As a business owner I hate buying computers. Not just because they are the worse asset anyone could buy but honestly they are about as valuable as a bowl of Jello after 2 months. The rapid change of technology makes buying an up to date PC like buying a Betamax when VHS is right around the corner or buying CDs when MP3 and iTunes were already out. It is futile. But what are business owners to do when they hire a new employee or the computer that has lasted them 6 years has finally bit the dust?
Well for the most part Moore’s law says a CPU (the brains of a computer) will double its processing power about every 2 years. So, if you buy a PC now, in reality, you want it to be current for the next two years, right? Well almost. Just remember the most current model is not always available and is never the cheapest. Now come on business owners, you know our primary focus is what can I get to do the job the cheapest? That is the DREAM of every CEO. Knowing that, you know, you’re not going to get the latest and greatest. Especially if you shop at any of the big box retail shops. When was the last time you went somewhere and did not know something about a product and said let me buy the latest model and let me pay more money for it? If you own a company, I can tell you now that would be never. Business owners try to eek every cent out of their investments, building and just about anything else they can buy. Because if they don’t make the most of what they buy, then it eats into companies’ profits. What I find most small business owners do is go to the big box guys and buy a $500 Windows computer and get it setup. Now if you’re a Mac user you know you can’t spend $500 on a new Mac Anything. But keep reading it will be helpful for you as well. So why is buying a PC from these big box guys a bad thing for business owners? Well it has to do with 3 things that can largely affect the profit of your business but they all have to deal with the productivity of your employee. Here are 3 reasons not to buy computers for your business from a big box retailer.
All Warranties are Not the Same
The warranty you buy for your PC from the big box guys is typically 1 year from the manufacturer with an option to buy an additional warranty from the retailer. Well that sounds ok, right? Maybe if you don’t mind being without your PC for up to 4-6 weeks. Yeah, that’s right. Notice I said 1 year from the manufacturer then additional years from the retailer. If something happens within the first year. You get to stop working, take your PC to the retailer and let them send it to the manufacturer to get fixed. After the 1st year and if you bought the retailers extended warranty. It still gets taken to the retailer to get repaired. If it is a part replacement it gets shipped off to the depot to get repaired. It’s like 1980’s called and said, “Can I get my computer back?” For these guys to be profitable they cannot keep the parts for every PC they sell in stock in the stores so it is cheaper for them to ship it off. So what do you do? Well to start off with form a great relationship with your IT provider that deals with the manufactures directly and that sells business grade PCs. Why is that? Well, most of the business class PCs have the option for on-site support. Desktops typically start at 3 years with next business day support. You can get up to 5 years on most business-class PCs. Why is that good? Well, you don’t have to take the time to take the PC to the retailer. Also, your PC is typically back up and working within 24 hours not 4 weeks. Yes, sometimes the fix from the retailer is easy and can be done faster but I need to get my point through to all business owners. This is employee productivity we are talking about. The most expensive thing a business owner pays for is payroll. If they are not working to their best possible ability then it is costing you more money than it should.
Now, this on-site warranty does not come without cost. This will typically add about $200 to $300 to the cost of a desktop PC and $300 to $500 to the cost of a laptop. Honestly very cheap insurance for an asset that should last you 5-6 years to make sure it is fixed an repaired in about 24 hours. You can’t get that from your internet service provider most of the time! Consumer grade PCs from the big box guys will last most business owners 1-2 years.
You Get what you Pay For
As I said above most consumer grade PCs are made from cheaper parts. More plastics vs metal. They are meant to sit at home and be used 1-2 hours a day. They are not meant to work all day and last for years. How do you charge less but still make a profit? Make cheaper stuff, right? Well, that is what these computer manufacturers do too. Think about much more metal is to form than a plastic or higher quality standards for a product. All this costs money so something has to be cut out.
With most business grade computers, you should get about 5-6 years out of a machine that has been properly chosen for the job. Not all PCs are the same and not all jobs are the same. Some people’s jobs require more RAM (Memory, think short-term memory), some require a faster CPU (Brain, think about someone that thinks faster than someone else) other jobs require different things that mean different types of PCs. It all depends on what you do and what applications you use that determine what sort of PC you need. Talk to your trusted IT adviser to help you determine what the best type of computer hardware you should get. You may pay more when buying from an adviser but to make sure you get exactly what you need vs buying the wrong thing is worth it in my book. Buying things twice is always more expensive.
