Running a small business involves more than just selling products or services at a profit – effective investment in new equipment can make a significant difference to your monthly bottom line. With that in mind, it’s usually a great idea to consider various options before you buy to make sure you’re getting the best possible value, and that the equipment you’re considering is right for you.
So here’s a guide to the options for testing and purchasing new equipment in order to see if it’s right for your business.
Try Before You Buy
When considering investing in any new equipment for your business, it’s a great idea to first see if the equipment you’re looking into is available for either hire or hire purchase. Usually when you hire equipment there’s no upfront cost, just a regular monthly fee over a fixed period of a matter of months or years – although bear in mind that leasing for an extended period of time can result in you paying more for equipment than if you had bought it outright.
For regularly updated technology such as IT equipment you could potentially renegotiate the deal at the end of your lease period and upgrade your equipment to the latest version at the same time. Leasing is a great chance to avoid ill-advised purchases, as you get the change to see if the equipment truly works for your business and enhances productivity before you commit to ownership.
If you own or are starting a retail business then card machines are a great way to give customers additional payment options – Card Cutters have a handy guide on renting card machines, allowing you to try out the technology while keeping expenditure at a minimum.
Consider Online Auctions
If you’ve decided to purchase new equipment for your business, online auction sites can be a great place to pick up bargains. eBay is the largest and most well known of the online e-auction sites, but there are many others that specialise in different kinds of equipment for different kinds of business – a quick online search should find one that’s right for your needs.
You’ll often have a choice of buying an item immediately from the seller for a fixed price, or waiting for the auction to end and potentially securing a lower one. If you need the equipment more urgently then the former is probably the best option, as with the latter you could potentially lose the item to another bidder.
Reputation is important on these sites, and you should check the rating of sellers to see how reliable they are. You also gain a reputation as a buyer – after you have bought something the seller will rate you on how quick you were to pay and how easy you were to do business with. This can be a great way to purchase just one of the items you’re considering to try out, before purchasing a number of them once you’ve seen if it’s suitable.
Indeed, it’s tempting to buy in bulk upfront; the discounts can be very appealing, especially when your business has a budget to do so. However, there is one caveat that makes buying in bulk not an ideal solution: You don’t know the actually quality of the equipment. The best option for you is to lease, or better yet, try acquiring the equipment at a reduced price via online marketplaces.
One word of advice for buying from online auctions: Always bear in mind that there are chances that you are getting equipments that are sub-par. Be sure to learn as much as you can about the seller’s reputation via reviews and transaction history before you make an offer or bid.