5 Ideas To Save Money on Office Equipment
Posted by Shannon Suetos on July 13, 2010 in Business Management, Business Start Up Advice, Business Technology [ 4 Comments ]
Starting a business is expensive, depending on the type, start-up costs could be over $30,000, with $3,500 of that just for your office equipment. If you are not careful however, you can wind up paying much more than this, possibly for things you may not even need. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help you choose what equipment you need at a price you can live with.
Depending on how much you need to use them, getting all-in-one printers or copiers can be a great way to save money. If you have a relatively small volume of printing/copying/scanning/faxing needs then a product such as Xerox’s Phaser 8560 multifunction printer allows you to purchase one piece of equipment as opposed to four separate ones. In addition to the upfront savings, you also have fewer supplies to worry about down the road and only one instruction manual to read.
One thing to note however, if your company has a high volume need for one or more of those functions, an all-in-one device may not be your best option. In some cases, the quality of a multifunction machine is not as good as using separate specific devices. You can also burn through supplies faster, such as ink, for the other functions you don’t use as much, costing more long term.
For some reason when people hear the word “used” especially in reference to office equipment, they automatically associate it with old and out-dated. With the economy the way it is, businesses are downsizing or even closing up shops all over the country causing them to often auction off their (many times recently purchased and high quality) equipment. A bankruptcy auction for instance, is a great place to get office equipment at a fraction of the price of buying it new.
Refurbished items might be one the greatest saving options available that people tend to stay away from. When an item is returned to a store, for any reason, the merchant cannot then resell it as new, so the price is usually discounted and resold as refurbished. It may be a small repair was needed, often cosmetic, for the item to be resold and generally comes with the same warranty available from the seller
Again, depending on your company’s needs, you may be able to save money by leasing the equipment instead of buying it. For instance, if your business requires you need the latest and greatest digital copier, then leasing is a good option as opposed to shelling out top dollar to buy one on your own. This is especially true if the technology you need is constantly being upgraded, you don’t want to have to purchase new equipment every year or two.
Paying More Up Front May Save Long Term
Too often a small business owner or manager will be so eager to stay under budget with initial equipment costs, they don’t take a minute to evaluate long term savings that can be available by spending a little more up front. A good example of this is with a VoIP phone system, which will cost more to purchase, but may save hundreds or thousands per year on the phone bill.
There is some truth to the saying that you “pay for quality” and that cheaper does not necessarily mean better. Poor equipment will need to be replaced sooner, need repairs more often and may slow down the productivity of your office, which will only cost you much more down the road.
The most important thing to remember is to be practical, evaluate your needs and plan accordingly. Ask around to other businesses similar to yours and see what their equipment needs have been and how they have met them. Whether you lease or buy, having a plan will help to make sure you don’t underpay for what you really need and overpay for what you do not.
Patrick Kelly is a writer based in San Diego, California. He writes extensively for an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs.