Jamie Griffiths is a content writer for Approved Index – the UK’s leading B2B marketplace for buyers and suppliers of business products and services.
In the digital era setting up a home office to accommodate your new self-employment necessarily involves purchasing some new kit. Often these purchases go one of two ways: either you spend countless hours determinedly hunting around for the very best deals or you take the easier option of shelling out what is probably a bit too much money.
Neither of those is the ideal outcome for the cash-strapped and time-poor start-up business person. Some kind of compromise is required so that you’re not distracted from your core activities for too long while still getting a decent deal on your equipment. The following tips should save you time and money whether you’re looking for cheap photocopiers, a business phone system or a new PC.
1. eBay is your friend…
If you’re not scared of a lack of manufacturer warranties then eBay is the place to look for your home office equipment. As well as independent sellers off-loading their used hardware you’ll also find many businesses which offer refurbished and reconditioned multi-function printers, telephones, desktop computers etc. Sometimes these companies will even offer their own warranties to provide that all important peace of mind. Sticking to the eBay seller rating system will ensure that you’re not about to be ripped off by non-existent goods.
2. …but do your research first
Of course it’s all well and good recommending eBay as a place to buy your equipment, but that doesn’t answer the more fundamental question of which equipment should I buy? Google searching a type of product with ‘reviews’ only turns up pages of SEO-ed content which is usually of no help whatsoever. Instead, go to Amazon or another large online retailer which has a customer review facility. Search for the type of product you’re after here and use the star rating system and user comments to narrow down your search. Apart from general user experience keep an eye out for comments on the price of consumables (e.g. toner cartridges). Once you’ve found a suitable solution you can then try to find the same product for cheaper elsewhere.
(Reminder: Be a good citizen; when you’ve purchased your item, leave a review for future users)
3. Don’t be rushed
While you don’t want to waste days looking for your office equipment neither do you want to get stuck with the first product offered. If you are going to buy from a dealer and enjoy a manufacturer warranty you should still take the time to compare prices across several sites. Type the product name as precisely as you can into Google and then check out the shopping results (by clicking the ‘Shopping’ link under ‘Search’ on the left hand side) for a quick overview of prices.
4. Check the delivery rates
I may be stating the obvious now but always check that the delivery price is included and the time frame. Some retailers offer only their very slowest delivery options for free and these usually also have restricted delivery times (though if you’re working from home that shouldn’t be a problem).
5. Don’t be afraid to return
Phones not up to scratch? Copier not working the way it said it would? Vital PC components missing? Then send it back. Check before you purchase that the seller accepts returns (eBay Buyer Protection can resolve such problems eventually but it’s always best to ensure the seller has their own agreeable policy) and that they’ll cover the cost of sending the unsuitable item(s) back.
I hope you’ve found the above advice helpful. All that remains is for me to wish you good luck in kitting out your new home office and the very best of fortune in your self-employment!