Get The RIGHT Office Equipment And Save!
You need business equipment to run a business. Even if you’re the owner and sole employee you need a desk, a chair, a computer, a printer, monitor, maybe some book shelves - we all need equipment no matter the size of the business.
Buying Equipment: Get Smart To Get It Right
When budgeting for office equipment, classify “hardware” as a budget line item before purchase. The same holds true for other digital items like laptops, tablets, smartphones - any hardware that improves business efficiencies can deliver tax benefits over time, lowering your company’s tax liability.
Determine what you really need. Do remote site employees need a tablet and a smartphone? Will your business use remote site payment capture? How will deposits, withdrawals, and other account activity be monitored? Evaluate business operations with an IT professional to determine how to cut the cost of communication and connectivity.
Only buy what you need. A work station computer used primarily as a word processor doesn’t need a blazing fast video graphics card. Get the lower priced model, save, and still get the job done efficiently.
Conversely, don’t look for low-cost solutions when you need to spend the money. Developing graphics, managing a website, and other data-dense activities can take forever rendering if you go with a slower processor. Again, determine the purpose of the hardware and purchase accordingly.
Ask about bulk discounts. How much do I save if I buy six work stations? Expect a per unit discount based on just how many of an item you actually purchase. The more smartphones, the lower the per unit cost, or at least it should be.
Read customer reviews. The manufacturer puts out slick graphics that make any digital equipment look great. Customer reviews give you the “Real World” story, and you’ll be operating that equipment in the real world.
Make a list of what the office has, and what it needs. Get input from employees - the people actually using the equipment. Repeated recommendations that you upgrade the office copier is good advice coming from people standing in line to make copies.
When choosing a printer, look at the cost of replacing ink cartridges. Manufacturers practically give away the printer hardware, but the cost of replacement ink cartridges is very expensive.
If you only need a few paper copies, and haven’t received a fax in a couple of years thanks to email attachments, your small business may be able to get away with a small-footprint multi-function print/copier/scanner/fax.
How many people will be using the device? Once again, if they’re lining up to make paper copies they’re lowering company productivity. Monitor current equipment use to determine what needs upgrades, what can be eliminated, what can boost cash flow and business efficiency.
Of course you want an efficient unit if the entire office is networked into a single copier. Today’s office copiers have many “computer” features, like the ability to store offsite in the “cloud” to protect company data, facilitate collaboration, and enable cross-platform access to company information.
Consider leasing your office copier. In the long-run, it most likely will cost you more. However, if you lease, your company doesn’t have to make a major capital outlay all at once, leasing costs are a tax deduction in the year incurred, and when it breaks down, jams, or otherwise refuses to cooperate, you simply call the leasing company, saving on repair costs.
Leasing also enables you to upgrade at the end of each lease term because you know copiers will do more three years from now. Upgrade without spending business capital that could be used elsewhere.
If your business has a sales team on the road, or techs servicing clients in homes, a smartphone is almost a “must-have.” Using smartphone technology, your furnace tune-up specialist can snap a picture of a part and have it ordered faster.
Again, payment capture and automatic account deposit can be done with a couple of smartphone clicks. It’s encrypted, simple, and cash flow increases when you’re no longer operating on “Net 30.”
Smartphone technology increases at a phenomenal rate as more of us connect using this tech. Your team can do more with a smartphone than if they’re chained to a desktop back in the office, or worse, taking hand-written notes on a job.
Again, when purchasing smartphones in quantity look for a bulk discount. This is an intensely competitive market segment, and that puts the buyer in the driver’s seat. If you don’t like the terms company A offers, move on to company B.
Keep The Power Flowing
A power outage can be more than an inconvenience when the company depends on office telephony and Internet access. No electricity, no business.
Purchase a UPS - an uninterruptable power supply. This device tracks power usage in real time and provides enough power to back up work in progress.
Contact an IT professional to assess what your company needs. More security? More mobility? Less downtime?
Before you spend company funds on equipment make sure you’re buying the equipment you need. Do your research. Perform a use analysis. Buy what you need based on consumer reviews.
That’s just plain smart business.