Last Updated on December 11, 2019
If you’re looking to get hardware and network equipment for your business, you might consider a used option. If you’re buying computers for a team of 20, and you’re operating with limited capital, it could be an easy way to save money.
However, there are both advantages and disadvantages to this approach, and if you’re buying something you’re going to depend heavily on, like used network equipment, you’ll need to do your research before completing the transaction.
First, let’s look at some of the advantages that buying used tech can bring you.
- Cost savings. New tech is usually better-performing and sometimes more reliable, but it’s also incredibly expensive. Consumers are eager to get their hands on the latest and greatest models, even if they don’t offer much in the way of landmark improvements. Accordingly, older models—even though they work perfectly fine—often plummet in cost when a new model comes out. This is a huge opportunity to save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
- Legacy system access. Some manufacturers no longer produce older models of their hardware—even if those older models have some major advantages. If you’re interested in a legacy system for one reason or another, buying used may be the only way to get it.
- Lower financial liability. When you have fewer dollars invested in your equipment, your financial liability will be lower. If the device stops working unexpectedly, or if you need to replace it, or if you find your business no longer has a need for it, you’ll stand to lose less than you would with a new system.
There are some disadvantages of buying used tech for your business, however:
- Security issues. Older pieces of hardware sometimes come with security issues, like vulnerabilities that have been patched in recent iterations. This is rare and can often be patched in other ways. However, if you buy from an unscrupulous seller, they may be able to implant tracking software on your device before you buy it—so make sure you scrub the device thoroughly and buy from someone you trust.
- Performance issues. In many cases, older hardware will run slower or less efficiently than its newer counterpart. For example, if you put a graphic designer on an old computer, they may not be as productive, since their software won’t run as smoothly as it would on a newer device.
- Device reliability. Older hardware has often accumulated more wear and tear and may be less reliable over the long term. This often depends on the type of hardware you’re buying, and how old the device is.
- If you want to be seen as a forward-thinking and successful business, there are some pieces of technology that are worth the upgrade simply for the image; for example, walking into a meeting with a new client with the latest model of a smartphone could leave them with a better impression of you.
If you do decide to buy used tech equipment for your business, for any purpose, you’ll need to go through some steps of due diligence to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
- Seller merits. Who is this seller? What kind of reviews and testimonials have they received? Where do their priorities lie? Buying from a random individual on the internet is a bad idea, so look for a company that specializes in selling refurbished equipment.
- Refurbishing process. Refurbishment can mean a few different things, so make sure if you’re buying a product that is claimed to be “refurbished,” that you understand what the seller means when they use the term. How did they restore this product to functionality?
- Along similar lines, investigate to see if there’s a warranty for the refurbished product. In many cases, reputable sellers will guarantee the integrity of their refurbished products for a year, or even longer. The longer and more comprehensive the warranty is, the better.
- Hardware reliability. Is the model you’re buying known for its longevity? Or do people seem to have lots of problems with it? Make sure you know what you’re buying, regardless of whether it’s new or used.
- Hardware repairability. If you’re buying a legacy system, do some investigating to see how repairable it is. Does the manufacturer still support this product? Are replacement parts readily available online?
If you follow these steps and are prepared for some of the disadvantages of buying used, buying used hardware for your company can be an easy way to save time and money when you’re just starting out—or even when you’re trying to expand on a budget. As long as you’re working with reputable vendors, and you’re working with security in mind, you won’t have much to lose.