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Do You Copy?

If you've reached the point where you need to invest in a copier, we've got the rundown on choosing one to match your business and your budget.

This story appears in the November 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

There comes a time in the life of every growing business when it becomes necessary to sever ties with the neighborhood copy shop. When your copy bills start looking more like your lease payments, and you're on a first-name basis with every Kinko's employee, it's time to step away and invest in your own copier. In particular, a workgroup copier is a smart place to start. They don't have to be the size of a semi-truck, like those at the copy shop. Many are svelte and economical designs that still cover your needs.

A multifunction device might be a good place to start looking: You can handle your printing as well as copying needs without investing in multiple machines. The Canon imageRunner 1630 covers printing and copying needs at speeds up to 16 ppm in a desktop-size device. Its 20,000 page per month duty cycle (typical for the $2,000 price range) will handle most needs, and its networking option is a good idea for workgroups needing to share a printer as well. For budget-conscious buyers, the $599 (all prices street) Brother MFC-8840DN is a low-cost, network-ready alternative with fax and printing capabilities. The duplex function is a paper-saving extra.

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