If you're in the process of building your business, you may be intimidated by all the physical resources you have to buy before you can start generating revenue. But if the retail prices on new business products have you reeling from sticker shock, why not take a good hard look at their refurbished and used equivalents? Here are just a few of the critical business items you can purchase on the rebound.
Second-hand electronics can make first-rate office machines under the right circumstances. Refurbished printers and computers may be never-used returns in new condition, or they may be lightly used and still in great shape. Manufacturers who sell refurbished electronics inspect, test, and (if necessary) replace every component, selling them to you at significantly below retail price.
Some electronics remain perfectly capable year after year. Refurbished printers, for example, through a company like Midwest Laser Specialists Inc, can keep providing excellent service as long as you can find (or install) the appropriate driver on your computer system -- their core technology isn't going to change anytime soon. Factory-refurbished printers should be in perfect mechanical condition, including the print head, belt, motor, paper feeder, and any other moving parts. They should also come with a warranty, so make sure yours does.
Refurbished computers can save you up to 80 percent off the retail price, but you may find that you have a narrower window of usability among the refurbished options out there. That's because as software and digital bandwidth continue to balloon in size, a computer that boasts capacious memory and lighting-fast speeds today can seem like an obsolete under-performer within a couple of years' time. To cope with this obstacle to future proofing:
- Make sure the hard drive and memory modules in your refurbished computers can be upgraded easily and cheaply
- Consider your refurbished computers transitional units, and plan on selling them on donating them to a good cause as you save up for their replacements
Second-hand furniture stores are everywhere these days, and many of them specialize in all kinds of office furniture, from simple task chairs and computer desks to plush executive recliners and sleek conference tables. But don't expect to pay peanuts for a chair that originally sold for $1,000 -- many of the products you see will be top-of-the-line designer models that their previous owners couldn't bear to throw away. Even so, you could still save hundreds on equipment that will instantly make your enterprise seem more prosperous than anybody would have guessed.
If you really just want to fill your office with all the necessary furnishings quickly and affordably, a used office furniture store can manage that for you too. The lower end offerings can be ridiculously cheap, such as a non-rolling chair for $10 or a file cabinet for $50. It's also convenient to get everything you need from a single outlet in one shopping trip.
Used Vehicles and Heavy Equipment
Did you know that the average car depreciates in value the moment its new owner drives it off the lot? If paying thousands less for each vehicle in your commercial fleet sounds like a strategy worth pursuing, then you need to be looking at late-model cars, trucks or vans. Here are some tips for making sure you don't end up with a fleet of lemons for your efforts:
- Always request a detailed incident history on any vehicle you intend to buy. If major repairs had to be performed due to an accident or flood damage, you should probably steer clear.
- Always have an unbiased mechanic inspect your prospective company car to assess its condition and probable future lifespan.
- Always check the Blue Book value of the vehicle compared to the dealer's asking price.
As you can see, smart entrepreneurs who are also smart shoppers can make use of second-hand electronics, furnishings, and vehicles to get their businesses up and running while still hanging on to as much precious start-up capital as possible. Your refurbished gear may help you make so much money that you'll soon find yourself buying brand-new upgrades straight off the showroom floor!