Buying Equipment for Your Business on a Budget
Saving money on equipment leaves you with more startup capital intact for your actual opening.
When gearing up to start your business you’ll find that equipment stands as one of the biggest sources of overhead. Saving money on overhead allows you to keep more money for marketing, labor or even just a rainy day.
This one is a no brainer. If you can purchase your equipment used you will save a lot of money. Used equipment often goes for less than half the original purchase price. You will find much of it is as good as brand new equipment. Further, when there is some quality degradation, it still makes more sense to buy used and purchase new equipment with profits. When selling the used equipment you might even get close to what you paid for it.
Refurbished equipment just makes good financial sense. In the case of consumer electronics, refurbished equipment is often hands down the better deal. What you get is something someone once owned that has been brought back to top shape by the manufacturer or a third-party retailer. Such equipment often comes with a warranty making it just as reliable as new equipment.
Buy in Bulk
Nearly everything costs less in bulk. If it doesn't, you can often negotiate a lower price. While startups should be cautious about overextending themselves, if you know you will use a large amount of a particular resource or equipment, or can split the resources with another business, look for a wholesale deal.
Like buying in bulk, this is an area where you can save but should exercise caution. Crunch the numbers and see if leasing really is a better deal. Oftentimes leasing contains hidden charges that can erode the savings. Furthermore, if you anything happens to the equipment, you have to buy it and shell out money for its replacement.
Some equipment, particularly office equipment, can be purchased for multiple functions. Think in terms of scanner-printer-copier combinations. Buying these three together might cost more than purchasing one or two individually, but it certainly costs less than buying all three separately.
Like buying in bulk, bundling your purchases -- buying several different types of equipment from the same sources -- can save you money. See how much equipment you can get from a single retailer or wholesaler. Then see if they are willing to offer a discount because of how much you purchased from them.
Haggling is a lost art. You wouldn’t pay sticker price for a car. Why pay sticker price for expensive equipment for your business? Haggling may seem inappropriate, but for larger electronics or appliances it is much more common. suggest that you will pay a reasonable price for the items in question that is lower than the sticker price. The worst the person can say is “no.”
A Word on Quality
Regardless of cost, never skimp on quality. The aim is to get equipment that lasts as long as it can. Paying a couple fewer pennies up from can cost a lot in the long term. Carefully consider all savings along these lines. It’s far better to pay for quality once than mediocrity twice.
Starting Your Startup on the Right Foot
You need quality equipment, regardless of what your business is. However, the question “Why pay more?” becomes even more crucial when you're starting a business on a shoestring. You need money for labor, operating costs and other expenses. Saving money on equipment at startup will leave you a nest egg to fall back on.