Bloatware is Junk Mail for the Computer
Here’s a term that is probably new to many. Bloatware is defined as all the junk software installed on a PC that is not needed by the consumer at the time of purchase. Think about all the free trial software and utilities that are loaded on a new PC. Oh! You think manufacturers make a lot of money on a $300 – $500 PC? No, guess again. Most of these manufacturers don’t make their money here. Most of the profit has already been made due to bloatware. They charge the software vendor to install their product on their computers before they get shipped to the stores. This means you get to deal with and uninstall all of this software on a consumer PC. All of these programs can slow down the performance of the PC and cause you a loss in productivity. Business grade PCs do come with some bloatware it is not nearly as bad as it is on consumer PCs. It still has to be removed to improve the speed of your computer. What do you do? Well, again you work with your trusted IT adviser and have them put together a PC specification from the manufacturer for you and have them install it so that it is running at its fastest possible speed.
Don’t get me wrong the big box guys offer a cheap product that will do for most people. But if you’re buying it for your business just know you may be replacing it in a year or two and it will not be as fast as it could be. Spend the extra money and buy a PC from your trusted IT adviser and use their expertise. You need to focus on making your customers happy and keeping your employees productive. The average cost for a business class PC is about $900 – $1200 these machines should last you about 5-6 years if not more. Just remember to replace them when the warranty is up. More on that subject in a later post. If you need some advice on what to buy for your business, reach out and let us know.
Video Transcript for Ask Neadom: Angel: Welcome to When you need em, AskNeadom, today's question is for a CEO, looking to buy a new computer, but not sure whether or not to go to the big-box retail store. We're here with Neadom Tucker. So Neadom, I'm a business owner, and I want to buy a new computer why shouldn't I just go to the big-box retail store? Neadom: So, you could do that, the problem with the big box guys is that they've got a lot of consumer base products. I mean they have - is really meant for the homeowner not necessary the business owner. Angel: So even though it has the same speed and memory and processor, you're saying that it's mainly consumer not for business? Neadom: True, yeah exactly, so what you're really thinking about is that, when you buy a computer from the big-box guys. They've got to keep the cost down with a consumer because nobody wants to spend $1,200 to buy a computer for their house, right? But if you're in a business, a commercial company willing to invest in the money, to make sure that the computer lasts for a long time so what you're typically getting in the in the retail space is that you're getting a computer that the manufacturer is really only willing to warranty up to about maybe a year. Whereas when you buy computers from the manufacturer directly and it's meant as a for a business computer or you buy from an IT company that's working directly with a manufacturer you get warranties that are three and up to five years long on the device. Angel: Oh. Neadom: Yeah so what you're going to end up getting is just an overall better product and so that's kind of the warranty is really the big piece because if you buy from these big-box guys, you know like the Best Buy’s, the Walmart's, the you know -Office Depot's, when you buy from them, when you buy the warranty. You get them the retailers warranty for this and so there's a problem with the computer, guess what when it breaks, you got to pack it up, unplug everything, pack it up in your car, and then drive over to the little place and then take it out and then get them to fix it. And then you could be without a computer for up to two to three days and even up to three weeks if that to ship it off. Angel: Oh wow, that’s kind of inconvenient. Neadom: Especially, if you're in the middle of something big, like a big proposal, and we know that in business time is money. Angel: Absolutely Neadom: Yeah so after the warranty, we talked about you know the parts and everything that's inside of it, you know the better parts and things like that a computer we've got also manufacturers installed bloatware on the computers and bloatware - Angel: Wait a Minute, techno babble babble what exactly is bloatware? Neadom: So, think about as a manufacturer, you want to keep the cost of computers down, right? So, you're going to install cheaper pieces of equipment, but you also have to have another way to subsidize the cost. So, you are going to get companies like Microsoft and McAfee and Norton and Adobe to install software the products that they can advertise to your customer, right? Angel: Right! Neadom: Your customer, who bought the brand-new computer that it needs an antivirus program that needs office, Excel, Outlook. Angel: But it says that they’re free trials. Neadom: Well sure it’s a free trial, but then if there's already installed on their who's first to the game? Right? So, they're already first game, so the software companies are paying the manufacturers to install software in the computer to keep the cost of computer down thus you know having a bunch of junk on the computer which slows the computer down to begin with. Angel: Oh, I never really thought about that. Neadom: Yeah, so there's really three things, the warranty, equipment type, and bloatware and those are really kind of why I really don't like to buy computers from the big bucks guys. Angel: Well Neadom, we really appreciate you giving us the guidance on - to retail or to manufacturer IT resale, so you answered our question, we really appreciate that! Neadom: Thanks a lot for tuning in, don't forget when you need em’, ask Neadom. Make sure you like, subscribe to the links below, also if you've got your own questions, please ask us below. There's a link, fill out the form and we'll answer your questions on the air. So, remember there's no dumb questions and when you need em’ ask Neadom, thanks guys.