Learn now, relax later. Make sure you learn upfront how to do things like change the ink cartridges, reload the paper or replace the roll of thermal film. Your fax will, of course, stop working when you need it most, so knowing how to keep it running smoothly without having to dig out the manual will save you time and headaches at critical moments.
Don't underestimate your needs. If you're buying a fax machine for the first time, try to assess what your fax volume might be. Once you arrive at a figure, increase it by 10 percent--the curiosity factor of having a new machine in the office is guaranteed to drive up your usage.
Be cautious when using mail order. Always order with a credit card, and be sure to inquire about shipping charges before you agree to buy. Often the cost of shipping offsets any equipment cost savings.
Concerned about confidentiality? If confidentiality is an issue for you, stay away from thermal transfer fax machines. "Negatives" of incoming pages remain embedded on the film, so the contents can be read even if the fax itself is safely filed.