- How much time will the project take? This isn't just about how long it takes to get the equipment.
- How much training will your team need? Will you need to hire people that are already certified? Will you have to let anyone go?
- Will you have to hire outside help for training and engineering?
- Will you have to train your non-technical people when you upgrade to a new system?
- How much will all that cost?
- What do your customers think? Huge question. I have seen several companies make all kinds of changes, thinking the customer is going to fall in love with it, and just can't wait to show them. The problem is, they make the changes without any input and didn't give anyone a heads-up. Next thing you know, the phone and emails start lighting up, and not in a good way.
- How long has the new equipment been in circulation? Some companies go broke just trying to keep up. By the time it hits the market they are already testing the new and improved equipment you just spent all of your money, time and resources into. Make sure you list out your goals and objectives before you buy. A customer of mine told me it took him four years to complete the project. He was going to go on vacation but was denied because his company decided to do an upgrade to the system he just finished installing.
- Does your current system meet these requirements? If not, how close is it? Can you add a few items to get it to where you need to be? Is there room to make it through the next 3-5 years. If you are close, stay with what you got. If not even close then do the upgrade. Make sure the upgrade has the ability to add to the network without replacing it entireley.
I only buy used, new surplus or refurbished questions:Ask yourself these questions before you buy used and you can't go wrong.
- Is this in the vendors stock? If, yes great. If it is in stock and it is used equipment you should get a great discount. Normally you should save at least 30% off of brand new, maybe more. This varies like the stock market. It all comes down to supply and demand. The price will be much lower if the vendor knows there is ample supply on the market and he or she isn't selling them or its a slow mover. It will be much higher if the opposite is true. If the item was in stock it should not take longer than 7 business days to ship ground coast to coast.
- If it is not in stock ask for a quote. Give them a couple of days to get back to you. Why you ask? Most end-users think if they call and email a ton of different vendors they are sure to get a great price. That maybe true if there is ample supply. However, if there isn't much stock out on the market all the vendors start emailing the few that do have it and blow up the poor vendors email. They will end up quoting it out several times. If they see these request for quotes coming in around the same time the price will go up. Sometimes over brand new pricing. Almost 99% of the time it should be much cheaper than a brand new one. Sometimes up to 80% cheaper, and you won't have to wait for it. Now if they are not sure, sometimes they will ask you to make an offer. A good starting point is 50% lower than what new is. Tell them a real price. If the item is in stock it should arrive within 7 business days from coast to coast.
- How long do I have to wait for equipment? If the answer is longer than 2 weeks, tell them you may have to check around. If they are worth their salt they will tell you, " No that is OK. I will keep working to see if I can get it sooner." Make sure you tell them when you start calling and emailing other vendors. They won't like it but they will respect your honesty.
- What is the condition of the equipment? Is it new, used or refurbished? This is a critical question. It is only new if it comes direct from the manufacture. It is considered new surplus if it is in the manufacture box and the part appears unused but comes from someone other than a manufacture. Unused is equipment is equipment that appears new but not in a manufacture box. Used equipment is self explanatory. Refurbished equipment is equipment that appears to have been worked on, tested, painted and cleaned.
- Is the equipment tested? It is much better to pay a little extra knowing a product works. It is a huge pain in the a@$ if you get all the way out to your remote site and it does not work.
- Does the vendor repair on site? Many vendors say they can do everything. Most do not.
- What is the warranty on used equipment? Don't buy anything that does not come with at least a 90 day warranty. This will save you time, money and head ache in the long run.
- Do they answer the phone? This is huge! This is getting to be a major problem in all businesses. SingleSource answers the phone and your emails quickly. If you have to press a bunch of numbers and extensions... hang-up and call someone that wants to talk to you. Eliminate those that will not talk to you.
- Do they get back to you in a timely manner? It should never ever take more than a day to get back to you. If it does eliminate them.
- Have a forecast of equipment you will need in the future. If you wait until you need it and you blast it all over the place guess what happens? Vendors are buying to try and get it off the market. Prices go up. You get tons of phone calls, emails, follow-ups and on and on. It is always better to have a supply of water before the fire.
- Do you have equipment to get rid of ? Companies like SingleSource buy's equipment, gives you discounts, or trades for equipment. Again, saving you time and money. Click on tab to find out we are looking for.
- Ask them about their quality process. They don't have to be TL9000 or ISO9000 certified to be a good company but they should have a documented quality process in place.
All in all buying equipment doesn't have to be like buying a box of chocolates. You should know exactly what you are going to get.
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