When is it the Right Time to Buy Second Hand or Surplus Equipment?

November 7, 2012 · 1 comment

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(By Claret for Business Reviews via Flickr)

So, you’ve decided to go the way of second hand or surplus equipment for your growing business. That’s great news for your balance sheet; hopefully, the savings will enable you to expand your operations and increase revenue. If all goes well, you will be able to buy new equipment in the future, and you’ll be selling your old reliable gear to some other budding entrepreneur. Companies helping other companies prosper, isn’t that great?

As with many things in life, timing counts. Yes, there’s actually a right time to buy second hand or surplus. Based on my own entrepreneurial adventures, I’d like to share some lessons I’ve learned regarding this topic.

The Beginning of a Year

When the holiday spending spree is over and the allegedly lucrative sale price tags come down, it’s actually the right time to buy. In the aftermath of an aggressively spending public, there will be leftover products that weren’t sold not because they were in any way bad; it just so happens that in the midst of all the discounts and aggressive marketing, these products didn’t garner as much attention.

The retailers still have to make money off these items, and they have to make room for the products that will arrive within the first quarter. There will be inventory clearance sales, liquidation sales, and other endeavors (some desperate) to turn idle inventory back to liquid assets. Ironically, keeping a tight grip on your little company’s purse strings during the holidays will make you one happy shopper in January and February.

From Endings Come New Beginnings

Keep your ear to the ground at all times, especially when it concerns the industries in which your business exists in. When companies decide downsize, call it quits, or file for bankruptcy, there will be plenty of opportunities to acquire surplus equipment affordably.

I know that some people might feel a little uneasy in playing the role of a scavenger, but let me reassure you that there is nothing unethical about this. You are not stealing or cheating (unless you had a direct hand in their company’s decline, save for simply outselling them), so take pride in being able to make the best of a bad situation!

Another Man’s Trash…

Somewhat related to the tip above, you can always take advantage of something another company discards. In the first world, it’s rather common to see still-useful surplus equipment being tossed into the dumpster. I kid you not, I have seen office chairs, older computer hardware, filing cabinets, and still-serviceable furniture being thrown out without a care. This is something we can learn from the third world economies; they always seem to find creative and financially lucrative ways of making use of their discards.

This bit of advice will probably be moot (a big DUH) if you’re actually running a recycling business. ;)

When Things are Going Well

Let’s say business is doing well, and your business is flush with cash. You’d be tempted to spend a little bit on beautifying the office, splurge on new or luxurious surplus equipment and facilities, or you just let it sit at the bank because a big fat number looks pretty on your balance sheet. You may feel like you want to stop getting your hands dirty for the moment and rest on your laurels…

I’ll share with you a song that will hopefully inspire you to not kick your feet up and coast.

This is precisely the time to think, plan, implement new strategies. If viable, expand! This is when having a lower-risk investment of cheaper surplus equipment comes to play. If it doesn’t go the way you want it to, then the loss is more manageable. If the venture works, then congratulations, you just grew your business at a minimal cost!

Aside from what I’ve shared, never settle on just one source of knowledge and wisdom. The internet’s a big smorgasbord of information, be sure to partake of it and determine what works best for you. May your business live long and prosper!

About

Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and works with many successful companies such as Rock & Dirt, NextTruck Online, Trade-A-Plane, and Tradequip International.

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