There was a time in my life when I provided managed print services to customers ranging in size from as few as 10 devices to as many as 1,100. The MpS practice was one of five different practices within a VAR. Managed print services was not a focus - indeed, some of my engagements generated revenue that was a fraction of the rebates generated on one transaction from HP or CISCO deals.
But after crashing and burning two times, ultimately, we became profitable, cohesive and well run, if I do say so myself.
Along the way, I added years of experience to an already varied past and volumes of seemingly disparate knowledge. Today, working with end-users more than providers, I find many of the techniques I once thought gone and forgotten, implemented with abandon.
Here's a list of three such tactics to look out for when buying managed print services. There are many more we'll address as the days flow through 2014.
- Price escalations - why would you agree to allow anyone to arbitrarily raise your price?
- No 30 day out - things change and real managed print services programs are designed to manage the naturally occurring reduction in the number of devices and prints. A thirty day out is not much to demand.
- Capital investments tied to a service agreement - Never combine a service agreement with a hardware lease/rental.
- Price escalations - This doesn't require the firing of too many neurons. Bid a low cost per page and get the margin back in 12 months, after the price increase.
- 30 day out - Again, it isn't too much of a strain to see why a provider would want to "lock you into an extended agreement. You represent a guaranteed revenue stream
- Capital investments tied to a service agreement - The mother of all facts is this: you can never get out of a lease early, without paying for the remainder of term. Yes, there are provisions for government-type accounts, but for commercial businesses, getting out of any lease is near impossible. So if I, as a provider, can attach or 'roll' service charges into a equipment lease, that stream is guaranteed for the life of the lease. No matter what.
My MpS practice was successful and sustainable - we didn't use entrapment, we implemented real managed print services at times under a Master Service Agreement that could include RMM and Unified Communications (UC) - that was in 2009.
Not "managed toner delivery" or "CPI invoicing on printers" or simply "managed print".
|This is not a plant stand. It is an optimized device from an MpS engagement.|