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Buying Used

(April 2010) posted on Tue May 04, 2010

Consider these variables when pursuing a previously owned printer

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By JP Pieratt

Most of these sites also offer tips on purchasing used printers. When you’re dealing with a non-OEM company for a used machine, keep these questions in mind: Does the company have the machine itself on hand or does the machine still reside with a current owner? How long has the company been in business, and can you get references? Is the company specific to the graphic arts? How much knowledge does its staff have of wide-format printers and related technologies? Is the printer sold “as is,” or is the machine refurbished and/or upgraded? Be sure to ask what the company’s definitions of “refurbish,” “upgrade,” “remanufacture,” etc. are and what this includes.

Sourcing private owners
Buying a used printer from a private owner is quite similar to buying a used car from an individual, and the same care and due diligence taken to determine the functionality of a car should be taken with a used printer (if not more). Dealing with private owners you’ve had no previous contact with has its challenges. Be sure to ask pertinent questions (see “The Test Drive” and “Checklist” sections that follow), and don’t feel pressured to buy a printer simply because you’ve made the trip to the current owner’s shop to evaluate it.

One of the best options when sourcing from a private owner is sourcing from someone you know or someone you trust. If that’s not an option, however, a host of sources are available to assist you in finding private sellers. In addition to the aforementioned brokers, social-media websites such as LinkedIn, which offers industry-specific forums and user groups you can join, can be an excellent source. There are also a host of other Internet outlets, ranging from message boards and classified sections on websites for graphic-arts publications (such as our own to associations such as SGIA (, ISA (, and the Printing Industries of America (