Office equipment and supplies are quite necessary for the flawless running of business operations. Whether you are looking to buy a printer, a shredder or a stapler, you will be bombarded with lot many options. Which one will be right for you will depend on the nature and type of your business. While making a buying decision, you should also think about the reason behind the requirement of the equipment.
To make an informed and perfect buying decision, consider the following factors.
The first thing to consider while making a purchase decision is the estimated usage of the equipment. You need to consider how frequent the use will be, who will be using it and how the equipment will help you achieve higher productivity and efficiency.
The skill level of the employee who is going to operate the equipment should be considered. You need to consider if the end-user will need proper training to operate the office equipment to its full potential and if that's the case, what will be the cost of training?
When it comes to purchasing new or used office equipment, price is the dominating factor. However, when we talk about price, it doesn't only mean the initial purchase price; it should also include maintenance cost of the equipment throughout its lifecycle, price of replacement parts or consumable and the opportunity costs. For comparing the prices of various models, websites such as Nextag and Consumer Reports are quite handy.
- Availability of parts and consumable
This factor is one of the most important factors to think about. Buying a printer which needs a cartridge that's difficult to find or insanely expensive is a bad decision. So consider the availability and budget of spare parts and consumables. Also, you need to decide whether you will prefer OEM certified parts and new consumables or refurbished parts and consumables.
Ideally, technical support and software updates should be included with the initial purchase price of the equipment. So make sure that you have access to technical support, which is generally through toll-free number, and free software updates as they are supposed to remove a manufacturer malfunction or enhance the overall performance of the office equipment.
Different manufacturers offer different warranty time period. So consider that. Also, what about the service after the warranty period? What are the terms of the service contract and at what price the service is available? While considering a service contract, you should look for the following things:
- Length of the service contract
- Availability of auto-renewal
- Cancellation fees
- Guaranteed response time
- If the cost of parts and travel included in the contract
If the contract terms and conditions are too detailed, it's always better to contact an expert who can guide you. A professional may also help you negotiate with the service provider for the best contract price.
If your business emphasizes on being environment friendly, the options will be quite limited and the features may or may not meet your needs. Also, equipment that help you go green carry a steep price tag but their maintenance costs over their lifetime are usually quite insignificant.
Once you consider these factors, you will be able to narrow down on the equipment that meets your requirements. The most important thing to remember while making a purchase decision is to not to rush the process and take a wrong decision.