Researching the Right Equipment for Your Startup

If you’re just getting started in a new business venture, finding the best equipment for the right price is a vital part of your efforts. Getting the right equipment doesn’t have to be stressful or overly expensive.

Choosing the right equipment even impacts the profitability and productivity of your business. There are a few key things to look at as you research the right equipment for your startup.

Study Your Competitors

What equipment is your competitor using — and, is there something better out there? You can get an edge over the competition by having equipment that is faster or does things a bit differently than other businesses in your niche have. Take the time to check out what equipment your competitors use.

Many will have this information listed in their About Us pages on their websites. Equipment makes a difference in how well a business completes their job, so they typically tout the latest and most tech-savvy equipment.

Compare Leasing vs. Buying

Cash flow is a problem for a lot of small businesses, but particularly for startups because of all the costs involved in getting a business up and running. If you want to keep your money fluid, consider leasing instead of buying equipment. Not only does this keep cash more fluid, but it allows you to invest in better equipment than you might be able to buy.

Try out the equipment and make sure it suits your needs before committing to a full-on purchase. Leasing requires less paperwork than trying to obtain a small business loan, and the approval is typically much faster.

In addition, leasing keeps your credit line free, which looks good for the financial health of your company and allows you to obtain other loans. There are also some tax benefits, because you can write off the entire payment for leasing as an expense.

Get Expert Advice

Talk to those who manufacture the equipment for your industry and find out what the latest technology is and what fits within your budget. While you might not yet be able to afford your dream machines, you can certainly invest in the absolute best you can afford right now and make sure it is a machine that will get the job done.

Manufacturers and equipment retailers want your repeat business, so they aren’t likely to steer you wrong just to make a quick sale. However, you also need to do your homework to be on the safe side and make sure you’re buying what you need.

If you know someone who worked in your industry and is now retired or on to another venture, ask if they will mentor you. They may have some ideas on equipment from their time in the trenches that will save you time, money and aggravation.

Choose Between New and Used

Another important decision in choosing equipment for your startup is whether you want to purchase new or used. While used equipment will save you on the purchase price upfront, don’t forget to factor in repairs and downtime if the equipment isn’t 100 percent up to par. Buying used can certainly save you some money, but downtimeis an aggravation to your customers and eats into your costs as you pay employees for time they can’t work due to malfunctioning equipment.

The Best Equipment

The best equipment for your startup depends upon your budget and goals as a company. Take time to fully research what is out there and what other companies use. Then, crunch the numbers between buying used or new or leasing equipment and figure out which option works best for your current needs. Keep in mind there is a lot of flexibility with leasing, particularly for a company just getting started.

About the Author:

Holly Welles covers business and finance topics from a real estate perspective. You can read more by following her on Twitter @HollyAWelles or checking out her blog, The Estate Update.


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