Does Second-Hand Tech Make Cents?

It’s no secret that consignment shopping is uber trendy right now – thanks to the push to purge things we don’t love, reuse what we can and recycle what we can’t. But while buying second-hand might save you money on that designer purse or that office bookshelf, does it ever make sense to buy used technology – particularly in an office setting? Here are a few tips on when and how it might make cents – and save dollars – for your organization.

First, shop quality. It almost goes without saying, but technology is the lifeblood of most businesses today. If you can’t reach your people when you need to, and they can’t function at the level you require, business simply won’t get done. For that reason, if you are considering used tech, make certain that you are getting it from a reliable source, like Apple or a major retailer (as opposed to the guy down the street on Offer Up). A trusted source will take the time to make certain the device is in good working condition, refurbish it (if needed) and be around to back up your purchase if the need should arise.

Do your employees need the latest model?

Do your employees need the latest model?

Ask whether you need the latest model. Some organizations simply require the latest and greatest technology to function efficiently. If your systems or software demand it, then buying used equipment might not be the best option for you. If, however, last season’s newest model has all the features you need, you might be able to reap substantial savings from someone else who felt the need to upgrade. Also, consider whether you want every piece of tech in a department to match. If getting everything new and starting with a clean slate is important, be aware that you might not be able to get everyone’s devices to align perfectly if you are searching the used market. While that might not seem like a deal breaker to some organizations, those that rely heavily on tech (or that have to navigate internal politics) might not function well if everyone is on even slightly different models.

Which route to take? Some items just make more sense to buy used than others. Routers for example are not often refurbished, since the cost to repair them is usually more expensive than their value. That means if you do see one used, it’s generally a return that may never have come out of the box rather than a defective model that’s been repaired.

“Laptops, smartphones and tablets are your prime second-hand tech items.”

Laptops, smartphones and tablets, oh my. These are your prime second-hand tech items for a whole host of reasons. Tablets because manufacturers (such as Apple) recondition older models properly – oftentimes with new shells and batteries – so you can snag much more memory on an older model for what you would pay for a less-robust, newer model. Likewise, used laptops can offer your company much more bang for your buck when it comes to memory and computing power.  Just make certain with laptops that the latest operating system is installed (and that the device can handle it), that charging port and connectivity features function properly, and that batteries have been replaced or have a good amount of life remaining. The same advice holds true for smartphones – just bear in mind that they typically take more abuse. (Just think about how often your cell phone gets dropped as opposed to your laptop.) Warranties are particularly important on phones, as is getting them from a reputable dealer. It is worth noting that, depending on the time of year, you may be better off grabbing a discount on a new, year-old model phone that the company is trying to get rid of in its push for the latest and greatest.

Technician Tip

Save yourself a future headache by making sure to fully test any refurbished technology before leaving the store. If you need any help choosing the right piece of used tech, please give us a call at (810) 695-9869. – Vinnie Sanchez, PCS Computer Technician

Check the warranty/return policy. Unfortunately, whether you are buying new or used, sometimes things do go wrong. No matter which seller you are purchasing from, check the warranty and be certain that it specifically applies to used goods. That also applies to the credit cards that we have come to rely on for protection. Oftentimes their return policies don’t cover used goods. PayPal, however, did at press time offer a 180-day window to return defective purchases.

So if you want to save some green, consider used tech for your office. Your accountant may thank you for it.