the likes of the Xerox drum fiasco, I'd imagine alot of wasted hours convincing them of refunds and returns.
I have watched his channel. He just seems like an average hard working guy, but after watching more videos I am surprised at his resourcefulness. He doesn't hesitate to rip into equipment and start doing repairs. All I would be thinking, is what if I can't get my work out tomorrow and lose my biggest clients????
 

AP90

Well-known member
I have watched his channel. He just seems like an average hard working guy, but after watching more videos I am surprised at his resourcefulness. He doesn't hesitate to rip into equipment and start doing repairs. All I would be thinking, is what if I can't get my work out tomorrow and lose my biggest clients????
I think he mentioned he had a degree in electrical engineering or something like that. I could be wrong though. Which may or may not help out. I'm not really sure.

All I have to say is I see how often I change drums and 2nd BTR's on our Versant 3100 and I wouldn't want to be fitting the bill for those parts. To put it into perspective, I just changed out 4 drums this week. Just changed a black drums that was streaking that still had 80% life left according to the machine. Im lucky if I get below 50% on anything other than yellow. Also, I feel like I go through a 2nd BTR about once a month. Current price on drums in aftermarket sites are $175. 2nd BTR is looking around $450-500. Thats before I even buy toner.

Now what I have considered doing is buying a B&W machine off contract and using it to run perfect bound book guts. I feel like with only 1 color there's a lot less than can go wrong and a very mature sector of printing. But, we don't have enough call for it yet to make it worth it. Until then, ill run them on the Versant as well.
 
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pippip

Well-known member
I'd also feel that with non-service contract machines you'd always be pushing/moving the limits of acceptable print quality in an effort to prolong parts before changing.

Even is you started off being strict it would always be a sliding scale, only natural.

It does also come across as a big factor between KM v Xerox for parts quality and frequency of change, even ignoring Xerox's past few months of bad batchs.

How are Ricoh for longevity of consumables?
 
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pippip

Well-known member
For us, it's not even a consideration. Having an experienced engineer (the same engineer each time) who arrives on site within a couple of hours of a call, with the ability to quickly identify and source parts when required within a couple of days, is worth its weight in gold.

Those that have done it, I'd like to see the value they place on their own time, as I'm a firm believer that you'll make more money than you can save, by investing that time into developing existing and new business, i.e. doing your core job, the one you do best.

Dan's ability as an electronics & mechanical engineer is exceptional, he makes it look easy, just like Brendan makes piano look simple. But neither are, and there is a really big risk the customer facing side of the day job will suffer due to downtime & stubborn problem pondering/trial & error/wait for more parts...

Each to their own though.

I agree with this. You have to realise what your job is. Are you a printer or an engineer?
I have far more important things to be doing than "trying" to fix machines.

If you have multiple machines and staff time to deal with a down machine for an unknown amount of time then great but I'd question setup in that case. Again Just a Printer and the likes with non deadline environments and unbelievable know-how are exceptions.
 
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bill kahny

Well-known member
After using OKI's off contract and buying the cheapest toner I could for them. My "standard" job uses more toner than I ever guessed. I had one job clicking over the nickel just in toner. I pulled it off and ran the shell on press and only click the veriable for most of the run. I would never go back to a non-click contract. I wish I could get one for my presses now.
 

jwheeler

Well-known member
I know a lot of people will buy a lightly used machine for next to nothing and just buy the supplies themselves. We have always been under contract, but it makes me wonder if not having a click contract makes sense. It appears with the prices of toner, that the click charge contract would be cheaper, but I wondered if anyone out there had any real world experience.
I agree with the reasons mentioned above by @pippip , @AP90 , and @Ynot_UK in regards to your time being valuable so you can focus on your core job of printing and customer service.

The other key factor I would include is that with a CPC contract, you know precisely what your profit margins are. You know precisely what every print costs, regardless of coverage, regardless of repairs (within reason of course as there are factors like jams, setup sheets, etc).

When you buy your own parts and supplies, your expenses will vary drastically from month to month. You might have one month with no repairs, and another where you are replacing expensive components like fusers, drums, belts, etc. Some jobs will have heavy coverage and use up your toner rapidly. Will you charge more for those jobs since they are costing you more than a job with light coverage?

With a CPC contract, all of these worries go away. You may be spending more or less in the long run, it's hard to know without experimentation - but peace of mind is worth that extra cost if you can still make a profit.
 

