The FM Professional

Tips for Buying New Office Equipment

David Spence
June 11th, 2013

Making Smart Buying Decisions

How Often Will It Be Used?

Consider how often your staff will use the item. Will you really need a fax machine if you can imagine it being used only once or twice per month? If there’s an item that you don’t think is necessary for the day-to-day office dealings, see if you can find other solutions that don’t require you to buy it. For example, one cost-effective alternative to purchasing a fax machine is finding online sources or mobile apps that can do the same job.

How Does It Impact the Environment?

Being green is a topic that constantly hums in a facility manager’s mind. You’ll want to use office equipment that carries out its basic functions while also using as little energy as possible. Consult sites such as to compare different products and see what’s available. You may find that you’ll pay more up front, but in the end, the money and energy you save will be worth that initial investment.

How Much Does It Cost?

Look at different products and research their performance over time. Sure, that lower-priced printer may have an attractive price tag now. When you find yourself having to change out the printer cartridge every few months, however, you’ll probably change your mind. Read online reviews to see what other buyers’ experiences are. This will keep you from purchasing something that you’ll later regret.

What Kind of Replacement Parts Do You Want?

An additional thing to consider is its replacement parts. Would you prefer parts from the original manufacturer, or would you prefer used parts? This question will ultimately come down to what your budget can cover. Newer parts may last longer but cost more, while used ones may be cheaper but carry the risk of wearing down sooner.

What Does the Service Contract Include?

If something goes wrong with your office or facilities equipment down the road, what will the manufacturer’s role be? Learn about the different options for service contracts. How long does the contract last? Is the repair guaranteed by a certain time frame? What does the contract cover specifically (i.e. travel and parts)?  These questions can be overwhelming, so it’s always helpful to consult an industry expert before you make your purchase.

Are Software Updates Free?

Since they want their customers to be satisfied, the best companies will include free software updates. The ones that don’t may end up being an expensive option, so updates are yet another thing to weigh when you’re looking at new office equipment.

Will It Require Training?

If you’re buying something that’s less common than your usual copier or fax machine, the equipment will probably require some training. Is the time, money, and effort worth the benefits? Will the training be free, or will it come at a cost? If you’re dissatisfied with the answers to these questions, you may want to find another option.

These questions are all key for facility managers. If you make a blind purchase, then you may find yourself spending many more dollars than you anticipated. On the other hand, if you keep these questions at the back of the mind while you compare products, you’ll make a decision that you’ll be happier with in the long run.

Image credit: pakorn/