You know how it starts. You had a computer when you started your company, so you just used it (did you remember to count it as part of your capitalization?). Your partners had computers too, so they just used theirs. And that first VP of Sales already had her own laptop. When you finally started hiring office help, you did what everybody else does and looked for the best deal on an “adequate” computer. And then another. And another.
Next thing you know, you have a mishmash of brands, different versions of operating systems, software, etc. Equipment is getting out of date and hard to maintain. It’s difficult to bring on new employees or even temporary help because that means buying a new computer. You’ve outrun the ability to manage IT yourself and you’re looking at outsourcing it or maybe even having to hire someone full-time.
There’s an alternative that many business owners never consider, or aren’t even aware of: renting your computers.
Many profitable reasons exist for renting computers rather than buying them for your small business. Just because you operate on a smaller scale than larger conglomerates doesn’t mean it’s actually better for you to buy your office equipment. The simple truth is that, when you consider the total cost of ownership, it may very well be cheaper for you if you rent all of your office computers. In fact, once you realize how many reasons there are for you to rent your office computers, you will wonder why you didn’t do so from the very beginning.
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15 Practical and Profitable Reasons for Renting Versus Buying Computers
1. Renting avoids large capital expenditures and makes more cash available now for other opportunities.
2. Your IT expenses become steadier and more predictable, making cash flow planning easier.
3. You can bring on temporary staff or meet other short-term needs without purchasing expensive equipment.
4. Technical support is included with your computer rental. Not only does this take away the headaches that usually accompany computer problems, but it also takes away the headaches that sometimes accompany installation and de-installation of office computers.
5. You can hire people remotely or even abroad and still provide them local technical support.
6. You can immediately replace a broken or stolen computer with a rental computer so you don’t have to do without one while yours is being repaired.
7. You can supply business visitors from out of town with rental computers to work on in your office.
8. You can easily run training sessions or trade shows in which everyone has a computer, without the cost of purchasing and maintaining equipment that is only going to be used occasionally.
9. Custom configurations and upgrades to meet the needs of your business are simple with computer rentals, allowing you to ensure that you have the right resources for your needs.
10. If you rent your computers, you are not locked into your current operating system platform going forward. And you can easily experiment with other platforms without a significant investment.
11. You save on installation time. Your rental provider can set up standard software configurations and deliver your computers ready-to-use.
12. No more operating system upgrade headaches. When a new version of Windows comes out, just get new computers and transfer the data.
13. Rentals allow businesses to stay up-to-date with the latest technology with none of the headaches of setting the equipment up each time they upgrade. Once you begin renting computers for your business, you will never have to deal with ancient computers again.
14. Rental companies will deliver the rental computer right to your business door or if you go away for a week, even to your vacation spot.
15. With desktop computers, the rental comes with the monitor and other peripherals. Sometimes printers, faxes, or projectors are included with either laptop or desktop rentals.
16. You can run a more successful business with efficient equipment. How much time have you lost because of computers that were slow or crash-prone? Rentals are guaranteed to be efficient. Replacement for temperamental computers is easy, and it’s typically included in your rental agreement.
Computer rental service providers may be local, national or even international. Local providers may give a little more personalized service, besides the usual benefits of supporting local small businesses like yourself. However, if you have multiple locations across the country or around the world, working with a larger supplier will most likely serve your needs better than working with multiple local businesses.
Most importantly, be sure that you choose a vendor that specializes in long-term rentals as well as short-term. Many focus primarily on events and may not have competitive pricing and service plans for long-term rentals. Also, be sure to find out their policies regarding upgrading or swapping out computers on long-term rentals.
Does renting computers make sense for your business? It really depends on your level of computing needs and the growth plan for your business. Many companies get by for five, seven, or even 10 years or more using the same computers and software. But if computers are an essential tool for your business, and if your company is growing quickly, renting may very well save you money, reduce your stress, and increase your staff’s productivity.
Scott Allen is Vice President of Marketing for OneCoach, a business growth coaching and consulting firm that helps successful entrepreneurs achieve even more. He is coauthor of The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online, The Emergence of The Relationship Economy, and a contributor to over a dozen books on entrepreneurship, marketing and social media.