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When 'Used' Makes Economic Sense

(July 2008) posted on Tue Jul 01, 2008

The upsides and downsides of the used-equipment market.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Jonathan Zinsmeyer

I won’t even get into overseas transactions because they are a whole other can of beans. But I did sell two units to international buyers and my brokers made it as easy as if I were selling to a neighboring state. Another reason to use a brokerage company-they make it easy.

Collect your proceeds: All transactions should be cash up-front-the check should clear or the wire transfer accepted before the unit leaves your warehouse or facility. If you are doing the transaction yourself, no matter who you are selling it to, get a deposit of at least 25 to 30 percent before you even consider this to be a serious buyer. If you have a broker, you will not get any of the deposit money, but you will get your final payment two to three days after the sale of your unit.

The buying equation
If you're looking to buy a used unit, typically it's very similar to the points I've already listed but from the other side of the coin:

* First, find a reputable place to find equipment. It may be online, in a classified ad, at an auction, or maybe it's a shop down the street getting rid of a device. All of them need to show you proof of performance. Sellers-depending on the equipment and how urgently they need to sell-may be willing to negotiate on price. Ask for optional equipment, spare parts, tools, ink, and media. Also make sure you get the RIP software that came with the printer, and ask if they have any profiling software.

* Investigate your buying options. You can buy through a broker, but keep in mind that many big manufacturers are offering used equipment for reduced rates when compared to their new units (see April page 64 for a list of used-equipment programs offered by OEMs). Many are updated or refurbished and may come with a warranty, which takes care of a lot of the headaches. Keep in mind, however, that just because you are buying a new or refurbished piece of machinery you can't trust that it will work 100 percent when first installed, or that your installation will go smoothly.