P.O.S. – New or Used Equipment?

by Dougal Smith | MobileFoodNews.com

I often get asked if we sell used equipment, or systems. My answer is always no. My experience has been the fastest way to a disappointing and costly POS investment is to purchase used equipment.

The first danger is of course you don’t know the history. The equipment can look shiny and new but there is no way to know its history. If you have looked at as many three year old motherboards as we have, you see how fragile they are.

Here is an example of a very common occurrence. We go into a location where the new owner has bought a used system. They have asked us to come in and set it up. Having agreed to this with the condition that the owner verifies all the equipment is in working order. In we go and we start by turning the equipment on. Without fail one piece will not work. We are immediately blamed for breaking this equipment because it worked before. Computers are like televisions. When was the last time your television stopped working in the middle of watching a program? It almost never happens. It will stop working when you go to turn it on. This is when the power spikes and you blow something. Just because it worked a month ago when you went in to buy it does not mean it will work next time you turn it on.

Our next issue will arise when we tell this owner that the software he thought he has purchased is in fact not his. You cannot re-sell computer software. Now everyone does this at home. They will share a game or a copy of some software, but when it comes to your business, different story. In order to put your business name on the software license you need to buy the software. You can only by the software from an authorized dealer. You also will have a copy of an operating system that cannot be upgraded as the new name is not registered. If you cannot update your Windows OS, you cannot update your software.

The last kicker, as you are reeling from the unexpected costs piling up. Your shiny hardware is a dis-continued model and there are no longer parts available. Even if, after a search you find them, you will pay a premium for them.

What began as an opportunity to save a few hundred or a thousand dollars has turned into a nightmare. I see this happen over and over again. As with any purchase you make, you get what you pay for. Your POS system is a critical investment in your business. Buy new, buy proven and research the company you are dealing with. You are about to enter a relationship for the next 5 plus years.