Puch

Well-known member
I see shops doing it, but mostly with old(ish) machines, producing mediocre quality jobs for the average Joe, coming in from the cold. Professional printers tend to corner the vendors (make them fight for the client), eventually lowering the click charge significantly. As I see, the drive behind the off-contract working scheme is always a click charge which is to high for the given area's market. In the 'first world' countries it's rarely the case, as they've mostly healthy markets and an abundance of resources. On the other hand, print shops in Africa or India might not make the second year if they stick with a click-based contract.
 

chrisio

Member
I always swore I would never have a machine on contract!. Last month my v80 cost me well over 1k and this month is about the same if not more. The guy I use is fantastic and some how gets genuine parts at rock bottom prices 2nd btr ~£190.00 for example but we got burned on drums today, 3 brand new drums all failed within the space of 1500 sheets. Fingers crossed that the damn machine will run for a couple of months before requiring any major intervention. I won't be replacing the machine any time soon but I when it's replaced it will be on contract.
 

kslight

Well-known member
If you have multiple machines, someone that really knows what they are doing, a generally reliable and simple machine to begin with, access to parts, no need for active software licenses / renewals, no quick turnaround expectations, and low quality expectations…you could get away with it for awhile.
My experience with the printers that operated without a contract is they worked sort of but if they sat for any period of time forget about it, and most of the time they weren’t worth the space they occupied, better off using our contract machines. Of course those are much older generation digital printers than you are probably talking about.

Many Modern printers can do a lot with a low click charge and relatively low lease payment (compared to parts and service cost a la Carte)…I know some people do not like this approach but it’s something you should really crunch numbers on.

I think the majority of modern production level digital equipment I have experience with would not save you money in the long run to do this, the parts alone would eat up any savings you hope for, and that’s assuming you are throwing the right parts at the machine, and a lot of fooling around,
 

Ynot_UK

Well-known member
@Puch makes a very valid point which I'd not considered before - the attraction of exploring the DIY route being brought about to avoid or escape from inflated click charges. So really, the big effort at the outset should be put into securing a decent click charge fixed for a five year term.

Of course this may give the OEMs indigestion - when we explored the direct channel they proposed a "maximum 5% annual increase over the five year term" That's a cumulative 27% increase by the end of year five, perfectly lining up the sales pitch somewhere toward the end of year four about how upgrading to the latest machine would give much cheaper clicks. We said no, and through the dealer channel secured a fixed click charge for five years (slightly higher than the direct CPC in year one).

The other way of ending up DIY by default rather than choice is when you won't play ball with the direct channel toward the end of contract and your machine gets dropped off service to force the issue. I think this is what Dan said happened with his old B/W 1200.
Another good reason to have a great relationship with a dealer rather than going direct - they will keep your machine going for as long as they can get parts (the very opposite of how direct will treat you.)
 

mutti8000

Active member
If it is a toner machine i would not recommend going off contract, just too many things to go wrong on these flimsy machines not build from the ground up for real production.
 

msaeger

Well-known member
A customer and I figured out one time what it would cost if you were to only get parts for the standard maintenance and the toner and it came out to about what the cost per copy on the contract is. We could have been way off so don't be basing any decisions on this! You may be able to do it cheaper by not putting in all the parts when they are due but it seemed like a gamble. One call that requires a circuit board or something else very expensive would have totally wiped out any savings.
 

Puch

Well-known member
One call that requires a circuit board or something else very expensive would have totally wiped out any savings.
That's a very important point. I remember when our (then brand new) Konica C1085 developed a strange problem after an accidental, neighborhood-wide power outage. They said the motherboard has to be replaced - when they did, it solved the problem eventualy. After awhile I asked the service tech how much the mobo would cost. The answer totally baffled me: the tech said the total cost for the local KM was around 6000 USD.
 

AP90

Well-known member
That's a very important point. I remember when our (then brand new) Konica C1085 developed a strange problem after an accidental, neighborhood-wide power outage. They said the motherboard has to be replaced - when they did, it solved the problem eventualy. After awhile I asked the service tech how much the mobo would cost. The answer totally baffled me: the tech said the total cost for the local KM was around 6000 USD.
I wouldn't doubt that cost at all. I knew of a Xerox customer that had to have a fiery replaced. Big bucks there but covered under contract. We've had ours reloaded with software once or twice.

Our old 1000i had to start having circuit boards replaced on it. I can only imagine the cost of them.
 

kdw75

Well-known member
Just like new cars. We always buy the Ford Extended warranty, which is around $1,800 and covers everything to 100,000 miles. With all the gadgets and tech, you can eat up more than that in just a service or two.

Our old V2100 is out of contract now. We don't use it that much, but the supplies seem to have gotten cheaper.
 

rogue

Member
I know a lot of people will buy a lightly used machine for next to nothing and just buy the supplies themselves. We have always been under contract, but it makes me wonder if not having a click contract makes sense. It appears with the prices of toner, that the click charge contract would be cheaper, but I wondered if anyone out there had any real world experience.
You know you can have a “service only” contract that doesn’t include supplies? It’s cheaper than a toner inclusive contract. At least that’s the case at Canon Solutions America. Just make certain you’re buying genuine manufacturer’s toner because some generics can really screw up your engine, regardless of the brand.
 

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