Do you understand your contract?




Managed print houses will be interested in saving you money while also assisting you in becoming more environmentally responsible. They should also be assisting you with aligning your new print fleet and solutions to your demands. Especially because many of us have changed our working methods and procedures since the coronavirus pandemic hit. But how can you be sure which choice is truly the greatest and most cost-effective match for your company or organization? 

Some companies conceal the full cost from you. They bury extra charges in the paperwork, leading with a cheaper “cost per click” but then listing numerous add-on costs, one-time payments, setup fees, included printer volumes, and so on elsewhere in the agreement. These hidden costs, taken together, may make them more expensive than other suppliers that are more transparent about their charges. 

Furthermore, customers of some MPS vendors do not realize until after installation that their MPS provider will provide them with low-quality non-genuine toners and consumables. These can be less expensive at first, but they can lead to downtime and poor print quality. 

It’s also important to work with individuals you can trust in any industry. We’ve read too many news articles where consumers have been trapped into contracts they didn’t fully comprehend as a result of their reliance on online platforms. Openness is critical and so is a relationship that you can rely on. Our main lesson is that you should be able to approach your MPS account manager (or other members of the team) with any questions at any time and expect a proper response. 

Here are some questions to ask if you’re looking for a new print and office technology contract. They should assist you in making an educated selection while finding the ideal partner for your requirements. 

Do I have a named account manager?

Nobody likes to have to explain the same thing over and over again to a variety of individuals on several days of the week or one after another. MPS providers that pass customer inquiries from person to person in a call center with little continuity of communication are among the most common complaints we hear. A reliable contact (or contacts) who understands your company and requirements is a critical aspect to consider. 

In the event of issues with delivery, installation or post-sales, whom do I call?

Most providers will have specialized teams that handle everything from the initial order to the installation and maintenance of your equipment. It’s unusual for your account manager to be the same individual who delivers your machine, plans your delivery, and sets up your apps; most firms employ specialist groups. You should establish a relationship with your key point of contact and know who handles what so that you can be confident in passing on your request to the appropriate individual for a rapid answer. 

Do you have a helpdesk, and can you visit my site if necessary?

In theory, analysts can perform remote repairs from anywhere. In certain situations, you’ll need boots on the ground. Inquire about whether your service provider has a helpdesk on site and how much experience the employees there have. What is the proportion of calls that are resolved over the phone or via computer right away? 

How well can your provider’s specialists work with you while maintaining coronavirus policies? Have they modified or enhanced their services to provide virtual training, meetings, and fixes in order to work with you effectively

Am I getting a one-size-fits-all or a custom solution?

Have you had any conversations with your present office printer and technology provider about the software tools you presently use and how they may be integrated into your new office printing and technology fleet? In today’s world, multifunction printers should be more than just printers/ scanners/ photocopiers. You may use them to automatically populate Sage with data from scanned invoices, connect them to Blackboard, iManage, DocuSign, Salesforce, and other systems. 

Do I need to pay for consultancy?

It’s crucial to know whether your provider will charge you for each time you contact them with a question or bill you for generating analytics in order to establish a new contract. Who will give consultancy and a second opinion without charge if you’re shopping around? 

Where can I find examples of satisfied customers?

Case studies, testimonials, and brochures are all typical on the websites of Managed Print Providers. You may also explore Google reviews, Facebook reviews, or other third-party evaluation sites to get more information. If you ask your contact for support, they should be able to show you examples of satisfied clients with confidence. 

Are click charges based on an ‘average ink coverage’ or for the toner I actually use?

Depending on what you intend to print, this makes a difference. If you are looking across multiple options in a tender or other competitive scenario, then it’s important to know how different providers have cost their proposals.

Am I signing up to a minimum commitment?

Is your cost per page determined by meeting a certain number of print monthly? You could be paying higher or additional costs if you’re printing more or less than expected in mono or color copies. Are your apps set to charge a monthly subscription, per-translation fees, or anything else? What if I choose to cancel? What if I want to change equipment during the agreement?  

Most providers will be signing you up to a partnership of years, not months. What happens if there is a change in your company’s circumstances or you decide the contracted equipment no longer works for you? Make sure you understand notice periods, machine settlements, charges for making alterations to the models in your fleet and other adaptations. 

Are my new devices and services more sustainable than my existing ones?

If your machine has a low cost per click but sucks a great deal of power, you might not end up saving much overall. Ask whether your MPS provider can give you details of sustainability and energy efficiency certificates and Corporate Social Responsibility reports of the manufacturer. The sorts of things to look for are EPEAT, Blue Angel and Energy Star certifications as well as schemes like Print Releaf or partnerships with the Woodland Trust or other charities to reforest your paper usage. 

What happens if my needs change because my business develops?

Intrapreneurship, adaptability, scalability. Is your MPS partner up to snuff when it comes to growth and expansion? You might be opening offices or acquiring new operations and services over the course of the contract. Make sure your agreement has clauses for development and adaptation that allow you to grow. We may not have predicted the occurrences of 2020 in 2018, but if anything, the pandemic has hastened digital transformation and remote working rather than creating it.

What reporting/analytics will I receive?

Technology will vary somewhat during your agreement. Will you be able to tell if print volumes are increasing or decreasing? What about whether one machine is continuously printing away, yet another does not see a member of staff for days on end? Can you access real-time reports from a dashboard, update numerous computers at once, or establish user authentication modes remotely? 

Need varies based on your own personal taste, and what works for you may not suit someone else. Even so, it’s useful to understand what data and reports you can access from your partner and how they may assist you in preparing ahead to improve productivity and efficiency in the workplace. 

Is my data secure?

Personal Information Security and Data Protection are at the top of most people’s requirements list. Is your planned print solution as capable of keeping out, recognizing, and reporting intruders as the rest of your IT network? Are your devices ready to operate with the required security by default, or do you have to pay extra for more comprehensive software? What companies, for example, Cisco, McAfee and the like, do your partner work with? Is there anything in your contract that covers the cost of any other authentication methods you’ll need, such as swipe cards, fingerprint readers, PINs, and phone apps (which avoid touching the machine at all)? 

Can you reassure me that this is a partnership, and that you will be there for me long-term?

Do you feel that your account manager will maintain contact with you over the long run? Are you concerned that they will depart following sales? Of course, employees may relocate, but what methods are in place to ensure that even if your account manager departs, you will be informed promptly who your new contact is and how inexperienced they are? It’s not always simple to anticipate what your post-sales connection will be like, but case studies and testimonials can give you some security. Word of mouth and referrals are also effective. 

Will my team receive training on my new device(s)?

Your provider may or may not charge to show you how everything works and might have various methods of distributing this information to your team. Make certain that installation and training are covered during this meeting, as well as whether analysts can conduct any of the tasks remotely.

Parting thoughts: questions to ask yourself today

  1. Do my contract commitments still align with my business requirements?
  2. Is my current contract transparent, and do I understand it?
  3. Have I got a second opinion on my options? 

If the answer to any of these is ‘no then please consider contacting Cartridge World today!