My business is growing and I need to purchase equipment for two new employees. I’ve heard I can get great deals by buying refurbished equipment. But isn’t this risky for a small business?
–T. Smith, Via the Internet
For years, many scoffed at the idea of turning “gently worn” (also known as refurbished or re-manufactured) office equipment into a business model, but tough economic times, coupled with the fact that there are those for whom brand-new office equipment is simply out of reach have created a shift in thinking. Today, there are as many vendors of high-quality brand name refurbished equipment and technology as there are purchasers. Big names such as Cisco Systems (www.cisco.com/warp/public/csc/refurb_e quipment) and Agilent (www.buyalternatives .tm.agilent.com) have joined companies such as Refurbdepot.com and Office Machines Solutions (www.officemachinesolutions.com), which make the sale of refurbished equipment their main business (or at least a large part of it ).
Recognizing that small companies are an important part of the business sector, larger firms offer complete business solutions ranging from purchasing refurbished computers and other equipment, to trade-ins, rentals, and leasing and financing of equipment. Additionally, equipment refurbished by these companies generally come with certification, warranty, technical support, and current-version software. Like its vehicular counterpart, the pre-owned office equipment market has come of age and shouldn’t really be considered suspect. As always, the issue of which option is best for your business depends on your needs both in the long and short term — and what you can afford.