Local Authorized Dealers can have more that one brand to offer and they can choose which copier/mfp or software solution is best for you. Typically Manufacturers Direct branches will only offer their brand or their software solution and it just might not be the best fit for you. You can think of it like buying car insurance you can go to the agent that reps for Prudential, Allstate and Farmers and they can find the right insurance solution for you. The same is true for the Authorized local Copier Dealer, most have two or three brands that they sell, support and service.
- Ask the sales person how long they have worked with their current company. A sales person who has less than 2 years experience may not have the resources nor the knowledge to meet your needs.
- Ask about the the tenure of their service personnel and if you will see the same service technician. Having an experienced service person and the same person servicing the machine is important to the quality of work and troubleshooting. A company that sends inexperienced service reps and multiple reps to the same machine is not what you want. Too many chefs can spoil the soup and the same is true with copiers.
- Ask how long they have been in business. A couple of years may not be what you are looking for, today's machines are highly evolved from yesterdays, go with a company that has a proven track record. Ask for references from the sales person and then get your own, a recent church that I know of emailed 4 or five other church business managers and asked them questions about their current copier vendor.
- Ask if they carry multiple hardware and software solutions from different manufacturers. No one manufacturer can be everything to everyone. Authorized Dealers will have multiple solutions from multiple manufacturers. While direct branches will only sell their solutions.
- Ask them how long it takes for a service rep to be on-site and then ask for some references. Doing the research before hand will save you time.
- Get a copy of the sales contract and service contract to review before you sign, a wishy washy proposal document that was created in a word document is NOT THE CONTRACT! The contract will have many clauses to protect the Direct Branch, the Dealer and may allow them to charge you extra for supplies, fuel surcharges and more.
8. Where is your parts and service location? The closer the better right?
Do you really want to buy from someone who offers the lowest price? Ask yourself, what are you sacrificing when you buy solely on the lowest price? Will it be the service, the training, or the support years down the road.
Typically, Independent Authorized Dealers have longevity with their customers, sales people, service staff and technicians. Typically, Direct Branches have the higher turnover with sales people, service staff, technicians and clients.