That was the deal when I was in grammar school in the sixties. If you needed a copy of something, you went to the local library.
I guess what I remember most about those machines, is that a copy cost a nickel, the top of the copier had a rubber mat to put the original under and the nine times out of ten the copiers were horrid! But, you didn't care as long as the copy was readable.
From time to time I'll source the web to find copier leads and RFP's. Lately, I've also added 3D printers to the list. I'm finding a few here and there, but not nearly as many as all of the copier RFP's, but enough to keep me looking for more.
In recent months, I've seen more libraries & K12s posting RFP's for 3D printers, in fact the last library I came across was getting their 3rd 3D printer!
For those of us that make our living on selling hardware, it's pretty obvious that more and more 3D printers are being placed in Libraries, Colleges, Universities, and K12s across the country.
It seems like many office technology dealers are looking to diversify from copiers these days. I believe that offering and supporting 3D printers is one of the best avenues we can take to diversification and increase revenue. Keep in mind I'm not referencing the inexpensive systems.
In a recent discussion that I had with Andy Wager (Business Development Manager for ScanSource), Andy stated that 3D printers are still evolving. We'll see many different types of material in addition to faster print speeds. Kinda reminds me of the copier industry way back when. The only copier you could buy had one paper tray, a moving top and it was slow.
The Global 3D printing is expected to reach $20.2 Billion by 2019.
Many office equipment dealers are betting heavily that Managed Network Services, IT Services and Backup Disaster Recovery can be the Holy Grail of recurring revenue streams. I'm still not convinced of this since because the sales cycle is much longer, multiple parties need to be involved and there is no trigger (like that of the copier industry where a lease is about to expire) that would make a company make changes to their IT services. Sales of these services seem to be based on pain, the prospect is having IT issues, can't find the right IT people or they've just experienced catastrophic loss.
All of this comes from a sales person (me), that has sold hardware all of his life. There is no WOW factor with IT services, there is no emotional connection to IT services. IT is something we need to have, but we don't need to like it, it's a drain on profits and a non producer for customers.
I'm sure there are many dealerships that are doing well with IT services, but I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that over time, getting into the 3D Printer Market now will be more lucrative than the recurring revenue stream of IT services.
Would love to hear from others on this, and as Vince would say, "that's my two cents"!