Here are five ways to avoid the most common price traps when buying IT for your business.
1. Don’t pay retail for Microsoft
Microsoft software is expensive. Some small businesses spend more than $1,000 per PC on Windows 7 and Office Professional and larger businesses regularly pay more for server-based software than the box itself.
To save money we suggest that you purchase pre-installed Microsoft software (known as “OEM”). OEM software can halve your license costs, but beware that this software is not transferrable to other computers. You can also consider cheaper alternatives to Microsoft such as the Linux operating system or Google Apps for your word processing and spreadsheet work.
2. Shop around for your IT helpdesk
Like servicing your car, it’s hard to know if your IT service provider is ripping you off. We hear stories of very small businesses paying more than $500 per month for basic phone support.
You needn’t over-pay for basic IT support. In fact we don’t think you should pay more than $50 per computer per month. Your IT provider should answer your technical queries promptly and any problems should be fixed the same or next business day. We always recommend getting three quotes before you sign up to an IT provider, and you should compare against market rates every two years.
3. Don’t over-invest in your PC
It amazes me how many computer users pay extra for a PC that far outdoes its intended use. Windows 7 and Intel’s new processors mean you only need a very basic computer for everyday business use.
OK, you may want to pay a premium for a durable laptop case but there’s no need to over-invest, just like you wouldn’t buy a Ferrari to drive to the corner shop. Read more about what specs to look for in a new PC here.
4. Focus on the toner, not the printer
Many PowerBuy members think buying a cheap printer will save them money. But, the general rule is the cheaper the printer, the more you pay every time you print. Over the first three years it’s reasonable for toner to cost five times what you paid for the printer, so think carefully before you buy.
You should compare the price of toners and look at the number of pages each toner cartridge will print (the “yield”). A $200 cartridge that prints 5,000 pages is better value than a $50 cartridge that prints 1,000 pages. We recommend genuine toners because we hear too many stories of printers that are damaged by non-genuine cartridges.
5. Don’t spend millions on your phone
OK, so it’s unlikely you’ll buy the iPhone 4 Golden Rose for a cool $5 million, but if you do, then don’t tell me I didn’t warn you. The Golden Rose comes with 500 flawless diamonds, platinum navigation controls and a single pink rose diamond as your menu button. Only two of these models were ever made and there’s an obvious reason for that.
But seriously, if you want to reduce your phone bill, you should consider VoIP. VoIP uses your broadband connection to make calls and by 2018 it is predicted that all homes and businesses will dial this way.
Are you getting ripped off?
The average Australian business spends $700 per employee per year on hardware, software and services. Do you think you’re paying too much for your IT? If so, feel free to call us on 1300 955 523 or visit www.powerbuy.com.au to access discounts on a range of popular IT products.