When you start a home business, you usually don’t have a huge pile of cash to invest in technology. Sometimes you have to decide which one to buy – an office chair or a printer, both of them on the “must have” list. In these first days (when you will spend more time playing at the casino la vida instead of answering your customer) you can easily make do with used equipment. But when it comes to pre-owned stuff, there’s a big difference between “second hand” and “factory refurbished” items, which can influence the way you work later on.
Basically, “pre-owned” is just a fancy name for “second hand”. Of course, these “pre-owned” items – computers, printers, furniture and appliances – can be much cheaper, but they also come with much more risk. First of all, a pre-owned item usually comes with no warranty whatsoever. This is why it’s so important to take a good look at the thing you buy before paying up – it might work like a charm, but it can have hidden issues that won’t surface until it’s too late to complain.
Factory refurbished items are a much better choice for your initial acquisitions. These items may also be pre-owned, but they are ones that have been delivered to customers, found to be faulty (either a functional fault, or damage suffered during transport) and returned to the manufacturer. These products are verified and repaired by the company’s own specialists, certified to be fully functional, and sold again – for a much lower price, of course – with all the certificates and similar warranty conditions as new ones.
The only time when buying second hand equipment can be more beneficial than refurbished / new is with pre-owned PCs, sold by major companies that periodically change their equipment. These companies usually license their software and operating systems through “volume licensing” contracts. This means that you can end up buying a complete PC (sometimes hardly used, in a great shape) with a Microsoft Windows license sticker on it. This license can be then “legalized” through a “Get Genuine Kit”, a solution available through various distributors. Even if you end up with a Windows 7 PC (which is currently the oldest Microsoft operating system on the market), you can turn it into a fully licensed OS and be eligible for the update to Windows 10, which will be rolled out free of charge during this year.
As a general advise, I recommend always going with factory refurbished items instead of choosing second hand equipment – it can give you much more peace of mind. Even if the cost can be a bit higher at the beginning, it has the potential to save you a lot of money (and trouble) later on.