From the January 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
If possible, visit the vendor’s place of business. Meet their service engineers. Ask them how many units they have under service and how they handle spare parts when needed. Ask them if they can train you. You can also do this remotely via services like Skype or FaceTime.
5. Whether you’re buying new or used, compare price and features head-to-head.
Machines can vary in price considerably, so make sure you don’t overpay. When you compare the features of one machine to another relative to the price, you will determine the best value for your money. In the long run, you increase your chance of success by keeping your start up costs low.
6. Get it in writing.
Whatever your deal is, write it down. Don’t rely on your memory or the handshake of the person you’re doing the deal with. Don’t allow this written document to be vague but instead, describe things as specifically as possible. What will the machine do, what is the warranty, what is the response time, what will service cost after the warranty has expired?
7. Is all fair in love and war?
Some manufacturers make it difficult or impossible to resell their laser. Before allowing a laser to go under a service contract, some manufactures force the secondary buyer to recertify the laser. This rectification cost can be exorbitant.
I sometimes wonder if this rectification policy is an effort to steer the client towards purchasing a new machine. In fact, this policy is bad for the customer that wants to buy a used laser, but it’s also bad for the customer that originally purchased the machine new. If you are buying a $100,000 automobile, you want to know that it will retain its value so that in five years, when you’re ready to buy something new, you can trade it in. If the automobile company forced the second buyer to recertify the car before they would agree to service it, then most buyers would probably buy a different car. Knowing a laser cannot be resold also has to have an impact on the leasing companies. If you want to finance your laser, the leasing company is going to charge a higher interest rate if they know that the unit has no residual value in the event of a business failure or at the end of the lease.
8. Plan your endgame when you purchase.
I always advise businesspeople to reach an understanding when buying a new laser that when the customer decides they want to sell their laser, if the system has been maintained under warranty or service, there should be the potential to transfer that warranty or service. If the manufacturer takes the counterintuitive position that they will charge you to keep the machine operating according to their OEM specifications, but on the day you sell it, it no longer meets those specifications, then my advice is to look for a different manufacturer.