So, You Need a Computer

Of course it matters where you buy your next PC.  Unless you believe that the helpful 20-something at the box-retailer or office supply store is a computer expert, it matters.  Could they possibly begin to understand; your business, your budgetary constraints, your long-term strategies or the impact of a poorly-made decision? 

No doubt they mean well; and undeniably want to offer the best fit based upon the information that you share.  There are circumstances of buying at these outlets though that contribute to inherently reduced value, at no fault of the salesperson. 

There are distinctions between consumer and business grade machines; and yes, the two classifications exist.  Each is manufactured to provide the purchaser with an approximate five-year life cycle, under expected use-parameters. 

For consumers, it is anticipated that they will use the device a few hours daily and potentially longer on weekends.  Conversely, business users typically leave their computers on, period.  The internal components are selected for heat-tolerances, and life expediencies, in keeping with these demand requirements. 

In short, if you purchase a consumer class computer for your business, or use it at home, or home-office, as if it were a business grade machine you will prematurely exhaust its life.  To purchase a business caliber machine you should turn to a value-added reseller or IT professional. 

Another difference is the operating system.  Many business owners want the choice of having Window 7 and not Windows 8, 8.1 or 10; not an option at your local electronics or business supply store.  A true reseller will have the availability of familiar operating systems and further, will understand how to assure that your new machine will be able to join your business network. 

Lastly, we must consider price.  Everyone has a general idea of the price of a desktop, notebook or hybrid.  The inherent value, is where the differences become illuminated. 

Everyone likes to get something for nothing.  Yet ask anyone and they will be quick to retort that you don’t get anything for free.  So why do you believe the free software is free? 

There is a cost related to the software license, and because of it, the actual value of the device is less.  The added production cost for the software can be $100-150, meaning a $550-650 device is only really worth $400-500.  Few later use this software and it takes up space on your hard drive; why would you want it? 

The last cost factor to be cognizant of, as you gain a better understanding of where, and with whom you should be discussing your needs, is the warranty.  Most low-end machines come with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty, then you are offered a third-party extended warranty.  This warranty adds cost, typically $20/100, meaning a warranty on a $600 computer will cost approximately $120.  A computer purchased through a value-added reseller typically comes with a manufacturer’s three-year onsite, Next Business Day, parts-and-labor warranty included. 

All things considered, I suspect we agree.  It does matter where, and from whom, you buy.

– Originally published: The Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Chatter Magazine, January-February 2016 Issue