The start-up stage of equipping your premises is very exciting; it shows that all your meticulous plans are translating into reality and that your business is actually taking shape. It is very easy to get carried away and to insist on everything you might conceivably require, all brand spanking new. However, as with everything else, careful consideration is required.
What do you need?
Make a list, but challenge what gets included on it. It may be prudent to wait before purchasing some things you would ultimately like to have.
You must be very clear in your mind as to what you actually need for your business to operate. If you can start up without something, delay purchase until later. Be just as clear as to what you need with regard to specifications of computers, for example; don’t pay for what you don’t need, but do buy equipment that will not become immediately obsolete or undersized.
New or used?
There are cost implications for your decision to buy new or used machinery and equipment; it may be very nice to have everything shiny and new, but ask yourself whether it is necessary. Furniture in particular can normally be purchased for a good price second hand.
Check out what is available as far as warranties and back-up are concerned; remember that even refurbished computers come with warranties and that after sales service may be able to be purchased separately.
Don’t just buy the cheapest (or most expensive!) that is available. Do your research, read reviews, perhaps in business publications, or ask for testimonials from other customers who have purchased the items you are considering. Remember to factor in running costs when making choices.
If you are renting or leasing equipment, check that the agreement allows you to change/upgrade without penalty.
If you are a tradesman, you may well already have your tools. If not, buy good quality basic tools and look after them. Cheap tools will annoy you, and will not last.
Can you work differently and so do without something, especially in the early days? Is there a way you can borrow rather than buy, or rent as required, if it is something you use infrequently.
Warranty and support
Check what is covered and for how long. Be prepared to pay for this kind of support; something that is a bargain rapidly loses its appeal if it breaks down and you cannot easily, or cost-effectively, get it fixed. The more crucial the equipment to the running of your business, the more attention you should pay to warranty and service.