As any church office manager, volunteer, or pastor knows, the copier plays a vital role in the day-to-day activities. Whether you’re printing church bulletins or copying legal and financial documents, if it breaks, the entire staff might end up in crisis mode. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan in place for a replacement.
The plan you formulate depends on if you want to buy or lease the copier. Let’s look at both options.
Can Your Church Budget Let You Buy a Copier?
Buying a copier is a good option for churches that want to pay for their equipment outright without making any additional payments. However, a commercial-grade copier costs $4,000–$5,000 or more depending on the brand and features. It’s important to budget for the machine well ahead of time.
The best plan is to have enough money in reserve to purchase a new copier if it goes down. To make this possible, it should be included as a line item in your annual church budget. Without adequate funds on hand, replacing a copier might require borrowing or postponing the purchase. Neither is a satisfactory option for a busy congregation.
Is Leasing a Copier the Better Option?
Leasing a copier requires a smaller initial outlay of funds, but is a bit more complicated than a purchase. Here are some items to consider:
Interest rate. Start by inquiring about the interest rate. Most copier leases don’t include the interest rate. Have the company put the interest rate in writing so it is locked in and cannot be changed.
Copy limits. You also need to find out what restrictions will be in place with the lease. It is likely that the company will limit the copies you can make on a monthly or yearly basis. If you go over the number of copies, you will have to pay a fee.
Maintenance cost. Then, you need to look at the maintenance cost. Is there a maintenance agreement in place? What does it entail and how much does it cost?
After you go through all of the line items in the lease, look at the final cost. Then, compare that to the amount you would spend if you bought the copier outright. Are you getting a good deal or are you paying a premium to lease the copier? If you aren’t getting a good deal, see if you can negotiate for a better one. Everything is up for negotiation until you sign on the dotted line.
Your choice to lease or buy a copier comes down to numbers. The cost comparisons can help you decide what is affordable for your church.
Churches and religious institutions may be Godly sanctuaries, but they are run by very human people who often juggle many roles and responsibilities. When it comes to financial planning, budgeting and dispersing, financially sound churches do it with the guidance of a qualified professional.
Charles P. Myrick is a Washington, DC accounting firm offering specialized CFO services to churches and religious institutions. Myrick CPA was voted Best Accounting Firm in DC, 2016 and 2017, Washington City Paper Readers’ Poll. Request a confidential consultation, today.