Buying technology hardware for your business is a big decision, whether you're talking about laptops, smartphones or POS terminals. The latest and greatest to hit the market will always be appealing. But it may not be the best answer for every business or in every situation. For instance, it might be more cost-effective to consider a refurbished model or an established (and hopefully reliable) program that you know works. And yet, new technology can be a major morale booster and may help differentiate you from competitors.
"You definitely have to invest in new technologies, but if you can see that in the first months you are not generating the expected results … do not keep investing in something that does not work," Christian Rennella, co-founder of elMejorTrato.com said. "Save those resources for another new [type of] technology that eventually will come."
There are pros and cons to any major buying decision for your business, including whether to invest in brand new technology or purchase refurbished models. [Read related article: What You Need to Know About Refurbished Technology]
Every company and employee has dealt with sluggish laptops or phones that are constantly crashing. That's why handing someone a brand-new model can completely change their attitude. That means one of the best aspects to buying new technology could be intangible.
"Everyone in the office feels a lot better when you present them with a brand-new laptop," said Alex Winston, head of design and UX for PPC Protect. "It might be much more expensive than buying refurbished tech, but you don't have to put up with the constant stress of devices breaking."
New technology can boost office morale and provide peace of mind. If you do the proper research and invest in the right kind of technology, brand-new devices could really help your business.
Buying new tech also means you usually have the option to add a warranty as well. Dealing with bug-ridden or broken technology is never ideal, but if you have a warranty, it could be covered and mean that repairs or replacement devices won't cost your business. While some refurbished technology comes with a warranty, it may not cover the device for as long as a warranty included with new technology.
"We had three [refurbished] computers break just a couple of weeks outside their warranty period," Winston said. "If we bought brand new, we would have had an extra year, and they would have all been covered."
Winston said that his company always opts for the extended warranty when buying new devices. This way, if there's ever any issues, repairs can be quickly taken care of.
The biggest benefit to new technology is a bit obvious: It's new. Because it's right out of the box, it should not have any major issues (at least in theory). It should last for a while, depending on what kind of technology you are buying.
One of the challenges with buying refurbished technology is the possibility of getting a model that's already halfway through its lifecycle, meaning it may not last as long as new products. New technology, while it may come with its own set of issues, should last for years on end, depending on the type of tech you are buying.
Separate your business from competitors
Depending on what field you are in, having the latest technology could differentiate you from your competitors. Clients will be impressed by your company's commitment to growing and changing in the workplace. It creates a great face for your company – one that features innovation, forward-thinking and doing everything for the customer or client. It also adds another tool that other competitors may not have.
Rennella stated, "Six months ago when we started using the new platform of Google TensorFlow for Artificial Intelligence (deep learning), this allowed us to lower our prices by 31.2 percent. Being the most economical option in the market, our sales increased 45.6 percent."
The biggest issue with buying new technology is the potential for bugs that haven't been worked out or even recognized by developers. As with any piece of new technology, the first users are at the mercy of whatever tech problems went unnoticed during production and QA. For a business, this can be a serious issue that can get costly.
"One of the biggest cons in purchasing a new-to-market piece of tech is that the first-generation product is usually flawed in some way," said Rachel Wilson, director of marketing for VloggerGear. "However, because it is new, this piece of tech might be able to solve the problems you have at hand compared to older models or refurbished products."
To avoid technical problems and bugs as an early adopter, it may be worth it to wait out the first few months after the technology's release and purchase it after it has been updated or repaired.
"I typically don't purchase bleeding-edge new technology products," said Coleen Leith, owner of Marketing Matters. "In many instances, that early/new technology just doesn't have the bugs worked out. I don't want to risk the investment and time to make things work at the office. I want it to just work."
The other major con to buying brand-new technology is that it's usually significantly more expensive than refurbished or older tech. Oftentimes, buying new technology means having to shell out high costs up front. There are usually less expensive options available that could make more sense for your business.
"If by refurbished you mean a new product that has been recently purchased, returned, and then inspected by the manufacturer and fixed (if necessary), then sold with the original warranty by the manufacturer, that can be a great way to save money," said Owen Wollum, CEO of Dependable IT Support. "I've gone that route numerous times and never had a problem."
With so many options for purchasing and using refurbished tech, buying new technology can be a tough step for a business looking to cut costs or save money. Refurbished tech is often more affordable and can still be reliable if it's purchased from the right outlet.
"I'm a big fan of refurbished products. These products are [up] to spec per the manufacturer and work perfectly," said Leith. "Refurbished products have been out in the market long enough to have those bugs worked out, have been factory updated, and they are typically a good deal – 15 to 40 percent off."
Buying new technology can be a good option if you're looking to differentiate your business from competitors or extend the life of your tech with a long-term warranty. If you're a business owner looking to cut costs, buying new technology may not be your best bet. There is a serious potential for bugs or other technical problems, and it can be more expensive compared to reliable, refurbished models from licensed sellers.