Whilst there is some truth in the phrase ‘a poor workman blames his tools’, this doesn’t mean that your tools don’t matter. Using poor quality equipment will make work harder for you and your employees, lowering your overall work satisfaction and making it harder to keep up with your competition. Using poor quality tools could also reflect badly on your public image, preventing customers from trusting you.
For this reason, you should always put careful thought into buying business equipment. Whether you’re buying office PCs or hair styling tools, here are just 7 tips that could help you to make the right choice.
Consider your needs
Your equipment needs to be advanced enough to handle the strains of professional use, but not so advanced that you end up paying extra for features that you’re likely to never use. For example, if you’re buying a drone for professional aerial photography, you want something that’s going to be more robust that your average toy quadcopter, but at that same time you probably don’t need a professional racing drone. Buy something too basic or too advanced and it will be a waste of money. For this reason, you need to have a clear understanding of your needs so that you can look for equipment that meets these specs.
When doing your research into which equipment to buy, don’t be sucked in purely by sales descriptions – these are likely to be heavily biased and will only tell you the positives. Reading reviews gives you an honest overview of the pros and cons so that you know if the equipment you’re looking at is truly good quality and whether it is right for your business. On top of user reviews, be sure to read professional reviews. Comparison guides such as this article on 3D printers can also be useful for giving you an idea of different products on the market.
Use trusted sellers
When buying business equipment, make sure that you always do your research into the credibility of the seller. The likes of these industrial tanks can be trusted as the seller clearly list certifications at the bottom of the site. If you’re not buying from an official company and are instead buying through an individual, you may want to do more careful research into the seller’s background. If you’re buying second-hand equipment from another company, always make sure that photographs are provided (inspect the item in person if you can) and feel free to ask the seller about the history of the item. Used industrial machinery or heavy equipment should come with a service logbook – if not you should be wary of buying this equipment, as there may be no way of telling if it has had previous faults.
Hire equipment you’re only going to use once
When it comes to single-use equipment such as a marquee for an event or a crane for a one-off construction job, you may want to hire this equipment rather than buying it. There’s no use buying something you’re rarely going to use – hiring it will save you a lot of money and will guarantee good quality equipment (providing you buy from a trusted hire company). Do your research to find the best hire company in your area.
Understand the maintenance required
Many pieces of equipment will need to be maintained to keep them in good working condition. For certain complex machinery, a qualified technician may be required to service the machine – either that or you may need to train someone up. You may not have to worry about this so much when it comes to a desk or an office chair, but it could still be worthwhile understanding the cleaning required. For example, a laminated wooden desk could be easier to clean than a non-laminated one. Ideally, you want equipment that is easy to maintain, but not at the expense of other qualities. For example, there are self-cleaning commercial coffee machines out there, but there’s no use buying one of these if the quality of coffee that these machines produce isn’t up to your standard.
Research into delivery options
You may be able to pick up the equipment yourself if it small and sourced locally. However, when it comes to buying large equipment that isn’t sourced locally, you may have no option but to get it delivered. Heavy equipment may need to be transported via lorry. If the equipment has to be transported from abroad, you may also have consider whether to get it shipped by sea or delivered by air. You should also consider how you plan to get the equipment into your business premises – certain equipment may be too large to get through a doorway in one piece and so many need to be delivered in parts and then assembled. All of these extra factors could result in a hefty delivery charge that you should budget for.
Compare financing options
When it comes to expensive equipment such as industrial machinery, you may want to look into financing options. This could involve leasing machinery or taking out a business loan to pay for machinery. Such options can spread out the cost so that it’s more affordable initially, but you will pay more in the long run due to interest charges. Make sure to compare different schemes out there to find the best option for your budget. Quite often, having a good credit score will allow you to access lower interest financing options.