January 23, 2023
Like most common phrases, “cut out the middle man” has some wisdom in it. Sometimes there are advantages to dealing directly with a manufacturer. But when it comes to printing and copying equipment, you might be surprised at how this age-old wisdom holds up (or doesn’t) in real life.
First things first, let’s address the big one…
You’d think that if you purchase directly from a manufacturer, you’ll always get a better price. But that’s typically not the case when it comes to printing equipment.
How is this possible?
Manufacturers give their branches and dealers the same wholesale price on their equipment. Because manufacturers are more dependent on revenue from their branches, many branches mark up equipment more than a dealer will. Because dealers may also offer equipment from other manufacturers and other profitable services, dealers can remain profitable with a lesser markup.
Additionally, dealers often serve as a powerful advocate for their clients, and they put additional pressure on manufacturers to keep their prices as low as possible.
So when you shop through a dealer, not only will you likely get a better price, you are also helping that dealer keep equipment prices lower throughout the industry.
A manufacturer has a strong incentive to sell you one of its products, and the truth is, different manufacturers have different strengths and cater to different needs at different price points. Although manufacturers need to preserve their reputations for making a good quality product, a dealer has a much stronger incentive to match the right equipment with the right business. And especially when it comes to printing equipment, that’s very important.
There can be a big difference between the printer that has the most features and the one that will bring you the most ROI, because every organization prints differently. What will save one organization quite a bit of time and money may be largely wasted on another. Expect that a great dealer will ask you quite a few questions before they make a recommendation, and that they will consider solutions from a multitude of manufacturers to find the perfect match. You won’t get that same service from a manufacturer.
Service and Repairs
There’s a misconception that manufacturers must be better at servicing their own equipment. In reality, a dealer’s technicians are often certified by the manufacturer themselves, and dealerships can earn special recognition for how well they can maintain and service their equipment. Our strategic partnerships include Canon, Kyocera, Konica Minolta, Sharp, and more.
And just like with custom recommendations, because a dealer doesn’t manufacture what they sell, providing excellent service is an important differentiator. Dealers have more of an incentive to provide prompt, reliable service than a manufacturer has.
Not that this is big news, but when you call a manufacturer that makes products all over the world, you’re not going to have their full, undivided attention if your printer happens to not perform as expected. You won’t have a representative that’s dedicated to your account, and you won’t have a direct line. You’ll get a 1-800 number, and we all know how those tend to function.
The reverse is true when you work with a dealer. You’ll get someone who is incentivized to maintain a great relationship with your organization. You’ll get their direct number, their email, and maybe even a holiday card…while paying less for your equipment.
This one probably won’t be your biggest reason to use an independent dealership over a manufacturer’s branch location, but we believe it’s very important. Most large companies — including equipment manufacturers — have a commitment to giving back. But when you work with an independent dealer, their time and resources tend to stay within their local community. And they do more than just employ community members — they also provide more opportunities for quick career advancement within that community.
A large manufacturer will probably not have a presence helping out at local festivals, supporting school activities, or working with local nonprofits. But a dealer offers a way to shop locally while still accessing world-class technology.
At Marco, our Gold Standard culture features four pillars: employee engagement, client satisfaction, community support, and vendor partnerships. We believe in promoting internally, providing professional mentorship, supporting the communities we live and work in, and serving our clients and partners well.
Finding an Independent Copier Dealer
Most copier dealers will provide you with better prices, better service, and better technical support than a manufacturer will. But some will do a bit more than others, so it’s worth a phone call or a little online research before you decide who will get your business.
At Marco, no printers or copiers leave our facilities with default admin passwords still on them. It may seem a small point, but if you’re counting on your staff to do this, your confidence may not be well-placed. 40% of IT personnel admit to not changing default admin passwords, despite the security risk. Even though they’re often not given the same care as laptops and servers, networked printing equipment can represent a potential point of entry for hackers.
And while we’re not a huge manufacturer with locations in multiple countries, we’re not tiny either. We are able to exert our influence on top manufacturers to keep prices for our clients as low as possible while offering best-in-class service. So if you’re in the market for a new printer, copier, or multifunction device, we are in an excellent position to make your next steps — including researching the next product — simple.