No matter your industry, you’ll need to purchase some special equipment to help you run your small business. Your business equipment can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars depending on the type you need and whether you purchase it new or used. Be sure to research the most cost-efficient and time-saving options for your business so you can keep an eye on your bottom line.
Determining Your Business Equipment Needs
Research the type of business equipment you will need for your small business and be sure to consider how often the equipment will be used, by whom it will be used and for what purpose it will be used. In some cases, you may not need to purchase the equipment if it’s used very infrequently. For example, your office may not need to purchase fax machines if you only need to send faxes a few times a year. You can venture to the nearest printing document solutions or managed print services shop and pay a small fee to use a fax machine.
Depending on the type of business you have and your specific operational needs, you may need to purchase:
- Office furniture such as desks, chairs and conference tables
- Telephones and conference-call system
- Desktops, laptops, keyboards, mice and monitors
- Tablets and smartphones
- Computer network and internet office equipment, such as Ethernet cable and routers
- Printer and toner
- Mailroom office supplies, such as postage and document weigh scales
- Desk supplies, such as paper, notebooks, pens, highlighters and sticky notes
- Industry-specific business equipment
New vs. Used Equipment
Once you have identified a list of essential business equipment you require to run your venture efficiently, it’s best to research the most cost-effective and time-saving options when it comes to purchasing. Some equipment may be better off being purchased used, while other equipment should be purchased new. In some cases, especially for large equipment, you may be able to lease instead of purchase. When evaluating your purchase strategy, be sure to consider:
- Your cash flow: Used equipment typically has a lower purchase price, while the upfront costs of new equipment are higher.
- Initial depreciation of equipment and resale value: Some equipment loses value after it’s bought. This can make it difficult to resell the equipment and regain the amount you paid for it.
- Return on investment: Remember to factor in whether a new machine is covered under warranty and how much you’ll need to pay in maintenance and repair costs if there is a malfunction.
- Brand loyalty: Some brands are known for the longevity and quality of their business equipment. For example, Konica Minolta laser printers and Kyocera copiers are used widely in the business world.
It can be tempting to purchase the latest technology but be sure to run the numbers before you buy. Always consider the long-term effects of your purchase as opposed to just the short-term satisfaction.
Buying and Servicing Your Equipment
Many business equipment manufacturers and retailers sell their goods directly. Depending on the type of equipment you need and the quantity you need to purchase, you can order supplies directly from the manufacturer or an office supply store like Best Buy, Staples or Office Max.
When selecting your purchase locations, be sure to look at the servicing options they provide. If your equipment breaks down, it’s convenient and efficient to be able to make a service call to a service technician to fix your equipment so you don’t lower productivity at work. Depending on your equipment, it could be cost effective to hire an in-house technician or IT services technician.
Consider the following when looking for service providers to maintain and repair your business equipment:
- Service response times
- Customer satisfaction rating
- Years of experience
- Familiarity with your industry
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.