On average, US small business startups spend between $10,000 to $125,000 on equipment alone. That’s a significant amount of money, considering you still need money for numerous other essentials such as office space, inventory, payroll, marketing, insurance, and utilities.
What many small business owners fail to realize is that there are ways to save money on office equipment without compromising quality.
In today’s post, we outline 13 easy ways you can get great deals on office equipment and supplies and save cash in the process. Read on to learn more.
Shop Around Before Buying Office Equipment
One of the best ways to get affordable deals on office equipment and supplies is to compare prices from different suppliers. For instance, if you’re looking for a business laptop, visit several online stores first and check their offers before making a purchasing decision.
That said, don’t rush to purchase from sellers whose prices are suspiciously low. Rock bottom prices could indicate that the equipment has quality issues or that there are certain hidden charges. Do your due diligence before making the purchase.
Buy in Bulk
Buying equipment in bulk is one sure way to make sure you do not spend too much. A good example is when buying business laptops. Many sellers will be willing to charge a lower price if you buy multiple units as opposed to buying a single laptop.
The same applies to just about everything you need in your business. Of course, you don’t need to buy everything in bulk when it comes to office supplies. It’s best to bulk- buy the supplies you use most frequently, such as paper.
Take Advantage of Discounts and Specials
For those occasional one-off items, do a quick search online to find out whether any retailers in your area are running sales or specials on them. That’s a sure way to save some money on such items. Once you’ve established relationships with certain retailers, use your connections to find out whether there are discounts for regular customers like you, particularly when purchasing in bulk.
Take advantage of coupons too. Even if a coupon saves you a few dollars every few weeks, those savings can add up over time.
Don’t Splurge on Unnecessarily Complex Equipment
Sure, you want to invest in modern equipment, but that doesn’t mean splurging on ultra-sophisticated equipment if you don’t need to.
If you’re a startup that needs to do some basic printing from time to time, you don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a heavy-duty industrial printer that can print 100 sheets of paper per minute. An ordinary commercial printer can get the job done and costs a lot less. Of course, if you intend to start a printing company, then a heavy-duty printer makes sense.
The latest, most sophisticated office equipment is only needed when you run a high-end niche business.
Rent Single-Use Office Equipment
A common mistake small businesses make is to buy office equipment that they’ll only use once or twice every few years. Hiring such equipment instead makes more financial sense as it saves you a significant amount of money.
You can also hire equipment when you don’t have enough space to store it. If you run a construction company, for instance, you may consider hiring cranes instead of buying them. That saves you not only money but also warehouse space.
To find a suitable office equipment rental company, you’ll need to shop around. Work with rental companies that have an excellent online reputation. Such companies are most likely to supply top-quality equipment at an affordable price.
Opt for Energy-Efficient Equipment
Energy-efficiency is a crucial factor when buying office equipment. Generally, equipment that is energy-efficient saves you a lot of money on power bills in the long run.
If you can find Energy Star products, buy them instead of non-certified counterparts. The rapidly growing demand for these products has lowered the prices of these products, making them affordable for consumers. In some cases, these products cost even lower than non-certified equipment, which means you get to save both on the initial price and on energy expenses.
Consider Buying Second Hand
The price of used office equipment tends to be lower than that of new equipment. However, you need to be keen when it comes to the condition of the equipment. If the equipment has been used for a very long time and is worn, it’s more likely to break.
Make time to inspect used equipment physically where possible. When buying online, ensure that the seller has provided a clear description of the equipment’s condition. More than that, make sure there are enough photos of the equipment, so you have a better idea of what you’re buying.
If the seller usually deals in second-hand home office equipment, it’s a good idea to verify their reputation by checking online reviews. If previous customers review the seller favorably, it’s a good sign that you may get top-quality items at a reasonable price.
Consider Generic Brands
Another practical way to save money on equipment and supplies is by opting for generic brands. Most of the time, there’s little or no difference in quality between products from recognized brands and those from off-brands. Sometimes, products from generic brands are even better.
Buying generic items is especially money-saving when making big-ticket purchases, such as office furniture and other supplies. Ink cartridges for laser printers and desktop inkjets, for instance, tend to cost twice as much when buying from a brand name as opposed to when buying from generic brands. Yet, the difference in quality is negligible.
Decide Between Repairing and Replacing
Understanding when you need to repair office equipment and when you need to replace it can save you a significant amount of money.
Not every malfunction requires you to invest in a new piece of equipment. Office equipment repair typically costs much less than replacing the equipment. Thankfully, you can find just about any niche equipment part online at an affordable price.
When the time for repair comes, choose a technician wisely. Consider their credentials, including training, certification, and experience. Get two or three quotes from qualified technicians to avoid overpaying on repairs.
If the equipment is clearly on its last legs and keeps breaking down, it’s best to consider replacing it. You can sell some of the broken equipment’s good parts online to help raise part of the money for a replacement.
Maintain Your Office Equipment
Another way to reduce expenditure on office equipment is by maintaining the equipment you already have. This way, you don’t have to replace it often. Some basic maintenance tasks are easy to do yourself, while more complicated tasks require a professional.
One of the simplest and most important maintenance tasks is cleaning your equipment regularly. Dust build-up can affect your office equipment’s functioning. It’s one of the reasons for computers and printers failing.
Don’t forget about environmental factors such as humidity and cold. Excessive heat or cold can cause certain office equipment to malfunction.
Negotiate Prices With Suppliers
Many people are uncomfortable when it comes to bargaining prices, but you’ll be surprised how much you can save by negotiating the prices of office equipment and suppliers. Most suppliers are always willing to reduce the price of their products, especially for buyers who buy frequently and in large volumes.
If you still feel uneasy about haggling with sellers, consider learning some simple negotiation skills. There are lots of resources online that can help you become better at bargaining. It’s a skill that can pay off not just when purchasing office equipment but in other areas as well.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to wait until you run out of office supplies or your office equipment is broken down to take action. It means that you’ll have no option but to pay an item’s price as you need it to continue operating your business.
If your printer is clearly nearing the end of its life, start shopping for a new one early enough. That gives you enough time to compare offers and negotiate prices.
Save on Shipping Costs
When purchasing office equipment, don’t forget about any shipping costs involved. Large-sized equipment such as industry-grade printers and office furniture can cost a significant amount of money to ship when you buy online. If possible, look for sellers who offer free shipping or whose shipping costs are affordable.
Save Money on Office Equipment
Stocking your business with essential office equipment and supplies shouldn’t drive your business bankrupt. With careful planning and a little research, you’ll find there are ways to get great deals on what you need to keep your business operating as it should.
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