I talked to a company the other day that was gathering bids for a maintenance agreement. I was surprised to hear they were nearing the end of a three year maintenance agreement that was not part of the copier lease. They also had issues with their current vendor over a reoccurring problem.
If your copier maintenance agreement is not part of the lease (financing) you have options. We offer month to month agreements because if the customer is happy they stick with us. I don’t believe in long term contracts laden with penalties. Most competition offers a one year agreement and that is okay. However, anything longer than that is unnecessary and takes away your options if you become unhappy.
Most people can suffer through a year if they are having a bad experience. Make sure you know the cancellation terms so you can avoid penalties. Most one year agreements want to be notified ahead of time. Make sure you get all your things fixed before you turn in the cancellation notice. Otherwise, you may get into a situation where the new copier servicing company wants to charge to fix the problem before the new maintenance agreement begins.
It is normal in our business to charge to bring a copier up to maintenance agreement level before beginning with a new customer so get everything fixed before your current vendor knows you’re leaving. You don’t need to feel guilty about that since you are currently paying for a maintenance agreement. Also, it’s okay for the vendor to pick up the extra toners once they know you’re leaving to go with someone else. That’s assuming that toner was part of your maintenance agreement which it usually is. However, don’t let them take it ahead of time in case you run out.