As a consulting firm, we perhaps have more hardware and software demands than the average small business -- technology is literally our business. As a result, we're constantly upgrading, changing and moving hardware and software. However, we do not have always have all of the funding necessary to meet our immediate needs. To balance our need for faster hardware and our ability to "pay for it," we suppliment our new equipment with used and/or refurbished equipment. The sources of this equipement tends to be varied, depending on our needs and expectations, but the cost discounts over the equivalent new equipement help us manage our funds more effectively and give us the needed hardware performance boost.
For those of you who might interested in some of the places you can find refurbished and/or used equipment, I have provided a list the categories below. In each category, I have tried to provide an example. Please understand that any vendor listed in this blog entry does not imply a specific endorsement. In addition, you should absolutely do you own research to ensure you find the right vendor for you firm.
- Off Lease Equipment
Lots of medium and large organizations lease their equipment to help them manage both cash and keep their infrastructure current. Once the equipment comes off lease, the financing companies that held the note will auction off the equipment. Occassionally this is done through the equipment manufacturer or sometimes through a used equipment dealer. Either way, smaller firms can acquire this equipment, which is typically 2 to 3 years old, for 50% to 70% off the original pricing (sometimes more). On example of an "owned" (owned by a financing company) reseller of off lease equipment is 2nd-Byte.
- Vendor "Factory Outlet"
Major hardware manufacturers often have a refurbishment program. Refurbished machines ("refurbs") come in two varieties: a) equipment that was damaged or flawed during the manufacturing process and repaired or b) equipment that was purchased by a customer and returned (once the equipment is unboxed, it can not be sold as new). Typically, refurb customers can save 20% or more off the cost of similarly configured new equipment. Also, this type of equipment tends to be more technological current when compared with other sources of "not new" equipment. One example of a factory outlet is Dell's Factory Outlet.
- Used Equipment Dealers
The name says it all -- previously used equipment being resold. Used equipment dealers market all sorts of used equipment and their sources for this equipment are varied (unlike the off lease companies). However, they tend to be a good source of "quality" used equipment, meaning that they tend to ensure the equipment is operational prior to being shipped to their customers. Further, some vendors offer warranties on the equipment of varying lengths -- sometimes as long as new. One example of a used equipment dealer is Stallard Technologies.
Good old EBay. What can't you find there? Ebay tends to host a lot of used equipment "stores" as well as being a source for individual sellers of used equipment. Obviously you should check the seller feedback scores before buying, but you can find some great deals on equipment. In most cases, the sellers offer a DOA ("dead on arrival") warranty, but that is usually it. As a side note, Dell officially sells some used and/or off lease equipment through EBay through the member ID dell.computers.