by Thomas Kinsinger
Director of Technology, E-N Computers
20+ years experience in enterprise IT and managed services.
In a modern office that takes advantage of email, online fax, and secure web portals for sharing documents, we still need printers. We use them for reports, presentation handouts, proposal submissions, and more. Whether you’re an IT person or not, you’ve probably been frustrated by a printer many times.
While your internal IT or managed service provider will support the workstations and network that connect to your printers, a managed print provider will be able to give you more specialized, comprehensive print support. They can help you select the right print equipment, pricing structure, and configurations to best meet your business needs. They also schedule regular maintenance and support calls as needed. The result is more reliable printing with less hassle.
There are five important factors to consider as you research and talk with managed print providers. They are pricing, expertise, adaptability, service level, and security. We’ll briefly review these and then tell you who we think are the five best managed print providers serving Virginia.
When evaluating managed print service providers, the five factors you should consider are price, expertise, adaptability, service level, and print security. Based on our experience as an IT managed service provider, the five best MPS providers in the Virginia area are Shenandoah Valley Office Equipment, Virginia Business Solutions, Coeco, Advance Office Equipment, and Leonard’s Copy Systems.
How to choose a managed print services provider
Pricing. A managed services contract includes the cost of installation, consumable supplies, maintenance and repair, monitoring, and equipment leasing. Common price structures for services and supplies include cost per print, per user, or per device. If you know your average monthly print volume, you may be able to spread the cost out through the year; otherwise you may arrange to pay per print each month. As you evaluate managed print providers, look for transparency in pricing, including a breakdown of costs and potential savings.
Expertise. Look for a managed print provider experienced in support of your industry and businesses of a similar size. If you want them to support printers you already own, make sure they work with that brand. You may be better off leasing equipment from them.
Adaptability. Your managed print services provider should be able to meet your current needs as well as any growth you reasonably expect to have over in the next three to five years.
Service level. Find out what level of support the managed print provider offers. This includes:
- how to contact them for support
- how they decide the priority of support tickets
- how quickly they promise to respond and resolve issues based on priority
- how quickly they resolve problems on average
- and what recourse you have if they are not able to meet the agreement.
Print security. Your internal IT or MSP can work with your managed print provider to ensure your workstations, network, and printers are all securely configured. A few ways you can improve the security of printers includes:
- using “secure print” to hold a document in queue until the user is present at the machine and enters a PIN code,
- encrypting print data as it travels on your network
- keeping printer firmware up to date
- Not using default admin credentials for the printer’s on-device or web interface.
Best managed print service providers in Virginia
Shenandoah Valley Office Equipment
HQ: Verona, VA
Shenandoah Valley Office Equipment is a managed print service provider established in 1934. With offices in Verona, Lexington and Charlottesville, SVOE provides world-class managed print solutions. Their team of 25 people (which includes 12 certified technicians) support the service area with an average of a 3.5-hour or less response time. They carry a large selection of inventory allowing them to meet your needs in a timely manner.
Virginia Business Systems
HQ: Richmond, VA
Virginia Business Systems is a managed print service provider supporting Richmond, Hampton Roads, Lynchburg, Winchester, Charlottesville, and Roanoke areas. Launching in 1954 as a mom-and-pop shop selling typewriters, they have become one of the best-in-class organization for providing a wholistic office technology solution. Their core values focus on the client and doing the right thing for them.
Coeco Office Systems
HQ: Rocky Mount, NC
COECO is a managed print service provider with offices in Charlottesville, Richmond and Virginia Beach. COECO was founded in 1921. They are one of the largest independent office equipment dealers in the region.
Advanced Office Equipment
HQ: Richmond, VA
Advanced Office Equipment is a managed print service provider supporting Northern Virginia and the Washington, DC metro area that has been around since 1995. Their core values are customer and community oriented, and they follow the philosophy of treating others the way they would like to be treated themselves.
AOE works with leading manufacturers Sharp and Hewlett Packard and they care for Energy-Star compliant copiers, multifunction printers, color laser printers, document scanners, faxes, wide format systems, electronic storage and retrieval systems and more.
Leonard’s Copy Systems
HQ: Vinton, VA
Leonard’s Copy Systems have been providing office equipment and service since 1995. Based in southwestern Virginia, they support small, medium and large businesses with affordable solutions. They strive to deliver one of the industry’s lowest cost of ownership solutions. They can provide after-hours emergency service and offer free estimates and supply delivery in the Roanoke Valley area.
How’s your IT maturity?
When you have the right people working together, you can implement systems and processes that actively help you reach your business goals. We sometimes call this IT maturity. But for many organizations, something is off when it comes to their partnerships, strategy, systems, and settings. How can you know what’s working well and where you have room for improvement? Start by taking our free IT Maturity Self-Assessment. You’ll walk away with some pointers and, if you want, a free appointment to discuss your results.
Is your business ready to weather changes, including employee turnover? Find out by taking our IT maturity assessment.
You’ll get personalized action items that you can use to make improvements right away. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to book a FREE IT strategy session to get even more insights into your IT needs.