When buying computer hardware for yourself or your entire company it might be a good idea to consider buying refurbished, reconditioned or off-brand equipment. Here are ten reasons why you should.
There’s no denying that the most compelling reason to buy refurbished or off-brand equipment rather than new, brand-name products is the fact that in almost every case you can save money.
How much money depends on the product, the vendor and situation but you can almost always save a minimum of 10 to 20 per cent or more and it’s not uncommon to see some products at 30 to 50 per cent lower than what you would pay for similar versions of the same product.
2. MOST bang for the buck
When companies introduce a new line of computers they usually offer a range of options from entry-level units with minimal specifications up to their top-of-the-line models packed with all the bells and whistles.
Yes you could get a low-end version of the newest model for $500, but for that same $500 you could get a slightly older, refurbished laptop. While it may come with an older, slightly slower processor running an OS one number older than the current OS and it might weigh an ounce or two more, but you will probably be able to get more RAM, a larger hard disk or perhaps a larger screen.
In other words you can get an older, top-of-the-line model for the price of this year’s bottom-of-the-line model.
3. Hedge against obsolescence
We all know that hardware, software, operating systems and peripherals are constantly being updated and improved. In some cases the newer versions render the older versions obsolete.
Buying refurbished or off brand products let you upgrade on a more frequent schedule at a lower cost so transitions to more advanced equipment end up costing you less.
4. Save on software licenses
Let’s say you have an older machine running Windows XP and you finally decided to upgrade your OS, you could go out and buy a license for a new OS (at around $300 a pop) or you could buy a refurbished computer for $300 that already has a newer operating system installed for you – and you get a new computer to run it on.
It may not be Windows 8.1 but you should be able to get a system with Windows 7 running on a faster x64-bit machine.
5. Maintaining compatibility
Many companies have policies in place that everyone must use the same equipment with the same specifications, but when you need to replace a broken device or add new employees it can be difficult to find the exact same models.
Many times you can find an exact match from a supplier of refurbished equipment, and it will probably be less expensive than the original.
There are also many companies that have a large investment in custom software or hardware solutions and it makes more sense to stay with legacy systems that have already been thoroughly tested rather than buy new computers and have to rewrite or upgrade all your valuable software and custom hardware solutions.
There’s an old tech saying ‘never buy the first release of anything.’ The reason is simple; the manufacturer hasn’t had time to test the product in the real world yet and identify any problems.
Second and third versions are almost always more stable. Refurbished equipment has been tested in the field and the bugs have already been found and corrected.
Buying refurbished or reconditioned equipment means doing your small part to reduce the ever-increasing volumes of e-waste being generated every year.
Every refurbished laptop, printer, scanner, server or desktop computer you buy is one less piece of equipment going to the toxic waste dump.
8. Testing new technologies
If you are contemplating a move to a new type of technology in your company you might want to run a few field tests before equipping everyone with something that might not work out.
For example, if you’re thinking about switching from laptops to tablets you might want to test how well those tablets are going to work in the field. Refurbished or off-brand equipment can be an inexpensive way to try out new technologies at a fraction of the cost.
9. Cheaper and easier to maintain
If you buy brand-new equipment your IT department is going to have to spend time learning a whole new set of installation and configuration procedures, they won’t know how to troubleshoot or maintain that equipment for a while and training people how to use all new equipment can be time consuming for everyone.
If you have a hodgepodge of old and new equipment that just makes things worse. But if you resupply your people with the same equipment that they are already used to then all your installation, configuration, troubleshooting, maintenance and training problems have already been worked out and will take a fraction of the time.
You will also benefit from the fact that you probably already have suppliers who support your existing equipment and older/legacy computers/printers often will have a wider range of OEM support for things like toner cartridges and parts – making them cheaper to maintain
10. Reduce loss
If you’re buying a computer for a child or you have a team of butter-fingered sales reps or if your equipment is going to be subject to stressful situations on a regular basis then it makes sense to buy less expensive refurbished or off-brand gear. It won’t sting quite as much when it gets dropped, rained on or has peanut butter smeared in the USB ports.
There are many reasons to considering buying refurbished or off-brand equipment rather than brand new, more expensive equipment. It may not be the right choice in every situation but most of the time it can save you money, and that’s a pretty good reason right there.