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.
- 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 the Dealer has 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 if they are bench marked for service by a third party provide (believe it or not there are companies that perform this service for the dealer community). 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, will they be in business in 3 months, I've heard many stories of customers who bought or leased a copier and then paid for the maintenance agreement in the lease, and a few months later that company closed their doors!
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.