Making IT work… Managing hardware costs
Buying hardware such as PCs laptops and servers can seem expense, but there are several smart ways to make it seem more affordable.
If you are about to buy three or more PCs, laptops, or buy your first server, get advice and quotes from at least three suppliers. Ask friends and other business owners where they buy from and who they would recommend. Make sure you compare apples with apples, and if you’re not sure about the spec of a computer on the quote, ask for more details, or even better ask for a breakdown of the costs if they have only given a total cost for the whole lot.
When you are at the decision point, make sure you stay cool and show you are interested but that it’s not a done-deal, and that they need to make a little more effort to push your purchase over their sales line. Ask for a bit more discount, or what else they could throw into the deal. Hopefully they will be doing the same with their suppliers, so don’t feel guilty.
Spread the costs – finance
Speak to your accountant or a specialist tax accountant before you purchase. They may be able to help you create an annual budget, amortise costs, or help you claim some of the costs back by schemes such as the R&D Tax Credit scheme.
Speak to your local Economic Development Officer from your District Council. There are ‘business booster’ grants available for growing businesses. We received a grant of £2,000 last year towards our Cyber Lab project. A four page application form, really simple.
As your business grows, and the number of computers with it, a simple way to manage capital expenditure and reduce impact on cash-flow is to stagger IT purchases. For example, buy PCs once per year, and replace after three years. Stagger the purchases annual so that each year the costs are manageable and budgeted for.