May 30, 2017
One of the biggest problems smaller companies and new startups face is staying current with rapid office and industry technology changes. These seem to take place day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year, making it hard to stay on top of the market. Security concerns, a new development with a product or service, and new methods for handling financial transactions can pop up at any time.
It is possible to keep up with your business needs and your competitors in regard to equipment updates and upgrades. Use these tips when you need new office, production, and other equipment to continue to work efficiently with fewer delays.
Look for Money-Saving Deals
Although it might seem like common sense, many business owners fail to take advantage of many money-saving deals when purchasing technology. You can find plenty of clearance sales, discount offers, and rebates in retail stores and online. These deals typically involve equipment designed a year or two before, or some other manufacturer’s discount when you bundle software with hardware or agree to extra warranty coverage. Some retailers even offer an additional percentage off their prices or free shipping when you sign up for their e-newsletters.
Ask for a discount whenever you purchase equipment in bulk as well. Compare prices through different merchants and use your research to negotiate the lowest price through the seller of your choice. You might also find the best deals by checking out manufacturer websites for each tech component. For example, many computer manufacturers offer devices that have an operating system built by another company. In those cases, you might find that in addition to a retailer discount and a hardware manufacturer deal. The software developer usually offers a separate deal.
Choose Card Incentive Programs
Many credit card companies and banks offer their business credit and debit customers cash back programs where they pay cardholders a percentage of the amount of the total for all transactions or a preset per dollar amount once during a statement cycle. This money is put on the card account or sent as a check to the cardholder’s business via postal mail. Even one percent cash back on hundreds or thousands of dollars in technology transactions in combination with other transactions can pay out a hefty sum at the end of your statement cycle. Several companies also offer incredible point system incentive or “rewards” programs that make it possible for you to earn one point per dollar and then reimburse your points for different types of rewards, such as money, products, services, travel vouchers and vacation packages.
Check Out Business Sales
A lot of businesses sell off various types of equipment when they downsize, expand, or go out of business. Plenty of new businesses go under quickly, which means you can find many deals on newer technology through offline and online classifieds, local auctions, and ‘Going Out of Business’ sales. Keep in mind, you should check out businesses in and outside your industry. You might find an amazing deal on newer general office equipment, such as computers, printers, and copiers, through a rapidly-growing business that bought equipment a year or two ago. Sometimes, you can save money on non-tech products during these sales. For example, you might find nice office furniture or a lot of cheap paper products in sales for businesses who are downgrading or downsizing.
Buy Newer Refurbished Equipment
Business customers often send back their new equipment and exchange it because of part defects, recalls, and other machine problems. Manufacturers then take bad equipment and either recycle it back into the manufacturing process, or fix it so they can make some sort of profit. These slightly used, refurbished machines typically cost significantly less than brand new ones. The biggest downside to buying refurbished is you might only receive a 90- or 120-day warranty. That said, if you can find someone locally who can cheaply repair the type of equipment you need, buying newer refurbished equipment might be the perfect money-saving option for you.
Sell or Trade Technologies
If you have equipment you no longer need, selling or trading it for money or new equipment is a great choice. Since raw materials are so expensive to extract from the ground and refine, many equipment manufacturers buy back old products or offer new equipment discounts when you trade so they spend less during the material extraction part of the manufacturing process.
You can also find a lot of businesses and individuals eager to buy less expensive older or even broken and cosmetically-damaged equipment. You only need to advertise the equipment for sale. You can typically do this without paying a dime through your company’s website, YouTube, or other video service channels, classified advertising websites, and social medial platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Many recycling companies also buy e-waste in the form of assembled equipment because of the precious metals that they can extract and resell.
Invest in Third-Party Services
A company that needs new equipment to conduct certain types of business might save the most money by outsourcing the work to a third-party firm. For example, if you need a call center set up to handle customer service, appointment scheduling and/or inbound or outbound sales call, you might spend less money hiring a domestic or international third-party call center firm to handle these services then you would if you purchased the equipment and then paid for call center staff training, wages, and other benefits (business.frontier.com). Another area where you might save more by hiring a third-party service, is with tech support. If you outsource the work, then you do not have to pay for computers and repair gear for one or more technicians along with the wages and benefits you must pay when you have technicians on your staff.
Business owners do not need to spend too much money on technology to make money. You can easily save hundreds of dollars per piece of equipment by using a combination of these ideas in your new technology acquisition strategy.
Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.